U2 gets spelling lesson in ‘Winnipeg’ while planning visits to Edmonton and Moncton

By Marc Weisblott | Daily Brew

A recent appearance on “American Idol” to promote the beleaguered Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” couldn’t dampen the Manitoba capital’s enthusiasm for a concert by U2.


But a pre-show display of factoids that made reference to the province as a “state,” and spelled the city “Winipeg,” led a few of the more than 50,000 fans at Canad Inns Stadium on Sunday night to chortle at a condescending acknowledgment of their city.

Serving as guest editor of The Globe and Mail for a special Africa edition last May, alongside Bob Geldof, might have helped frontman Bono recognize the error. “Hello Winnipeg,” he announced, “with two Ns.”

The chilly outdoor date on the U2 360° world tour, which started in Barcelona almost two years ago, was postponed last June after the singer had to undergo emergency back surgery.

As a result, Montreal and Toronto will be visited in July, a year after originally scheduled. The long-overdue closing date is scheduled for Magnetic Hill in Moncton on July 30.

U2’s tour director, Craig Evans, stopped by New Brunswick to size up how the former papal visit sitecould be successfully transformed for the evangelical Irish band, and a similarly spiritual opening act, Arcade Fire.

The 198-foot-high concert stage, dubbed ‘the spaceship’ by the band, will temporarily become one of the tallest free-standing structures in Moncton. A week will be spent putting it together, and two additional days will be spent hauling it away, a process that has given the Irish band spare time to save the world, or visit some local pubs.

Still, there are three different versions of the stage, even though the 60-tonne cylindrical video screen has to be hauled from one show to the next.

Naturally, as U2 played in Winnipeg, construction was underway for Wednesday night’s show at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. A second crew has packed up the screen, sound and lighting equipment for the drive west.

The Edmonton Journal reported on the extent to which U2 has boosted the local economy for the week, as the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 210 put about 300 workers on the job, and brought in extra riggers, climbers and machine operators from Calgary and Vancouver to calmly meet the deadline.

Still, the attention paid to the geographical gaffe in Winnipeg proved that, even if everything technical comes off without a hitch, spelling still counts in rock ‘n’ roll.

(Reuters Photo)


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