They’ve Rattled and Hummed their way around the world and dialed up presidents live on stage during their concerts – and at last the U2 roadshow has arrived in Russia.
Bono and his cohorts landed at Vnukovo airport on Sunday evening to face a barrage of questions – and explain exactly what they planned to do when they meet president Dmitry Medvedev in Sochi, Kommersant reported.
“Bono wants to get some practical advice on the new album from him,” joked guitarist The Edge. “Where do we go from here?”
But on hearing that Medvedev was a Deep Purple fan, Bono threatened to abandon the meeting.
Joking apart, the musicians want to discuss their charity work, especially the (RED) organisation.
With the band’s long-standing links to groups like Amnesty International and Greenpeace, it had long been rumoured that U2 would refuse to play in Russia on moral grounds, due to the country’s poor ratings on human rights and corruption.
That particular issue was not raised at the press conference when the band landed, but Bono admitted the group’s activist stance could be wearisome at times.
“I understand people who tell us to shut up,” the singer told reporters. “I don’t want any trade-off otherwise we would all become a travelling festival – ‘Rock against everything bad’, as our manager says.
“Sometimes I fear that the image of retired superheroes may become a reality. Let’s remember that the main work of the band is not to be boring.”
But drummer Larry Mullen added: “Activism is an integral part of this group, whether you like it or not.”
The scale is vital
U2’s concert is scheduled for the cavernous Luzhniki stadium, better known for hosting Olympic-sized sporting events and a far cry from the intimate clubs where the band started out.
“Scale is vital to the music of U2,” Bono added. “We’re like Francis Ford Coppola – he loves an operatic scale.
“Maybe we shouldn’t try to appear in a club. It’s better to perform to 50,000 people who might not see common ground on any subject, except that this evening they need to meet at this place.
“This is a tremendous energy.”