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. (Note: I haven't yet watched any songs, to avoid spoiling too much before my own shows in October, so I apologise if my descriptions are incomplete or inaccurate until then.) 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)
28th May Atlanta, Georgia, USA (Infinite Energy Arena)
5th June Montreal, Canada (Bell Centre)
6th June Montreal, Canada (Bell Centre)
9th June Uniondale, New York, USA (Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum)
13th June Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (Wells Fargo Center)
14th June Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (Wells Fargo Center)
17th June Washington, DC, USA (Capital One Arena)
18th June Washington, DC, USA (Capital One Arena)
21st June Boston, Massachusetts, USA (TD Garden)
22nd June Boston, Massachusetts, USA (TD Garden)
25th June New York, New York, USA (Madison Square Garden)
26th June New York, New York, USA (Madison Square Garden)
29th June Newark, New Jersey, USA (Prudential Center)
1st July New York, New York, USA (Madison Square Garden)
3rd July Uncasville, Connecticut, USA (Mohegan Sun 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 ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video ]


US flag Monday 28th May 2018
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Infinite Energy Arena

The Devil goes down to Georgia to play his last US show for a couple of weeks (but avoids any ill-judged bets). He sticks to introducing himself Stones-style, observing that there's "hardly anything" for him to do, and having a good laugh with Putin about our lack of data privacy. He cackles evilly and blows a kiss to the audience as Acrobat begins.

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


Canadian flag Tuesday 5th June 2018
Montreal, Canada

Bell Centre

Having previously rehearsed in Quebec, MacPhisto returns to the province for his first ever Canadian shows. Away from the predominantly American audience, he takes the opportunity to really let rip on that country, delivering his rantiest rant since Condomgate in Cork. (It's also his sweariest speech to date, with one count of the S-word and two of the F-word – the latter used only once before.) In between roars of wicked laughter, he says he's having a comeback "especially south of the border", where "the American Dream has turned into an absolute nightmare!" He has a subtle dig at the President's infamous "tiny hands" and immaturity, and suggests that "The Americans have the same problem with guns as the Irish have with alcohol. Meaning... what problem?!" Finally he takes aim at the trade war sparked by Trump's controversial tariffs in the past week: "I mean, the G-string 7 was supposed to be sitting around talking about the 130 million girls who don't go to school 'cos they're girls – and now they're gonna be talking about steel and fucking maple syrup!" He speaks a little French at the end, as he did in Nantes and Paris.

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


Canadian flag Wednesday 6th June 2018
Montreal, Canada

Bell Centre

MacPhisto unveils a new version of his Sympathy For The Devil speech with a whole new set of lyrics: "I was there when Comrade Putin flushed the euro down the loo. Get the people to spy on themselves with their telephones, and there's nothing much for me to do!" He even sings part of the chorus, which now includes an extra line: "Turning neighbours into enemies is the nature of my game." He also shows off his French accent again for the locals.

Tonight is the anniversary of the Stuttgart phone call, one of several attempts to contact Chancellor Helmut Kohl in the wake of a horrifying neo-Nazi firebomb attack. The German concerts undoubtedly showed us MacPhisto at his most ominous – until the EI Tour!

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


US flag Saturday 9th June 2018
Uniondale, New York, USA

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

At his first of four shows in the state of New York, MacPhisto boasts about how well things are going, especially with his efforts to reignite the Cold War. ("What about that? Couldn't believe my luck!") He then expresses his affection for "dear old Donny", whom he isn't afraid to mock even on US soil: "High confidence, low self-esteem – wonderful combination! He's like a child showing you a picture he's drawn. 'Yes, Donald – that does look like an elephant!'" The crowd fall about laughing, but MacPhisto adds that he and his colleagues have their favourites on both sides of the aisle. Reprising a line from his phone call in Nantes, he proudly reminds us that "I'm everywhere. I'm everywhere..."

MacPhisto was in Bremen 25 years ago, hoping to visit Chancellor Kohl in person to help him sleep at night. And he wasn't put off by the taxi fare!

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video 1 ]   [ Video 2 ]   [ Video 3 ]   [ Video 4 ]


US flag Wednesday 13th June 2018
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Wells Fargo Center

After some general thoughts about the current state of the world ("Lunatics on the LEFT, lunatics on the RIGHT!"), MacPhisto comments on yesterday's unlikely summit meeting between former enemies Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. (A few months earlier, the North Korean leader had described Trump as "the mentally deranged US dotard" and been nicknamed "Little Rocket Man" in return, among other escalating threats and insults. They have now posed for photographs together and signed a joint statement committing to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, though its vague wording left some observers skeptical.) Their playdate has got the old devil feeling all sentimental: "Oh, Donald... I almost choked up, seeing you out there with the rocket boy. Best of friends! You kids really do love your rockets, don't you? Children just don't like to give up their toys..."

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video ]


US flag Thursday 14th June 2018
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Wells Fargo Center

There's another new verse to Sympathy For The Devil tonight, referring to local sporting heroes the Philadelphia Eagles, who were invited to a celebration at the White House after winning their first Super Bowl earlier this year. Many NFL players had taken to protesting police brutality and racism by refusing to stand for the national anthem – a practice vehemently criticised by President Trump – and several members of the team declined to attend the ceremony due to disagreement with his policies. Rather than accept a smaller delegation, Trump called off the visit entirely just hours before it was due to take place. MacPhisto naturally takes his side, shushing the crowd and snarling "I was there when your mighty Eagles got too big for their football boots!" The mention of their team gets a big cheer, and MacPhisto mischievously claims: "It was me that cancelled the invitation. People get so hung up on the truth!"

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


US flag Sunday 17th June 2018
Washington, DC, USA

Capital One Arena

Tonight's show is filmed, perhaps for a future DVD release, and Sympathy For The Devil notably omits any topical references that might date too quickly. MacPhisto says it's so nice to be in the Capitol when everyone is fighting amongst themselves ("I love it, bravo!"), adding: "Now whatever happens, don't mention... the C-word." No, not that one – "Compromise! Excuse my French!" He loves "the extremities" and the demonisation of the opposite side; "Make it as personal as possible" is the devil's advice.

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


US flag Monday 18th June 2018
Washington, DC, USA

Capital One Arena

There has been widespread growing concern about the Trump administration's policy of separating children from their families when they are caught illegally crossing the Mexican border. Last week, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions was criticised for quoting the New Testament to support this practice, citing "the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order". (It's been noted that the same verse was historically used to defend slavery.) The whole situation has delighted MacPhisto, of course: "I especially love people using the Bible to justify anything they WANT!"

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]


US flag Thursday 21st June 2018
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

TD Garden

Earlier today, Melania Trump caused a storm on social media by wearing a coat with the graffiti-style slogan "I really don't care, do u?" on the back while travelling to visit a child migrant detention centre in Texas. Whether intended as a "hidden message" or simply a thoughtless choice of outfit, there was bafflement as to how this error was allowed to occur... but once again, MacPhisto sheds light on the incident. In the latest rewrite of his Sympathy For The Devil verse, he confesses: "I spray-painted the First Lady's coat, but she still wore it anyway!"

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video 1 ]   [ Video 2 ]   [ Video 3 ]   [ Video 4 ]


US flag Friday 22nd June 2018
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

TD Garden

MacPhisto celebrates us "warming up the Cold War in a microwave!", and observes that "lunatics from a whole other category" are now in positions of power. "Warehousing children!" he laughs, in reference to the recent shocking images of detained migrant youngsters taken from their parents and made to sleep in crowded wire-mesh pens. It's a real-life fairy tale in his eyes: "I do love the sound of that. Putting children in cages – very Hansel and Gretel, no?"

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video ]


US flag Monday 25th June 2018
New York, New York, USA

Madison Square Garden

"The antisocial media" is MacPhisto's new name for people spying on themselves with their own telephones. He tells the crowd about his recent trip to Washington, DC ("I love it there – I just LOVE it!"), and once again cautions against using the C-word, which rather sticks in his throat: "C-- C-- Compromise!" He enjoys seeing people pushed "right to the edge", and really puts the demon into "demonisation".

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


US flag Tuesday 26th June 2018
New York, New York, USA

Madison Square Garden

The New York crowd are treated to MacPhisto's singing voice on Sympathy For The Devil, before he tells them: "I sometimes dress up as Mick Jagger, but it's a wonderful time to be ME!" He's in a particularly trollish mood tonight, describing the fun he has pitting the left and right against each other. "Liberals offended by everything – ooh, sensitive little snowflakes! Conservatives offended by... nothing. Except, perhaps, the idea of giving up their assault weapons – that would be awful!"

It's the 25th anniversary of the Paris show on the Zooropa Tour, when the devil tried to find out National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen's phone number so he could say thank you for letting him back into the country.

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


US flag Friday 29th June 2018
Newark, New Jersey, USA

Prudential Center

MacPhisto is still claiming to be responsible for spray-painting Melania's jacket ("I told her it was all the rage!"). He repeats his comments about the lunacy of storing children in cages, Hansel and Gretel style – "Oh, I do like the sound of that!"

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


US flag Sunday 1st July 2018
New York, New York, USA

Madison Square Garden

With the Fourth of July celebrations approaching, our old English devil speaks fondly of "the colonies", wondering aloud "What's all this 'Independence Day'?" He's very fired up this evening, remarking on all the fuss about detentions at the Mexican border and using the immortal words of Vanilla Ice to cheerlead the agency responsible: "ICE ICE baby!" He suggests it's a classic case of misdirection: "Mmmm, it's all Three-Card Monte! You lookin' at the border? And in the meantime... Harley-Davidson are moving to Europe! I do love a good trade war, don't you?! Nothing like it to disunite our nations!" (The US motorcycle giant recently announced plans to move production overseas, to avoid EU tariffs retaliating against those imposed by Donald Trump.) Having also seen America quit the UN Human Rights Council in the past fortnight, MacPhisto declares that it's been "a great year".

Guests attending the show include his old friend Sir Salman Rushdie, but alas, there is to be no on-stage reunion!

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


US flag Tuesday 3rd July 2018
Uncasville, Connecticut, USA

Mohegan Sun Arena

"What a wonderful year it has been," MacPhisto reflects again as the North American leg of the tour draws to a close (and for his most devoted followers, it's hard to disagree with that sentiment). He still likes the idea of warehousing children – "That sounds kind of nice!" With one last warning for the "fancy, clever liberals" of Connecticut, he signs off for the summer.

25 years ago today, the devil spent his second night in Verona attempting to phone the Pope. Will he be back in Europe when the EI Tour resumes at the end of August? This English fan certainly hopes so...

[ Transcript ]   [ Audio ]   [ Video ]


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