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U2 live in 2010: Visiting the rumour mill

Lately, talk has been increasing about the prospects of U2 touring in 2010. Ever since the tour was announced back in March, we've known it will continue into next year, and rumoured details are growing in abundance. There has been the suggestion that an announcement will be made very soon, and while we cannot confirm anything, an e-mail U2.com recently sent out hints at an impending announcement. Will it be tour dates? Only time will tell.

Before I begin, I feel it would be quite remiss of me if I did not issue the standard disclaimers. Take this article with a grain of salt. My information is based on a mixture of media reports, band/crew interviews and conversations, and individual sources (some of whom we know personally and consider reliable, others who are more distant from us). Until a tour is officially confirmed, don't get your hopes up or expect anything. Tour schedules are fickle things. They can and do change right up to the last minute. I have not and will not publish rumoured itineraries with specific dates; this article intends to paint a general picture of what may happen. Emphasis on "may". Plans are more advanced than the aborted 2002 European leg of Elevation, but you never know what can happen.

Anyway, let's get on with it ...!

North America

The third leg will likely be in North America in June and July 2010. Yes, that's a long gap between second and third legs, but keep in mind the news that U2 are reportedly releasing a new album called Songs Of Ascent, probably in early 2010. Finishing and promoting that should keep them busy at the start of the year.

So, where will the band play? Chances are they will do about the same amount of gigs as this year. For Canada, Montreal is a strong rumour and highly likely; Winnipeg and Edmonton are also suggested. Rumours suggest a fair range of US cities, more than the band will plausibly play so I won't publish a full list. However, take a look at this year's schedule and note the major markets that have been skipped. That should give you a good idea of what cities have concert prospects. In other words, Philadelphia, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle, and the like are looking good. Those markets U2 are visiting this year probably will not receive gigs next year. Exceptions may be made for a couple of the biggest cities, but 2009 is probably the only time the 360° Tour will visit cities such as Tampa, Charlottesville, or even Dallas.

I have heard a rumour that Mexico will be included in the North American leg rather than a subsequent Latin American leg, like it was on ZooTV and Popmart. However, I heard that a while ago and the state of play may have changed since.

Europe

The fourth leg will likely be in Europe in August and September 2010. Like the North American leg, the amount of concerts is likely to be about the same as 2009, and like the North American leg, an easy way to guess where the band will visit is to note the major markets that have been skipped in this year's schedule. Like North America, those cities being visited this year likely will not receive gigs in 2010.

The band are almost certain to visit Vienna in 2010. The band tried to schedule a concert there this year but the stadium was occupied for the weekend they wanted it. Other places rumoured are: Portugal (Lisbon), Spain (two cities, one of which is probably Madrid), Belgium (probably Brussels), Germany (Frankfurt, Hannover, and Munich), and Italy (Rome; Turin and Udine have also been mentioned), Hungary (Budapest), and Switzerland (Zurich). There have also recently been suggestions of a concert in Israel.

The following paragraph is my own speculation. As far as Scandinavia goes, Sweden is out as it has had gigs this year. Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark should be likely, while I imagine at least one of Oslo, Norway and Helsinki, Finland will get a gig. If it's only one of them, Helsinki appears more likely as it has a more ideal stadium for the 360° Tour's staging.

Interestingly, one rumour has suggested there will be no concert in Ireland. I would like to believe there will be shows in Belfast and/or Cork if not Dublin, but no concerts in Ireland is not as outlandish as it may initially seem. Every past U2 tour with two or more European legs has had at least one leg with no Irish shows.

South America

Since April, there have been fairly strong indications that U2 will visit South America in October 2010 for the tour's fifth leg. There have been occasional rumours since that South America will in fact be visited early 2010 for a third leg before the US and European legs, but at the moment October still seems most likely - especially as South America will probably be visited at the same time as Oceania, and as shall be explained below, that in all likelihood will be November 2010.

So, where in South America? Safe to say it should be the usual suspects: Santiago, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and most likely Sao Paulo in Brazil. There are rumours of the band visiting elsewhere (Peru, Columbia, and Venezuela seem to receive the most mentions), but these rumours have circulated every time U2 has toured recently - and between the tours too. Don't go expecting U2 to visit a country they have not visited before, but don't rule it out either.

Oceania

It looks like U2 will visit Australia and New Zealand on the same leg as South America, probably in November 2010. There were plans to visit in February/March, however it looks like they will not come to fruition and the band are now negotiating for November. During February/March, the cricket season is ending, three football codes are starting their seasons, and a number of other artists have already booked stadium tours. Hence stadium availability is not there, especially as U2 require extended periods to load in and take down the 360° Tour's staging. November, however, has much less sport and it should be easier to fit the band in.

That said, you never know what can happen and they may be able to make February/March work. No specific cities are rumoured as yet, though the major question is "will Adelaide and/or Perth get a gig?", since any tour is almost certain to visit Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney. As for New Zealand, rumours have suggested Wellington - it does have the most ideal stadium in the country for the 360° Tour, Westpac Stadium. However, Auckland should not be ruled out. Assuming a New Zealand visit eventuates, concerts will be in either one of those cities; Christchurch may have the logistical capabilities to handle a show as well, but it does not appear to be in the picture.

Africa and Asia

I have heard nothing solid regarding these two grossly under-played continents. U2 have only ever visited the African continent once, for two Popmart gigs in South Africa, and nothing looks likely this tour, especially not with the costs associated with transporting the stage. As for Asia, U2 have never performed outside of Japan. U2 have always played in Japan at the same time as visiting Australia, so a concert - probably in the greater Tokyo area - may indeed happen there in association with an Australian tour. It may be hard to believe, but large markets such as South Korea and India are not likely to get concerts.

Antarctica

Some researchers and colonies of penguins may have been agitating for concerts, but their dreams will remain unfulfilled for the foreseeable future.

(Well, I wrote a paragraph on every other continent ...)

Conclusion

On the basis of the information I have seen, the 360° Tour will continue into 2010 with three more legs. The third leg will be in North America, June-July; the fourth leg will be in Europe in August-September; the fifth leg will be in South America, Australia, New Zealand, and possibly other countries in October-November. It will be a continuation of the current stadium tour with the Claw staging and will probably have approximately 50-60 concerts total. As emphasised in the introduction, take all this information with a grain of salt. It may not come to pass, either in part or in full. It may come to pass very differently. It may very well morph into a tour of European art galleries. Until it's official, exercise skepticism and caution towards reports of tour dates.

(Psst, U2? Make a couple of Wellington concerts happen and don't forget to play One Tree Hill. Thanks, Ax.)


Posted on by Axver


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