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U2 to take over GM Place for month

(Canada.com) -- Bono on the seawall? The Edge doing the Grouse Grind? Larry Mullen Jr. trying to decide which Starbucks to go to?

The Province has learned that U2 -- the biggest band in the world -- will take over GM Place for a month of rehearsals before the first date of its Vertigo 2005 tour, March 28 in San Diego.

The North American tour -- by far the hottest ticket in music today -- takes in 13 cities, including GM Place, April 28 to 29.

All the dates sold out in advance. Vancouver was typical: A first show sold out in eight minutes. The second was added and went clean almost as quickly.

Tour promoter ClearChannel Entertainment and its vice-president, Shane Bourbonnais, would not confirm the Vancouver rehearsal. However, a formal announcement is expected to be made in the next few days and trucks started rolling into the lots outside the stadium yesterday.

Vancouver has hosted tour pre-production before. Sarah McLachlan, Cher and Janet Jackson have all prepped tours at GM Place.

A source close to U2 said: "This is a great city, geography-wise. It's close to where the tour launches. And Vancouver's a cool city."

Meanwhile, the city's excited about the lads being here for more than three weeks before they head to southern California.

At the Irish Heather in Gastown, proprietor Sean Heather loved the thought that he could see the Dublin quartet quaff a pint or two in his pub -- particularly with St. Patrick's Day coming March 17.

"Oh yeah, that would be interesting," exclaimed Heather, who's had experience with the big bands.

When REM was recording here in 2003, Heather often served them, sometimes sending chips to the Georgia legends at Bryan Adams' Warehouse Recording studio. He also hosted a brief drop-in by U2 two tours ago.

U2 might show up at the Gastown venue again, "because of its proximity and because we pour the best pint of Guinness," said Heather. "I would be thrilled, as an Irishman, to get them through the door."

These are good times for U2 -- which has had more than 40 hit songs in its 26-year career. The latest album, How to Dismantle an Atom Bomb, has sold millions worldwide and its lead single "Vertigo" -- from which the tour gets its name -- scored three Grammys earlier this month.

On March 14, Bruce Springsteen will induct U2 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

While here, the band might also take in some of the Celtic Fest.

St. Pat's will be commemorated with a concert at the Commodore by Victoria's Ecclestons with Irish Dancers, and on March 18 to 19 by Spirit of the West.

"That would be amazing if they did show up," said Jeff Herrera of House of Blues, which is producing the Commodore shows. "That would make a good story, for sure."

But at the moment, nobody can say for sure. Not ClearChannel. Not Universal, the distributor of U2's records. The local Universal representative knows nothing, except that at 600,000-plus sales in Canada, the new record is U2's biggest yet.

Grant McDonagh of Zulu Records had REM come by his store to play an acoustic set. No such plans for U2 are in the works yet, but he remembers seeing them in the U.K. in 1979.

Posted on by Macphisto

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