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U2's next tour: what do we know?

U2 have given a lot of radio and press interviews of late, many of which have included tidbits about the band's touring intentions. Nothing has been announced formally, but enough has been said to get at least a vague idea of the band's intentions.

Acoustic radio sessions: When Bono was interviewed on both KROQ and by Jo Whiley, he gave very strong indications that U2 wish to do some stripped down acoustic sessions for radio. Whiley even "booked" the band for later this year while on air. Performances on TV and radio over the next few months to promote the release of Songs of Innocence are likely anyway, but this info indicates the band may do something a bit different this time around. It may also be a harbinger of acoustic sets on the next tour, which if the past is any indication would most likely comprise a few songs mid-show on a b-stage.

Smaller venues: There have been plenty of indications that the band intend to go smaller, at least initially. Bono told Absolute Radio and Rádio Cidade 102.9 that the tour will be more indoors than outdoors and he would prefer to play smaller venues. He specifically mentioned playing at London's O2 Arena. Bono's not the only one saying this either. Edge expressed no intention to "top" the 360 Tour in a radio interview, and told Rolling Stone that "I think we will start small". Meanwhile, in The Independent, Arthur Fogel of Live Nation said that after such a massive production as 360 it can be a good idea to go the other way, a clear allusion to a more stripped-back and simpler tour.

The setlist: At the end of U2's recent write-up in Q (download it from here), Adam mentioned that they are booking the tour in pairs of shows, and that they want to have two different shows. What could that mean? Two rotational setlists? Two shows with different themes? One electric show and one acoustic? Even one show of big hits for casual fans and one with deep cuts and rarities for hardcore followers? This quote has spawned a lot of speculation online, and of course at this stage answers are impossible - Adam even gave himself a great get-out clause by saying the plan could change completely. Before previous tours such as Vertigo, there have been hints in interviews of greater setlist diversity that have not really come to fruition, and I would not advise getting your hopes up that U2 will suddenly have the crazy, exciting setlist variation and spontaneity on the level of Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, or even Neil Finn/Crowded House. (By the way, I have been making my own setlist predictions over the last fortnight. Join me; I am currently up to Rattle and Hum.)

Production: The above quotes about smaller venues suggest something more spare and basic instead of the monolithic Claw of 360 or the sensory overload of Zoo TV. Edge told Rolling Stone that it is hard to know what the tour will be like yet, as it is still in the planning stages. However, that does not mean they will be playing on crates and breezeblocks (much as some of us would love a return to the Dandelion Market). Bono told KINK FM that U2 "try to spend a lot of the ticket price on the show", so even if it's a smaller and simpler tour, it will likely still have its fair share of bells and whistles.

Tour start date: According to Q, the tour is set to begin May 2015. Bono also told German radio station SW3 that U2 will be in Germany in May 2015. So this might indicate that the tour will begin in Europe.

Tour itinerary: Germany, as already noted! Europe and North America are obviously certainties. Few specific cities have been mentioned. Edge told Alan Cross that U2 will play Toronto, but that is hardly a surprise. More interesting were Adam's comments on Argentinian radio that U2 are already looking at touring South America and miss the continent. That backs up this rumour that U2 will tour Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, and possibly visit other Latin American countries for the first time such as Colombia and Peru. There are as yet no solid rumours about other parts of the world, e.g. Australia, New Zealand, Asia, South Africa.

 Posted by Axver on Thursday, October 02, 2014 @ 13:34:06 UTC | permalink | Comments

Axver's Tour Predictions: Rattle and Hum

I have already made tour predictions for Songs of Innocence, Boy, October, War, The Unforgettable Fire, and The Joshua Tree. Today I turn my attention to the studio tracks from U2's somewhat muddled 1988 album.


I am not concerned with the pros and cons of mingling studio tracks with live performances, the album's somewhat lukewarm reception, or the disappointing failure to include either "Wild Irish Rose" (here's an edited version without the interview) or "She's a Mystery to Me". Rather, what concerns me today is how Rattle and Hum will fare on stage next tour.

Its studio material has not done too badly for live representation over the years. It has three big hits that have all rotated in and out of U2’s setlist over the years, and three more have appeared on at least one post-Lovetown tour. Rattle and Hum is U2’s best-selling album in Australia and the band have always made an effort to represent it in setlists there. The likelihood percentages should perhaps be considered a bit stronger for Australian audiences than for fans anywhere else.


 Posted by Axver on Sunday, September 28, 2014 @ 03:47:14 UTC | permalink | Comments

Axver's Tour Predictions: The Joshua Tree

After the flurry of interviews late last week and early this week, things have gone a little quiet again. I thought I would take this opportunity to continue my series of tour predictions. I began with Songs of Innocence, then looked back to Boy, October, War, and The Unforgettable Fire. Today I turn my attention to U2's best-selling album.


This album has remarkably lopsided live representation. Songs from the first side of The Joshua Tree have been performed a combined total of 3,029 times; the songs from the second side can only claim 372 performances. The only song from the first side that has not been played more times than the entirety of the second side is "Running To Stand Still", but it's only 27 performances shy of the mark. Will this imbalance continue on the next tour?


 Posted by Axver on Friday, September 26, 2014 @ 13:38:41 UTC | permalink | Comments

Around the interview grounds

After a brief lull, members of U2 have been interviewed on more radio stations across the planet. The most high profile interview was with Dave Fanning on Sunday on Ireland's RTE 2fm. This is a more in-depth interview than any yet conducted after Songs of Innocence dropped, and Dave gets beyond some of the cliches and repetitive questions of standard interviews. However, there is no tour news to report. Perhaps most interesting is Bono's statement at the 24 minute mark that "Invisible" will be "on [Songs of Innocence's] physical package in some which way".

Some tour news emerged when Edge was interviewed by Radio FFN in Hannover, Germany. FFN have conveniently presented the interview broken into separate audio files for each question. In response to a question about tour plans (the second-last one), Edge was not as explicit as Bono was to a different German station last week. He emphasised that "we are talking about [touring] and have no announcement to make but we are definitely making some serious plans", adding that "I would not be surprised if I have to buy some new luggage in the early part of next year". Also note his response to the third question, that U2 "actually had an album that we could've released almost a year ago ... [but in taking more time] we've come up with an album I'm really proud of now". What about Songs of Experience? The answers to the second and fourth questions are enlightening: he explains they still need to write a couple of songs and there is a long way to go, but they have a lot of material and hopefully its release won't take as long as Songs of Innocence. The two albums are companion pieces, "part of an overall creative project".

Bono gave a few more interviews, and the one with the most interesting answer tour-wise was his Absolute Radio interview with Christian O'Connell. At the 10:10 mark, he said that when U2 tour next year they will "try and play at the O2 [Arena, London] and places like that, more indoors than outdoors this time, but we'll see where it takes us". Is Bono looking forward to playing Songs of Innocence material live? "These songs are songs that I think will play themselves." At 6:50 he explains that he doesn't know yet which songs will become singles.

The smaller venues theme also emerged in an interview with Brazil's Rádio Cidade 102.9 (another one handily broken into question-by-question segments). Bono gave away little regarding a South American tour, but emphasised that "we've just got to get those venues right ... get some good venues to play; I'd love to play some small venues if we could as well. If it wasn't too elitist I would like that." Later in this interview, Bono again alludes to "Invisible" appearing on the physical edition of Songs of Innocence.

In an interview on Portland, Oregon's KINK FM, Bono spoke (at the 43 minute mark) of the band's ambitions when performing live. "We try to spend a lot of the ticket price on the show ... if we keep looking after our audience, they will keep looking after us." This is part of a broader discussion in which Bono looks back on ZooTV and Popmart (the Eugene show referenced by one of the interviewers is this one on Popmart). Finally, in an interview on San Francisco's KFOG 104.5, Bono didn't give away any new tour information, but at the start you can hear him sing the title line of The Left Banke's "Walk Away Renée" - and then jokingly claim it as his own song!

If you want a full list of interviews with links to audio, U2Wanderer is maintaining a handy list. We will continue to report on tour news in interviews, but we will generally not cover interviews that lack tour-related content.

 Posted by Axver on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 @ 03:05:40 UTC | permalink | Comments

Axver's Tour Predictions: War and The Unforgettable Fire

We've had a lot of interviews to report the last couple of days, but today has been quiet, so it is time for more tour predictions. I began with predictions for Songs of Innocence and then went all the way back to Boy and October. Today I move onto U2's breakthrough album War and my personal favourite The Unforgettable Fire.


 Posted by Axver on Saturday, September 20, 2014 @ 13:40:06 UTC | permalink | Comments

Previous articles:

· Bono and Edge interviews - U2 to play Germany in May 2015? September 19th, 2014
· Adam Clayton to South America: ''We miss you!'' September 19th, 2014
· More tour hints September 19th, 2014
· Axver's Tour Predictions: Boy and October September 17th, 2014
· U2 to tour South America in 2015? September 16th, 2014
· Axver's Tour Predictions: Songs of Innocence September 15th, 2014
· A Crumb of Tour Info September 13th, 2014
· The Miracle (Of A Surprise Release) September 11th, 2014
· Ordinary Love at the Oscars March 3rd, 2014
· A Concert Unlike Any Other February 18th, 2014

For older news, see our Archive.
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