Last night I attended the U2 concert at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland. This was the final show of the North America tour and over 20,000 people came from all over for this sold-out performance. It was also a special occasion since this was day the Time Magazine 'Persons of the Year' issue hit newsstands naming U2's Bono (and also Bill & Melinda Gates) as the recipient of that honor.
Anyone who has been to a U2 concert during this tour has heard the GPO sounds interspersed throughout the show.
Jeff Hurchalla at the Rose Arena - ready to rock out for the show:
Jeff and I had the pleasure to spend some time with Terry Lawless who plays keyboards and performs for the group. Terry gave us a backstage tour and introduced us to many of the crew.
Let me tell you a little about Terry. Terry Lawless has been on tour with U2 for the past two years playing in many venues with the group. Prior to U2, Terry was on the road with Cher for 2-1/2 years. He has appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Konan O'Brien , Saturday Night Live, Grammy Awards and many other shows. He has performed and programmed with Bruce Springsteen, Chicago, the Backstreet Boys, Janet Jackson, Phil Collins, Boston, David Bowie and others. Terry is an amazing keyboard player and programmer.
Here is a picture of Terry and I
(You'll see GPO on the screen above the keyboard. I was very excited that Terry chose GPO to use in the U2 concerts.)
The Backstage Tour
There’s a great deal that goes into making such mega-concert happen as you probably know. Jeff and I were privileged to see the mixing room where the show is run through four mixing consoles. The DAW that they were using was Nuendo.
We saw the elaborate lighting systems. U2 has specially-designed lighting which does all sorts of things. It’s huge and does all sorts of incandescent pyrotechnics. Combined with the rest of the light show it was pretty spectacular.
We saw the instruments the group takes with them. Terry showed us Bono’s 46 guitars he takes on tour with him. There are his favorite guitars, then back up guitars and backups for the backs ups. We also saw a fair amount of bass guitars. Here's a picture of his guitar array:
Speaking of backups, the entire production feeds into Uninterruptible Power Supplies (the largest I have ever seen). These UPS units stand about three to four feet high and can run the show for a brief period in the event of a blackout. Here’s a picture
Terry showed us the various keyboards he uses (Roland, Yamaha and Kurzweil) and his rack gear. Here's some of his keyboards and GPO loaded into Receptor and ready for the show.
We went onto the stage and saw lots of racks filled with gear, drums and various instruments. Being on stage one can appreciate the enormity of the arena.
To Be continued on the next post....