MacPhisto transcripts
MacPhisto 2018
He's BAAACK...!

Well now. Who would have thought we'd ever need a second page for these?!

Since MacPhisto has returned to the stage at long last on the 2018 Experience + Innocence Tour, I'll be transcribing all of his speeches once again, as well as providing any necessary context or bits of related trivia. There should be YouTube links and eventually MP3 downloads as well.

Keep an eye on this page, and indeed various other sections of the website, for updates over the coming months. Bear with me if I get slightly behind on this – I hadn't factored in a MacPhisto comeback tour when I made my plans for this year! (Also, my own shows aren't until October and I'd rather not spoil too much for myself before then, so I apologise if anything I've written about the song performances is incomplete or inaccurate – it's based only on reports and photographs I've seen.) As always, if you can help explain a reference or add something to a transcript, please get in touch!

If you're looking for information about the original ZooTV Tour, the page you want is here.

North America

Date (2018) Location
20th April Laval, Canada (Place Bell) (rehearsal)
2nd May Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA (BOK Center)
4th May St Louis, Missouri, USA (Scottrade Center)
7th May San Jose, California, USA (SAP Center)
8th May San Jose, California, USA (SAP Center)
11th May Las Vegas, Nevada, USA (T-Mobile Arena)
12th May Las Vegas, Nevada, USA (T-Mobile Arena)
15th May Los Angeles, California, USA (The Forum)
16th May Los Angeles, California, USA (The Forum)
19th May Omaha, Nebraska, USA (CenturyLink Center)
22nd May Chicago, Illinois, USA (United Center)
23rd May Chicago, Illinois, USA (United Center)
26th May Nashville, Tennessee, USA (Bridgestone Arena)

Canadian flag Friday 20th April 2018
Laval, Canada

Place Bell

U2 rehearse a possible setlist for the Experience + Innocence Tour, complete with speech by a sleepy-sounding – and perhaps slightly drunken – MacPhisto. Topics covered include mass surveillance ("You're paying people to listen in on your conversations. How wonderful!"), Vladimir Putin ("Dear old Vladdy-Vlad, killing his enemies with all sorts of wonderful concoctions. Polonium up the bum!"), the USA ("I used to have to call the White House... now the White House calls me"), and the newly emboldened Ku Klux Klan ("They have a book that justifies pretty much all their bad behaviour – it's called the Bible!") The devil concludes his monologue with a message for the audience: "I'm inside all of you. That's my favourite place to be. It's good to laugh, isn't it? Just not at me!"

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]

US flag Wednesday 2nd May 2018
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

BOK Center

It seems the stars are aligning in mysterious ways: a quarter of a century after MacPhisto made his public debut in a raging thunderstorm, it's a stormy night in Tulsa and the devil is among us once again, this time beginning his first ever North American tour. (His only previous visit was in 2016, when he performed with The (RED) Pack on Jimmy Kimmel Live!) He initially appears as a comic strip character in the intermission video, set to a new remix of 'Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me' with vocals by Gavin Friday. Bono then takes to the stage in a "showman" outfit including a top hat, a jacket with sparkly lapels, and MacPhisto-esque whiteface with painted eyebrows.

After performing Desire in a ZooTV style, Bono lists a few sins that are essential for a showman "in all his forms", then decides to take a look in the nearby "mirror" (actually a tablet computer that is filming him for the screens). Through the magic of augmented reality, this mirror is able to reveal the showman's true identity – it really is the old devil in one of his favourite disguises! The red horns are still in place, poking through the sides of his hat, but this animated avatar is far more grotesque and frightening in appearance than any previous incarnation. The sight of his alter-ego prompts Bono to remark "Oh, I haven't seen this guy in quite a while..."

"Oh!" exclaims a delightfully familiar voice, as MacPhisto admires his new reflection. "Age brings..." – more importantly than wisdom – "beauty!" The only "slight blemish" is an unsightly lesion on one side of his face; "Is there a dermatologist in the house?" He reviews the recent developments in the world with unconcealed glee: "The truth is dead, and the KKK are out on the streets of Charlottesville without their silly costumes! Ha ha – who'd have thought?!" His voice then takes on a quieter, more sinister tone. "Oh, Tulsa... when you don't believe that I exist, that's when I do my best work." As the menacing intro of 'Acrobat' starts up, heard in concert for the first time ever, there is no better character to recite its opening lines. "Don't believe what you hear. Don't believe what you see. If you just close your eyes, you can feel the enemy!" On that note, his nightmarish visage melts into the darkness with an evil cackle.

Welcome back, Mr MacPhisto. It's been far too long!

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video 1 ]   [ Video 2 ]

US flag Friday 4th May 2018
St Louis, Missouri, USA

Scottrade Center

Tonight MacPhisto returns to St Louis, the site of his brief unscheduled appearance on the PopMart Tour. The AR filter behaves perfectly after some glitches on the previous night, resulting in a more confident and brilliantly chilling performance. He tells the crowd he's been "a busy little devil", but nevertheless he's been watching us all, as promised in his famous Sydney speech. And it's so much easier for him to keep an eye on us these days: "I told Stalin, all those years ago, people would be spying on themselves... with their telephones!" (No need to leave behind video cameras when almost everyone has a smartphone and is eager to document their whole life on social media.) His mirthful mood in Tulsa has been replaced by something altogether more creepy and threatening, and it's impossible not to feel shivers down one's spine as his speech reaches its dramatic conclusion.

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video 1 ]   [ Video 2 ]

US flag Monday 7th May 2018
San Jose, California, USA

SAP Center

"How the hell are you, California?" It's the 25th anniversary of MacPhisto's first ever appearance in front of fans at a dress rehearsal in Rotterdam, and he's spending his "birthday" at the first of four shows in the state. It's no surprise to learn that traffic jams are the Devil's handiwork, as he impishly remarks "I hear you're a little backed up on the 101. Who d'you think turned the 680 into the 280? Hello!" Expertly segueing into one of his regular topics, he declares that his "absolute favourite" highway is the information superhighway, since "I love information... on people". Vladimir Putin ("my old protégé") was today sworn in for a fourth term as Russian president after 18 years in power, and MacPhisto claims to have been present at the ceremony. "I remember telling him, back in his days in the KGB: 'Soon, people will actually spy on themselves!'"

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video 1 ]   [ Video 2 ]   [ Video 3 ]

US flag Tuesday 8th May 2018
San Jose, California, USA

SAP Center

"Ooh! Very revealing," says Bono as he takes his nightly gaze into the mirror. For anyone still puzzled as to the nature of his game, it's time for his alter-ego to formally introduce himself – and perhaps gain a bit of sympathy? The Devil's been making some updates to his theme song: "I was there in Charlottesville, when the KKK Sieg Heiled together! ...Made damn sure the President's hands were full with 'Stormy' weather." That gets the crowd laughing, and he chuckles wickedly along with them. "Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my name," he continues, then clarifies after a pause: "My name's actually Mr MacPhisto, but sometimes I pretend to be Mick Jagger." He throws up his arms and struts a little, looking more like his old self than ever, and does it again even more theatrically as Acrobat begins.

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video 1 ]   [ Video 2 ]

US flag Friday 11th May 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

T-Mobile Arena

Once upon a time in Basel, MacPhisto wanted a taxi to take him home to Vegas (though he didn't actually get round to ordering one). 25 years later, he finally makes it to his destination! There's no rest for the wicked, however; he's here for a pair of shows in his old stomping ground. "Age can bring a spot of bother, no?" he asks the audience. "Is there a dermatologist in the house? Tell them 'MacPhisto's on fire!' And so will everyone else, with the Iranians on hold to blow up the world." (In the past week, President Donald Trump has controversially announced the United States' withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, aimed at preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons.)

This show takes place on the anniversary of MacPhisto's final night in Rotterdam, when he phoned Queen Beatrix and claimed responsibility for the Windsor Castle fire!

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video 1 ]   [ Video 2 ]

US flag Saturday 12th May 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

T-Mobile Arena

This evening finds MacPhisto at his most unhinged so far. He gives a repeat performance of his topical 'Sympathy For The Devil' parody, referencing the Charlottesville rally and Stormy Daniels scandal, then adds "Who could make this shit up?! Seriously!" His speech is punctuated with fits of evil laughter, becoming increasingly hysterical. At last he manages to regain his composure, and there's "just one thing" he wants the audience to know: "When you think I don't exist – when you don't believe in me – that's when I do my best work."

If you enjoyed this, be sure to check out Bono's Joker-esque introduction to a rehearsal of Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me in August 2010!

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video 1 ]   [ Video 2 ]   [ Video 3 ]

US flag Tuesday 15th May 2018
Los Angeles, California, USA

The Forum

Inglewood near LA becomes the third city to hear MacPhisto's pithy reworking of Sympathy For The Devil, which he laughs his way through, incredulously adding "I've so little to do these days!" His digital avatar has received an upgrade for this show, with more realistic detail on his hat, uneven teeth and inflamed gumlines.

The Zooropa concert in Lisbon took place 25 years ago today; MacPhisto tried to order a taxi and was disappointed when they hung up on him. Perhaps the city will treat him better when he returns there in four months' time?

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video 1 ]   [ Video 2 ]

US flag Wednesday 16th May 2018
Los Angeles, California, USA

The Forum

On his second night in the City of Angels, MacPhisto seems to be getting the taste for show business once again. "I have always been with you, though it's nice when I get a chance to dress up," the devil tells us. "It feels like I'm making a comeback – d'you get that feeling?" And the once old-fashioned fellow is now embracing the new; he says we've made it all so much easier for him "with your telephones, and your zeroes and ones", and he likes the KKK going costume-free nowadays ("How very modern"). In fact, he thinks his old friend Putin needs to move with the times: "Get with it, Vladdy-Vlad! Polonium up the bum seems a little old-school!"

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video 1 ]   [ Video 2 ]

US flag Saturday 19th May 2018
Omaha, Nebraska, USA

CenturyLink Center

"Oh, it's you again," MacPhisto observes (a touch disdainfully) when Bono peers into the magic mirror. He goes on to deliver his now-familiar Sympathy For The Devil speech, again concluding "There's nothing for me to do!"

On this day in 1993, MacPhisto was in the Spanish city of Oviedo, trying in vain to get a comprehensible weather forecast. Please let me know if you can make out any of the recorded message in that phone call!

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video 1 ]   [ Video 2 ]   [ Video 3 ]

US flag Tuesday 22nd May 2018
Chicago, Illinois, USA

United Center

MacPhisto gives a shorter version of his Sympathy For The Devil speech tonight, omitting the chorus and subsequent reveal of his name.

It's the anniversary of another Spanish ZooTV show, when U2 were refused accommodation at the Ritz Hotel in Madrid, resulting in a phone call from MacPhisto asking to speak to the manager!

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video ]

US flag Wednesday 23rd May 2018
Chicago, Illinois, USA

United Center

Referencing the Frank Sinatra song (as he did at both Glasgow shows in 1993), MacPhisto tells the audience "I have always been with you, Chicago. You're 'my kind of town'!" – before dissolving into laughter and sneering "Oh, God almighty, who writes this shit?!" He says he's having "a kind of comeback", and once again praises the "Interweb" for making his job so much easier: "I'm kind of... all over you, in your telephones. Don't you love those ones and zeroes?"

There's a welcome new addition to MacPhisto's outfit at this show – a splendid black ruffled shirt, similar to his old red one!

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video 1 ]   [ Video 2 ]

US flag Saturday 26th May 2018
Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Bridgestone Arena

It appears that MacPhisto is finding Jagger & Richards' lyrics a little corny, as he can barely make it through his Sympathy For The Devil routine for cringe-laughing. He's still amused by people spying on themselves with their "telephones", too – "Myself and Comrade Putin had a real laugh about that!" His look on stage continues to evolve, with some ZooTV-style eyeshadow being worn this time.

It's now 25 years since the Nantes show and MacPhisto's conversation with a no-nonsense taxi operator, who refused to accept that his location was "everywhere"!

[ Transcript ]   [ Video ]

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