U2 Tour News 2015

Plans are shaping up for a massive U2 tour season in 2015/2016. We might expect at least two different shows in some of the major markets around the world. U2 has suggested in the current RS that the band could perform two different shows within the same city. Allowing for a large production and a smaller acoustic set which if you have already purchased the new album you will find a collection of acoustic versions of a couple of the tunes. The release of the next two albums could have an impact as to when the boys hit the road. The music is "in the can" ready however release dates are still fluid as the boys continue to find new ways to introduce their music to a younger mobile audience.  Clearly U2 wants to reach a younger audience and not leave out their very supportive older and growing older audience. Now this has been a battle that most bands have failed at. However we are talking about U2. Failure is not a word used often when referring to U2.  

Next U2 Album in 18 Months

U2 plan to release a new album in just 18 months. Titled 'Songs of Experience', lined up for next release.

Bassist Adam Clayton told the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine: ''We're hoping 'Songs of Experience' will be less about intimacy and more about a celebration of sorts.''

Clayton's band mate Bono has also revealed an album called 'Songs of Ascent' - a record he previously claimed would be the follow-up to 2009's 'No Line on the Horizon' - could still be released as part of a trilogy of themed LPs.

The singer said: '''Songs of Ascent' will come. And there are some beautiful songs.''

The band also revealed they scrapped a completed version of 'Songs of Innocence' entirely produced by Danger Mouse because it didn't sound how a U2 record should sound, and instead changed some tracks with Ryan Tedder, Paul Epworth, Declan Gaffney and Flood.

Why U2 Matters, Part II

MMR.jpg

To the brood: My apologies for the delay in submitting the second part of this four-part series. I had initially intended to publish these entries on a weekly basis, but alas proverbial roadblocks associated with my day job as a journalist have proven significant.

Consider that arguing U2’s relevance in a largely irrelevant music industry, where cookie-cutter hits continue their two-decade assault on mainstream pop, requires more than a quick offering halfheartedly written because high school football and public corruption (I cover the South Texas area…enough said) were still on the mind.

This is an important time in the band’s history. It’s U2 against the world…of idiots. And the vocal majority is as loud as its ever been. As addressed in my initial piece, Bono, The Edge, Larry and Adam have been subjected to ridicule and criticism for what could arguably be chalked up to the price of innovation. Love it or hate it, releasing an album – the instant-classic Songs of Innocence – that automatically downloads into 500 million iTunes users’ iCloud accounts was a trailblazing move.

What the haters can never understand is that U2’s propensity to take risks, which nobody else in the same position would dare take, is also what happens to make the band great. This is an alien concept to the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and the Black Keys, who rarely venture beyond their musical comfort zones. Though attributed to many people, I believe it was Elbert Hubbard who was credited with saying, “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

Diehard fans understand that this is the essence of U2’s tendency to throw caution to the wind all in the name of transcending genres and modern technology. This is the band that debuted a tour boasting the largest television screen ever built when just several years earlier they strutted on stage with little more than their gear and the house lights. The end result was always the same though: pure awesomeness. This is also the band that embraced punk and new wave in the earlier incarnation of the group before maturing into a proper rock outfit, and also before exploring American rhythm and blues; alternative; EDM; techno; soul; etc. But hey…the end result was always the same: pure awesomeness.

And this brings me to what not only makes Songs of Innocence a fantastic entry in the band’s legendary catalog, but why U2 still matters.

I was a teenager in the mid 1990s when I first decided to listen to U2. Not unlike the 2000 film “Almost Famous,” in which a pre-adolescent boy finds his sister’s record collection upon her moving away from home, I had also inherited my brother’s collection of vinyl records and audio cassette tapes in much the same way. Though treasures such as Led Zeppelin’s III and The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band were all at my beckoning, it was The Joshua Tree that called out to me.

I previously hadn’t heard much of U2, except for the time when my brother and I watched Zoo TV: Live from Sydney on pay-per-view. With memories of “Pride” still fresh in my mind, coupled with the minimalist album artwork featuring a black and white snapshot of the four bandmates casually standing around in a desert, I gave The Joshua Tree a whirl.

As an opening track, “Where the Streets Have No Name” sounded odd for a young man who grew up on a heavy dose of hair metal and grunge. Accustomed to singers’ exaggerated screams and howls, guitarists’ obligatory solos and the forgettable contributions of muted rhythm sections, I was shocked upon my first true exposure to U2.

A church organ crescendo, time signature changes and melodic guitar riffs that sounded more like the chiming of bells than rip-roaring shreds…wait, what is this? The bass and percussion work resembled a speeding locomotive more than an actual beat and the vocals pleaded instead of shrilled. Then there were the lyrics…oh the lyrics.

After hearing the gospel songs that followed and the preachy message in 10 of its 11 tunes, I came to the conclusion that I hated it.

Still, this was my brother’s music, and I held his taste in the highest regard. So, confused but positive that I was missing something, I played it again and again until I couldn’t stop playing it (ala Mr. Holland’s Opus).

C’mon, trainspotters…you know what I’m talking about…John Coltrane anybody?

Well, I digress.

What I discovered was that it was necessary to mature as a listener before I could ever be moved by U2’s music, and by extension…U2’s spirit. Because that’s what the band represents – an entity from which faith is necessary to believe in something; and it also happens to be why a growingly-secular world can no longer understand or support four men that openly worship and praise God.

Remember this, friends, before pitying Bono for humbling himself to some ingrate: U2’s meant to incur the wrath of a world that hates.

Recently, readers have been gracious enough to compliment my writing style. After blushing disagreeably, I remind them that my goal is to be as eclectic a storyteller as U2 are as musicians.

I want to be a writer whose body of work also inspires people. This is why I do what I do, and I’ve since won first and second place awards in news writing in the Texas Press Association Better Newspaper Contest. My work with the San Benito News, which is based in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, has been followed by the likes of The Huffington Post and caught the eye of gubernatorial candidates as well as state and federal elected officials.

I’m not saying that I necessarily owe my career to U2, especially since I put my faith and family above all, but it is simply an example of why the band still matters in this writer’s heart.


Note: Michael Rodriguez is a journalist who hails from a border community in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, where he serves as the managing editor of the semi-weekly newspaper, the San Benito News. Part 3 of his series, “Why U2 Matters,” will include his review of the vinyl and deluxe editions of Songs of Innocence.

U2 Tours the World 2015

U2 has been working very close guarded on an up coming tour to begin in 2015 Sources close to the band have suggested that the boys will head out and do a full world tour with stops in some countries that they missed the last time around. Such as Peru, Chile and Argentin. Bono visited Peru about a year or so ago and informed the fans that he loved the country and is looking forward to coming back. Now a posting from UM (South America) suggested that South America is big on the tour list.  Now no details have been confirmed and the boys are out marketing their new release so we do not expect to hear much about the tour for at least a few weeks. What we do know is that this is a much different tour and that we can expect some cities to have two or three night dates. Expect MSG to be at least 3 nights. More to follow as we dig into the details. 

U2 Turns to Facebook

U2 continuing on their marketing and promotion of their new album will turn to social media on Tuesday October 14, 2014 which kicks off the worldwide release of Songs Of Innocence on CD & Vinyl. U2 fans have been asked to post  questions posted on the official U2 Facebook page. 

The band has always looked for new ways to connect to their audience so the idea of using Facebook as their platform for direct interactive communication should come as no surprise.

Fans will be allowed to post any question they choose to ask however that does not mean they will answer all of them. Prince has done the same thing a couple of weeks ago and ended the session with only one question answered. We kind of thing U2 will stick around and answer a few more because of their close relationship with their fans.

Post by U2.

U2's Cross Marketing Machine "The Walking Dead"

U2’s marketing machine has always been on top of their game. Cross marketing into current TV, series seems to be something new for the boys from Dublin. “The Troubles” has started to appear in “The Walking Dead” series, which is extremely popular in the US.

The clips titled with reference to U2 and only feature U2 music. No band images are within and the band not expected to appear within any of the commercials.  

U2 has new management that clearly understands how to reach the younger audiences. We can expect that U2 will appear within more cross marketing and promotional messaging as the machine continues to ramp towards 2015.

U2 2015 World tour !

U2 fans you have been waiting for a long time. Yes, the boys will hit the road 2015 with their families and close friends, Bono said “You know what it's like now, it's like a whole city goes on the road with us. Our kids go out on the road, they get excited about it; It's like . . . yeah, it's kind of a whole . . . Dublin goes on the road."

This tour will be scaled back to give a intimate setting due to the nature and themes of the current album as well as the expected new album. The Edge acknowledged that they are not looking to launch into a massive tour this time around. Heck, it is hard to throw up something against 360. That was massive and beyond approach for most bands.

We can expect to see some announcements shortly. Bono confirmed that the band could not get any bigger than 360 if they tried so pulling back would make much more sense due to the new music style and vibe.  Still in the early stages of planning and routing the tour so ease back fans and start saving those coins. Its going to be a busy 2015/2016 season.

Songs of Experience Almost Ready

Adam had a lovely outing recently that allowed us to peek into what is up next for the boys.  He said the next project is about 70% complete with some fine turning going on right now. They have the layout of the songs that they plan to have on the album. Suggested a possible different way of releasing the music next time around suggested that we might see a completely new method of delivering music.  

Adam has been quoted as saying "Depending on how long it takes to be completed, there may be a whole new delivery method invented by then. I think we just have to wait and see," he said. "There will be a bit of water under the bridge before we get to that point.

Songs Of Innocence, eligible Grammy

Did you ever doubt the U2 marketing machines would allow the bands hard work go unnoticed for Grammy consideration? The label rush out to a very small limited group of record stories a vinyl copy of current release made available for sale by today's cut off point.

Sources inside the machine said that the band and the label knew that they needed release something before the cut off to considered.

Grammy guidelines are very clear and communicated that the band will be eligible for the upcoming 57th Annual Grammy Awards on February 8th, 2015. "As long as the album, be it CD, vinyl or digital, is available commercially for sale to the public by our eligibility cutoff date at a nationally recognized retailer or website, then it's eligible for consideration,"

The fine print states: For the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards, albums must be released between Oct. 1, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2014. Recordings must be commercially released in general distribution in the United States, i.e. sales by label to a branch or recognized independent distributor, via the Internet, or mail order/retail sales for a nationally marketed product. Recordings must be available for sale from any date within the eligibility period through at least the date of the current year's voting deadline (final ballot).

2015 Tour Smaller Venues

Dublin started packing for this up coming tour sometime ago. New road cases ordered and we can expect to see the whole family out on tour next year. 

What will be different this tour is that the shows will be in smaller venues because the music is much more personal intimate  that a small venue would be better suited for. Yes 360 was amazing and some would say heck it sure was intimate however that was a massive under taking with a BIG ROCK show feel.

Christian O'Connell, Bono said: "We're gonna be touring. We're gonna start next year. Were gonna try and play the O2 and places like that, more indoors that outdoors this time, but we'll see where it takes us.

"It's exciting. We'll be coming your way and these songs are the songs that, I think . . . I think they will play themselves."

Bono further admitted that he finds it harder than ever to tour and leave his family.

He added: "Only if the songs are great can you bear leaving home. We all have families and mates and... so you know, you're looking for 11 great reasons to leave home and I think we've got them.

"You know what it's like now, it's like a whole city goes on the road with us. Our kids go out on the road, they get excited about it. It's like . . . yeah, it's kind of a whole . . . Dublin goes on the road."