The Evolution of an Intermission

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2018-05-29)

Since the Innocence + Experience tour has debuted in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 2, U2 have used “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” as the intermission between acts. The version we hear played over the PA is a newly recorded version by Gavin Friday, featuring additional vocals by Régine Chassagne, one of the musicians from Arcade Fire. The recorded piece includes Gavin reciting “The Sick Rose” from Blake’s Songs of Experience, before starting to sing.

AUDIO: Gavin’s version of “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” as posted on Soundcloud by ArcadeFireTube

The audio is accompanied by an animated video showing us U2 leaving Cedarwood Road, and making their way to the big city, gaining some superpowers along the way. The video has not been stagnant and a number of changes have been identified to date. We have to stop to give thanks to Beth (bethandbono), who has shared our enthusiasm for looking for these changes and who has helped lead us to some of these changes.

The Cities

Each night towards the end of the video, the limo that U2 is in pulls up to the city that they are in. A conversation is seen from the interior of the car:

“Where are we anyway?”
“Is this heaven?”
“Or Las Vegas?”

This portion has been the same each night. The response however has been changed each night. In Tulsa for instance it was “Can you drop us off in Tulsa on your way home?” and in St. Louis it was “Can you drop us off in St Louis on your way home?” Each night they’ve used the name of the city that the band has been in. Tulsa, St Louis, L.A., Omaha, Chicago, and Nashville have all been seen on the screen to date. But for Las Vegas the response was different, the response in that city was “No this is definitely Las Vegas.”

IMAGE: U2’s Car Stops in Vegas (Courtesy of U2Wanderer)

The Superpowers

We see MacPhisto on screen giving superpowers to the young members of U2 (or is it his partner, Wormwood?) Initially these powers were “Style” for Bono, “Strength” for Larry, “Ambition” for Adam, and “God-Like Talent” for The Edge. Each power is associated with an object. Bono gets golden sunglasses, Larry gets a golden belt buckle that says “Eternal Youth”, Adam gets a set of golden wings, and the Edge gets a golden hat and golden guitar.

There was no change in this portion of the show in the early shows. But in Chicago on May 22, Larry’s superpower is no longer “Strength”, and now it is “Stamina” that is seen on the screen. This has remained “Stamina” since that switch has been made.

The Icons

After U2 get their “gifts” they fly into the clouds, and we see a number of icons appear on the screen. Initially these included:

  • The MacPhisto logo used to promote “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me”
  • The bee hive for “Wild Honey” from All That You Can’t Leave Behind
  • The eye with a single tear for “When You Look at the World” from All That You Can’t Leave Behind
  • The satellite dish used on Zoo TV
  • The apple for “New York” from All That You Can’t Leave Behind
  • The flying dove for “Grace” from All That You Can’t Leave Behind
  • The television used on Zoo TV
  • The plus symbol used on merchandise for How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
  • The bomb used on the Vertigo Tour
  • The spaceman, Cosmo, surrounded by stars used on the Zooropa album
  • The target used on the Vertigo Tour and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb album
  • The heart used on a ladies T-shirt to promote How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
  • The peace symbol used on the Vertigo Tour
  • The lemon with an orbiting shopping cart used on the PopMart tour

All of the icons used were used between 1991 (Zoo TV) and 2004 (Vertigo) and earlier icons like the white flag, Joshua tree, or later icons like those used on U2360 onwards are not included. These icons are not animated, and are dark grey on a greyish background for these early shows of the tour. All of the icons with the exception of the bee hive, the eye and the apple can be seen in our title bar above.

Starting with the show in Las Vegas, on May 11, these icons are now coloured gold instead of the dark grey causing them to pop off the screen much better. They also have added some animation to these icons so the icons appear to spin around on the screen as opposed to early shows where they were just flat on the screen. The same icons are used as listed above.

Starting in Los Angeles these sequence gets additional footage added. A shimmering mirror ball lemon is added to the right side of the screen, and in behind in the distance you can see the PopMart arch and speaker bank. Both of these items are larger than the icons mentioned below. The mirror ball lemon spins and sparkles and you can see some of the other objects reflected in it.

IMAGE: The Icons, grey, then yellow, then red (Screen grabs from terrorsittich, u2wanderer, and fly0926)

The other icons mentioned above are all still present. (Including the other lemon, the one with the orbiting shopping cart, so now there are two lemons on screen) There is one other change to these icons that happened after the Las Vegas show. The target that is used for Vertigo is no longer gold, but is now red, and really stands out being the only red object on the screen. This could be seen from Los Angeles onward.

Changes to Date

  • Each City: City Name
  • May 11: “No this is definitely Las Vegas”
  • May 11: Icons become gold and are animated
  • May 15: Vertigo icon becomes red, disco ball Lemon and PopMart arch added.
  • May 22: Larry’s superpower switches from Strength to Stamina

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