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The history of U2 concerts on 3+ consecutive nights

Tomorrow, a substantial amount of 360° Tour concerts in Europe go on sale, and extra shows are anticipated in some cities. The tour itinerary has some rather obvious gaps for extra concerts to be added once the first show sells out. Unsurprisingly, discussion about how many extra shows there will be and when they will happen has taken place amongst the fan community. One common misconception that appears often in these discussions is that U2 would never play three concerts on three consecutive nights, and that this has not happened for a very long time, e.g. since the 1980s.

This is in fact untrue. Three concerts on three consecutive nights have become a rarity and are considerably unlikely, but the only U2 tour that did not have any instance of three concerts in three nights was the Vertigo Tour. This article accordingly recounts the history of U2 playing concerts on three or more consecutive nights. It only considers full tour concerts. Various dates, guest appearances, and other live performances are not counted.

U2 gigged quite heavily in the early days. Once Boy came out, the band went on their first world tour - they had previously only performed in Ireland and England. The Boy Tour contains many extreme runs of consecutive concerts: for instance, see the end of the first leg for a run of eight shows in eight nights. Furthermore, the start of the fourth leg actually featured seven concerts in five days, as the band played two shows on both the 3rd and 6th of March 1981. These are the only instances of U2 playing two full concerts in one day since Boy's release.

The October Tour had intense scheduling similar to the Boy Tour, with runs of up to six concerts on consecutive nights. The War Tour offered no reprieve; its Pre-Tour started with concerts on six consecutive nights, and things only got more strenuous for U2 with concerts on seven consecutive nights early in the first leg. The tour continued at this rigorous pace, and it is little surprise that plans to tour India, Australia, and New Zealand later in 1983 were shelved to allow the band some time to rest.

Since the end of the War Tour, U2 have never played more than three nights in a row. However, playing three consecutive nights remained a feature of their eighties tours. The Unforgettable Fire Tour and the first leg of the Joshua Tree Tour featured plenty of examples of shows on three consecutive nights. The JT Tour's second leg, however, was the first U2 tour leg on which the band never played more than two consecutive nights. Fittingly enough, the JT Tour's third leg contains three examples of three concerts on three consecutive nights.

The Lovetown Tour was the last time U2 regularly played three concerts on three consecutive nights. This occurred in Perth, Sydney (twice), Brisbane, Melbourne (twice), and Dortmund. It almost happened in two other European cities too. In Amsterdam, the band were scheduled to play three shows: 18, 19, and 20 December 1989. However, at the first show, Bono suffered severe vocal problems and the next two were postponed. Dublin didn't get quite so close: a show on 29 December 1989 was initially advertised but it never went on sale. Had it happened, it would have been the first of three, as shows were played on the 30th and 31st. As it happened, 21 of the Lovetown Tour's 47 concerts occurred as part of three night stands.

Three concerts on three consecutive nights became a rarity on Zoo TV. Over the tour's five legs, it only happened three times. The first instance took place in early April 1992 on the first leg, to accommodate three Texas shows. The next instance happened in the UK and closed the second leg in mid-June 1992. The third and final instance was at the start of the fourth leg, in Rotterdam during May 1993.

Popmart and Elevation both featured two examples of three concerts on consecutive nights. Near the end of Popmart's first leg, U2 played three shows over three nights in Chicago in late June 1997, and then in February 1998 they did a three night stand in Buenos Aires on the fourth leg to cater for the demand generated by the band's first visit to Argentina. Elevation's first two legs contained no more than two shows on consecutive nights, but when the third leg was extended into early December 2001, a run of three shows was created over the dates of 18, 19, and 20 November 2001. This was followed by another such run to close the tour, with shows on 30 November and 1 and 2 December 2001.

As mentioned previously, the Vertigo Tour's schedule never required the band to play more than two consecutive nights. Thus far, the 360° Tour itinerary is the same, and gaps left for extra shows do not look like they will require the band to play three consecutive nights anywhere. However, this article demonstrates that it is not wholly outside the realm of possibility, and when both ticket demand and venue availability necessitate it, U2 may perform on three consecutive nights.

Posted on by Axver

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