New U2 360 Encore Video: Che Cavolo, Indeed

There’s a new video playing in the short break before the first and second encores on the current 2010 U2 360 tour in Europe. It features the same “space baby” that we’re all familiar with from the Zoo TV tour, as well as from last year’s U2 360 tour (including the Pasadena DVD). But it begins with two characters zooming through space in a red spaceship, talking to one another while one of them whistles the chorus of “Where the Streets Have No Name.” (And this happens, of course, right after U2 has played “Streets” in the concert.)

hmtmkmkm-video captured the video from Turin last Friday; you can watch it on YouTube.

Ever curious, and always believing that there’s a reason and meaning for everything U2 puts into its shows, I transcribed and translated the text. Here’s how the video plays out in Italian:

Person 1 (left): [whistles the tune of “Streets”]

Person 2 (right): Si svolta a sinistra all’ Orsa Maggiore?

Person 1: Forse e meglio a quest’ora di notte.

Person 1: [whistles more of “Streets”]

Person 1: Che spettacolo stasera, vero?

Person 2: Sbalorditivo. Ho I piedi distrutti.

Person 1: [whistles more of “Streets”]

(claw/spaceship approaches from behind)

Person 2: E quello che cavolo e?

Person 1: Fa niente, ora se n’e andato.

(claw/spaceship pushes them offscreen/crushes them from above)

And here’s the Google translation of that:

Person 1 (left): [whistles the tune of “Streets”]

Person 2 (right): Turn left at the Big Dipper?

Person 1: It is probably best at this time of night.

Person 1: [whistles more of “Streets”]

Person 1: What a show tonight, right?

Person 2: Stunning. My feet are destroyed.

Person 1: [whistles more of “Streets”]

(claw / spaceship approaches from behind)

Person 2: WTF?* (see below)

Person 1: Never mind, now is gone.

(claw/spaceship pushes them offscreen/crushes them from above)

*In Italian, “che cavolo” literally means “what the cabbage?” … but is actually Italian slang for WTF? (Thx to BM for help with that.)

The subtitles change from one language to another as the show goes from country to country; I’ve transcribed and translated the text that was shown at the two shows in Germany this week, and it’s the same story as the Italian.

The question is … What on earth does it mean? I suspect it might be hard to sort out any meaning without seeing it in the context of a full show, but if you want to take a stab at explaining it, the comments are open.

9 Responses to New U2 360 Encore Video: Che Cavolo, Indeed

  1. Xalira August 13, 2010 at 10:01 am #

    That’s a really good question 😛 I read somewhere that a u2 fansite managed to find the author of the video (Ron Rig? who is it?), maybe tracing him it would be easier to understand everything…

    PS: “ma che cavolo?!?” is not as harsh as “WTF?!?”, it’s something more like “what the hell?!?” 😉

  2. bambam August 13, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    maybe what it means is “what does this tour mean to us and to everyone else? and also, where are we on our spiritual journey?”

  3. spacejunk August 13, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    I don’t think there is a reason or meaning, other than lighthearted spaceship-related humour. “My feet are destroyed” seems to just be a humorous way of pointing out that these aliens clap with their feet. With all due respect, I think you’re all reading too much into it!

  4. Caroline August 13, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    I asked and was told the video was done by Run Wrake (I misheard it and thought it was ‘Ron Rig’ at first)

  5. Xalira August 14, 2010 at 3:31 am #

    Oh thank you! It seems that he was the author of the flowers on “Magnificent” last year:

  6. jon August 14, 2010 at 5:45 am #

    their whole thing is that the claw is an alien spaceship, right? so the aliens attended the show, hence the one whistling streets, and their feet are tired because if you’ve been standing for four-five hours, your feet get tired too. the joke then is that the claw actually is a spaceship, and this surprises the aliens.

    i think it’s pretty straightforward, maybe a chuckle? though in all honesty, it’s pretty terrible and cheesy, and feels like it was only helf thought out.

  7. brbara August 14, 2010 at 6:10 am #

    I’m italian and I often visite your web site. I was in Turin (what a show!) and I want to tell tou the translation in Italian was perfect. We use to say che cavolo when surprised or disappointed but it’s not a bad word: cabbage is the right translation even if it sounds strange! a big kiss to every U2 fan! ciao!

  8. comay August 16, 2010 at 12:11 am #

    Run Wrake is a long-term video contributor to U2’s live sets; his initial work was during PopMart including animating Roy Lichtenstein’s “Whaam!” for “Bullet the Blue Sky”.

  9. Chip August 22, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    I guess it is the claw, but I never made that connection; I saw it as the spaceship equivalent of a stretch car. (“Oh, lordy, you’ve been stealing from the thieves and you got caught/In the headlights of a stretch car/Now you’re a star.”) I still think it’s a stretch car allusion. In that case, well, it was The Joshua Tree that shot U2 to superstardom, so whistling “Streets” seems appropriate.

    The two in the spaceship loosely remind me of the Achtung Baby single photographs of two band members in a car.