The Secret World Tour, which introduced PG's album 'Us' to the world, was his most extravagant, demanding and extraordinary to date. The tour ran from February 1993 to July 1994, incorporated a WOMAD tour of the USA, and cost £6 million (US$9 million). Nine trucks and between 50 and 60 tour staff and legions of local helpers supported the tour which featured a two-stage set by French Canadian opera and theatre designer Robert Lepage. Robert Sandall wrote in Q Magazine in July 1993 that it was the " ... most ambitious, and possibly lunatic, tour of one night stands in the history of indoor rockular entertainment."
Unlike many major tours these days, Secret World was a one-rig tour with a whole stage set that took about eight hours to build and had to be disassembled and rebuilt between concerts. The complete crew consisted of musicians, personal, tour and production managers, accountants, stage managers, designers, personal stage technicians, sound engineers, technicians for lights, sound and video, drivers, caterers, carpenters and merchandisers.
A square stage (the masculine), connected via a 60 foot conveyor belt to a round central stage (the feminine), the two overhung with a revolving video screen-cum-canopy and a dome containing numerous lights. "He felt most of what I was writing about was transformation, hence the idea of the two stages," Peter said of Lepage.
Twenty-three tons of material was suspended from the venue ceiling. Props included a traditional British telephone box for the opening number 'Come Talk To Me', a tree, an upward-facing giant-sized image of Peter's face, a raft to be punted and rowed down the conveyor, several items of luggage into which the band disappeared, and a miniature video camera mounted on a headset and pointing into Peter's face.
In fact, the conveyor belt, which played a vital part in the show, almost failed to make it, as well. It broke down throughout the dress rehearsals so that the band never completed a set before going on tour.
The upward-facing head which appeared on the round stage during the show was one of a number built. The official stage ones cost several thousand pounds but would shatter if Peter crawled over them, so they were ditched in favour of the styrofoam one built for the rehearsals. Each day the holes in it were patched up and the face repainted.
Various ideas were tried to make the live shows more visually intriguing during the run-up to the tour. An early design for the stage set had two railway stations with a real track and train running round the arena. In the rehearsals, Peter used a sliding mat to drift around the stage, and a company that make custom sliding mats offered to give one to him for the tour. Unfortunately, when it turned up it was several inches high, octagonal and took two strong men to lift it onto the stage. Needless to say, it didn't make it.