The ClawSM

The Zoo TV Tour (also written as ZooTV, ZOO TV or ZOOTV) was a worldwide concert tour by rock band U2. Staged in support of their 1991 album Achtung Baby, the tour visited arenas and stadiums from 1992 to 1993. It was intended to mirror the group's new musical direction on Achtung Baby. In contrast to U2's austere stage setups from previous tours, the Zoo TV Tour was an elaborately staged multimedia spectacle, satirising television and media oversaturation by attempting to instill "sensory overload" in its audience. To escape their reputation for being earnest and overly serious, U2 embraced a more lighthearted and self-deprecating image on tour. Zoo TV and Achtung Baby were central to the group's 1990s reinvention. The tour's concept was inspired by disparate television programming, coverage of the Gulf War, the desensitising effect of mass media, and "morning zoo" radio shows. The stages featured dozens of large video screens that showed visual effects, video clips, and flashing text phrases, along with a lighting system partially made of Trabant automobiles. The shows incorporated channel surfing, prank calls, video confessionals, a belly dancer, and live satellite transmissions with war-torn Sarajevo. On stage, Bono portrayed several characters he conceived, including the leather-clad egomaniac "The Fly", the greedy televangelist "Mirror Ball Man", and the devilish "MacPhisto". In contrast to other U2 tours, each of the Zoo TV shows opened with six to eight consecutive new songs before older material was played. Comprising five legs and 157 shows, the tour began in Lakeland, Florida, on 29 February 1992 and ended in Tokyo, Japan, on 10 December 1993. The tour alternated between North America and Europe for the first four legs before visiting Oceania and Japan. After two arena legs, the show's production was expanded for stadiums for the final three legs, which were branded "Outside Broadcast", "Zooropa", and "Zoomerang/New Zooland", respectively. Although the tour provoked a range of reactions from music critics, it was generally well received. It was the highest-grossing North American tour of 1992, and overall sold around 5.3 million tickets and grossed US$151 million. The band's 1993 album, Zooropa, was recorded during a break in the tour and expanded on its mass media themes. The tour was depicted in the Grammy Award-winning 1994 concert film Zoo TV: Live from Sydney. Critics regard the Zoo TV Tour as one of rock's most memorable tours—in 2002, Q's Tom Doyle called it "the most spectacular rock tour staged by any band".