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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 on by Axver


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