U2 Pre-Sales Alert

It’s a big week of 2010 presales for subscribers in North America this week.

Some people have been reporting problems seeing their presale codes when they log-in. This is a temporary problem which will be fixed by the time the presales open. 

Rest assured that if you have a presale code in an email from us as a subscriber - and it has not been used for tickets - it will definitely work in the presales this week.

The presales this week for Anaheim, Denver, Chicago, Miami and New York:
Horizon Group - Tuesday 10AM local 
Breathe Group - Tuesday 3PM EST/2PM CST/1PM MST/12PM PST 
Boots Group - Wednesday 10AM EST/9AM CST/8AM MST/7AM PST 
Magnificent Group - Wednesday 3PM EST/2PM CST/1PM MST/12PM PST 
Presale ends - Thursday 5PM local 

If you did not use your code 2009 it will work for 2010 - However if you did use it no matter if you purchased 2 tickets - You can not use it again. You can not buy a membership now and be in on the Horizon Group.  Don’t delay. 

U2 Live From Outer Space

The numbers associated with the U2360° Tour are staggering: a 170-ton stage rightfully dubbed “the spaceship,” 200 trucks carting it around, 250 speakers, nearly 400 employees and $750,000 a day in overhead. But the band’s stadium show is more than a fantastic spectacle — it’s the biggest rock tour of all time, and Rolling Stone is onstage and backstage with U2’s Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. as they make history in our new issue, on stands today.

Explore three decades of U2 in photos.

Photograph by Sam Jones; Digital imaging and logo treatment by SplashlightSales for U2’s latest album, No Line on the Horizon, may not match their biggest blockbusters, but the foursome are out to “engage and try and do something different,” as Edge puts it, as well as prove their new material can stand up next to the classics. “I walk out and sing ‘Breathe’ every night to a lot of people who don’t know it,” Bono tells RS‘ Brian Hiatt of the No Line show opener in our cover story. “I’m a performer — I’m not going to hang on to a song that doesn’t communicate and add up to something. They’re great songs live, and I think it’s a great album.” But three-fourths of U2 (save the Edge) think “Get On Your Boots” was the wrong pick for a first single.

Look back at U2’s essential LPs in our album guide.

Read the full story in our new issue to go behind the scenes as U2 prep for their opening-night show in Chicago, tweaking “Your Blue Room” from the band’s 1995 collaboration with Brian Eno; and join them in Croatia as the Edge generates new effects presets on the fly and the band reflects on the significance of performing in the once war-torn nation for the first time since 1997.

Climb aboard “the spaceship” and flip through photos of U2’s massive stage show.

As Rolling Stone tags along in a private jet en route to Chicago, Bono also meditates on what it means to be a rock star in 2009, praising Jay-Z as “a pioneer” who’s interested in a “porous culture, where there’s much more crosstown traffic.” He adds, “In this age of celebrity and pop stardom, maybe it’s a sensible thing to question the values of being a pop star. Radiohead, Pearl Jam, a lot of people, who maybe had more sense than us, rejected it. But the thing that’s suffered from that stance was that precious, pure thing, what they used to call the 45.”


Space ship landed on FedEx Field

The space ship landed on FedEx Field and Dublins Boys proved that big is what they are about. The bigger the set the bigger the show.

In fact, if you ask lead singer Bono, the foursome has transcended band status altogether.

“The nation state that is U2 is a global force — yet, a democracy,” he told the crowd last night.

Of course it is, Bono. Now, you put those light purple shades back on and sing us another song.

Because when U2 wants to rock, U2 rocks; “Beautiful Day” was about as epic as epic gets — until they played the even bigger, bolder “Where The Streets Have No Name.”

For most the show seemed excessive, surreal.

APIThe round stage sat underneath this giant, futuristic, four-pronged claw. Directly above the stage was a circular video screen which expanded vertically and contracted again several times over the course of the night. A couple mechanized ladders let the band members walk out to a narrow outer platform that ringed the stage.

There was Bono, clad in all black, preening and preaching about global democracy and the fight against AIDs while standing in the middle of this evil-looking artifice. All the posturing and technological wizardry aside, U2 put on one of the best rock shows you’ll see today.

The genius of The Edge is that even though he blankets his guitar work in reverb, echo and delay, he still sounds organic. Whether plucked or strummed, his notes rang out and filled FedEx Field like few guitarists could.

U2’s two-and-a-half hour show was heavy on songs from their latest album, “No Line on the Horizon,” which is one of their least commercially successful efforts yet. Though the single “Get On Your Boots” is far from being one of U2’s best, live, it had spunk. And “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” worked much better recast as a disco tune.

The night’s most poignant moments came when the band dipped a little deeper into its songbook. Drummer Larry Mullen Jr.’s snare cracked like gunshots on “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” and bassist Adam Clayton’s notes were thick and fuzzy on “New Years Day.”

Here’s a technical question: When the video screen crept downward to form a cylinder just a few feet above the band members’ heads, could the folks on the top tiers see the musicians? No - not unless you looked at the screen.

Bono tossed out teases of songs such as “Blackbird” and “Stand By Me” sporadically through the set, and sang a verse of “Amazing Grace” near the end of the show. U2GIGS always posts the snips on their set list postings. We elect to keep it to a straight official song list.

APIHere is where we differ many people said that they heard two encores however really it was only one. However if you followed the show last night on tweeter, you will get a couple of different set list views. Note that U2.com reports only 1 encore. So we reviewed and re-set ours as well.

Bono emerged wearing a jacket that emitted miniature laser-like beams of red light, and sang into a glowing microphone that hung from the rafters. He spoke-sang his way through most of “With or Without You,” and closed out the night with the slow ballad “Moment of Surrender.” That last song drug on for too long — a poor choice to wrap up an otherwise bombastic show.

I am not sure why Bono elected to scream out “Don’t forget about us, now” Of course your fans wall remember, how could they forget the biggest show of all time.  

Onward the Band goes and the steel trucks roll down I95 heading South.


84,472 concert goers break the record

More than 84,472 concert goers turn out for Thursday’s show

U2 blasted the Giants Stadium attendance record Thursday night with 84,472 fans coming out to see the Irish rock band’s sold out show. The previous record was held by Pope John Paul II after his visit to the stadium in 1995 (82,948).

The significance of the historic feat was not lost on lead singer Bono.

“News just in,” said Bono from the stage near the end of the night. “We’ve broken every record for attendance in this stadium — including the Pope. Sorry Bruce — we know it’s your birthday and all.”

Later, Bono added, “I know they’re knocking this place down … we probably won’t be here again before the wrecking ball but it was a magic place for us as well as the Giants.”

U2 360 Tour continues with dates in Washington, Charlottesville, Raleigh, Atlanta, Tampa, Dallas, Houston, Norman, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Los Angeles before finishing the year off at Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium.


U2 larger than life at Giants Stadium

By Jay Lustig/The Star-Ledger

September 24, 2009, 1:57AM

Editor Note: We removed the set list from this orginal story because we have it posted.

Fall officially began on Tuesday. But U2 kept the summer vibe going on Wednesday, with a stellar Giants Stadium concert on an unseasonably warm night.

It was the biggest concert in the stadium’s history. More than 82,000 tickets were sold, and though an attendance figure was not immediately available, it didn’t look like there were many empty seats.

It also had, probably, the tallest stage set: a towering structure with lights and video screens suspended over the band. The stage could be seen from all sides, which made it possible for tickets to be sold in every seated section of the venue, as well as much of the floor.

A second Giants Stadium show is scheduled for Thursday.

Wednesday’s setlist mixed classics like “New Year’s Day,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “With Or Without You” and “One” with newer hits, tracks from the band’s March album “No Line On the Horizon,” and occasional surprises.

In honor of Bruce Springsteen’s 60th birthday, which the Boss celebrated on Wednesday, the band performed a loose version of his “She’s the One” — with frontman Bono changing the title phrase to “he’s the one” — and segued from it to “Desire,” which has the same Bo Diddley beat. Bono also urged the crowd to sing along, during “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” by saying, “Sing it for the Boss.”

In honor of Quincy Jones, who was in attendance, Bono sang a portion of the Michael Jackson hit “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” (which Jones produced) during “Beautiful Day.”

While the stage was daunting and some of the special effects on the video screens were dazzling, musically it was a no-nonsense show — one great song after another, played with precision and power by four rock masters.

The always outspoken Bono occasionally spoke about political issues, and “Walk On” became a tribute to Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, who was elected prime minister in 1990, but was prevented from taking power by a military junta, and is currently living under house arrest. At the end of the song, approximately 70 volunteers walked onto the stage, holding photos of her over their faces.

U2 Giant Show

U2’2 360 Tour pulled into New Jersey tonight (Wednesday) for a two night show with its massive stage, trucks, crew and sound.

U2TOURFANS FILE PHOTO U2 played a refreshingly casual set (see euro set list) taking a 60,000 seat venue and reducing it to a “one love” melting pot of people. It’s hard to view this massive show as intimate until you have attended. Which if you have not had a chance and you’re in the tri state area Thursday night is your last chance to see them this year rumors say expect to see them again 2010 – However that’s rumor right now.

Bono played host, introduced his mates, Adam, Larry and of course The Edge, it seem as if to say he did you know these guys.

The venue considered to be “Bruce’s” home was paid some respect as Bruce Springsteen celebrated his 60th birthday. Amazing in that Bruce turned 60, I guess we are all getting older. The boys covered “She’s the One’ then moved right into their own classic “Desire.” There was a dedication to Quincy Jones who we are told was in the crowd by blending Michael Jackson’s song “Don’t Stop “Till You Get Enough. This could be considered part of the show. It was mixed into the euro sets often.

Bono has never been to shy for words. Spoke out to the UN which happens to be in town by mixing in “Not right now” into their new song “Get on Your Boots” Comment was “I don’t wanna talk about wars between nations.”

As expected most of the songs came from their 12th studio album, word is that we can expect lucky 13 to arrive shortly (2010) Most of the fans agreed that the favorites such as “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” on which Bono gladly let the crowd take lead vocals, and “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” which he bookended with salutes to political dissidents in Iran seem to keep the crowd engaged.

The vague space them was centered around some astronauts appearing on the giant wrap around screen.  The boys did make fun of that as Bono cracked a joke “One step for a small man.”

Over all most fans will agree……………………… Well we will let you fill in the blank. Thursday is here

Giants Stadium Meets Giants of Rock

About five months and three weeks shy of St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish rock band U2 is set to perform two concerts at Giants Stadium, with a massive stage and blizzard of lights complementing a raw sound that borders on rock ‘n’ roll religion.

U2 is scheduled to perform at the home of the Giants and Jets football teams in northern New Jersey tonight and Thursday. And Hudson Valley fans of the Dublin-based band have plenty to say about this ensemble’s new album, legacy and live performances.

U2TOURFANS File Photo “What I love about U2, besides their incredible musical talent, is the fact that they are rock stars with soul. They’re all high school friends who came together through their love of music. They’re not manufactured by a big music producer, they didn’t answer an ad in the paper, they came together as friends who enjoyed playing music and remain friends to this day.That’s what it means to have soul. They’re family men who realize family (in whatever sense you believe that to be) is more important than money or any of the luxuries that come with it.

“If all the fame and fortune went away, they’d be just as happy - that’s soul.

“They understand their fans are the ones who have gotten them where they are today, not their music. They thank their fans for blessing them with the life they’ve gotten to live - that’s soul.

“They are the only ones who can sell out stadiums across the globe, and can unite thousands of people though music. They know, in those crowds, there are friends and foes. They know if enemies can share one commonality, they could become friends - that’s soul.

Need to Know:

Weather:  Expected Rain tonight ( light )

Parking: No comments or issues on tailgating have been posted

Trains: All trains in and out are expected to be fully loaded

Tickets: Yes you can still get tickets on STUBHUB (We do not endorse)

View Larger Map

Camera/Videos:  Remember the band has no offical comment. However you run the risk of some secuirty staffer trying to stop you. Remember if its small its good.

Twitter:  We will along with about 20 other people twitter the show.

 Photos/Videos:  We have a video drop box.

U2's 360 Tour Rolls Forward

Having played two nights in Boston, NYC is on the horizon.

Irish eyes smiled upon the boys from Ireland Monday night as they played their final show in Boston. Their tour moves forward to NYC. 

U2 used Monday night to change up the set a bit starting off with “Magnificent” as the open instead of “Breathe” (Considered to be the first major change of the tour).  Breathe was skipped all together. However “Your Blue Room” and “Stay” “Mofo” and “Stories for Boys” found their way into the show as snippets.

Wednesday night the band hits Giants Stadium for a two-night stand. Will the weather hold up? We will have to wait and see. Expected evening showers on Wednesday and a little rain on Thursday afternoon we will have just to wait and see.

Remember that the boys will be on SNL this weekend with Megan Fox. This should be an amazing short set.

Back to Giant Stadium, we have not heard the rules yet. Nor do we expect to hear anything about tailgating rules. NYC/NJ can handle the crowd. However we will keep you posted.  

Landing Perfect

Last night the spaceship - as Bono called the in-the-round stage setup - landed at Gillette Stadium and four Irish aliens emerged as the biggest rock stars in the world. That’s what happens when you project yourself on a 360-degree, 14,000-square-foot video screen.

Those who despise Bono, Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. for growing up (and up and up) to be a parody of the furious, little new wave punks they began as would have hated U2’s latest, greatest show on earth. But for 60,000 fans last night (and for thousands more tonight), it was a mothership - a 150-foot tall, pastel green and orange-spotted, claw-shaped mothership buzzing with a million points of light - come to take them to planet U2.

Bono’s king, but Edge is the prime minster, the genius who fearlessly leads his ace rhythm section. His complex-and-simple, full-frontal, buzzing, reverbed, shimmering guitar drove “Get on Your Boots” and “Elevation,” “Vertigo” and “Where the Streets Have No Name.” Even Bono’s bigness was overcome by Edge’s intimate acoustic guitar and delicate high harmonies on “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of.”

Taken in total it was a typical U2 show, which means it was unlike anything else. Bono championed peace and political awareness - “Sunday Bloody Sunday” was recast an anthem for a free IRAN, “MLK” and “Walk On” were dedicated to Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi. Edge was, as Bono said, a test-tube baby born of Jimmy Page and Stephen Hawking. Mullin and Clayton provided the brilliant heartbeat for hits from “One” to “With or Without You.”

Not the flash of Zoo TV or the earnestness of the Joshua Tree Tour, but a middle ground that topped neither. But not bad for a band that played the Somerville Theatre six-months ago.



U2 lands with a bang at Gillette Stadium

Review: U2 lands with a bang at Gillette Stadium

FOXBORO - U2 didn’t so much play Gillette Stadium on Sunday night as it landed there, in a spaceship no less.

The Irish rockers brought their 360 Tour to Foxboro for the first of two concerts (the second being tonight), and while they’re touring in support of an album that hasn’t exactly torn up the charts, this tour has blockbuster written all over it with its dazzling displays of lights, fog, imagery and sheer size.

The band got a late start, not taking the stage until almost 9 p.m. after being ushered in by the sound system blaring David Bowie’s classic “Space Oddity.” Immediately, they ripped into four numbers from their latest CD, “No Line on the Horizon.” Bono started out with “Breathe,” then went into the CD’s title track, the toe-tapping “Get on Your Boots,” and finally “Magnificent.”

“We’ve got new songs, we’ve got old songs, we’ve got songs we can hardly play, and we’ve got a spaceship,” Bono declared to the crowd before launching into “Mysterious Ways” and “Beautiful Day.”

The “spaceship” Bono referred to resembled a giant canopy with green legs stretching over the round stage and catwalk, much like a giant bug, and a soaring steeple topping it all off. Hovering above the stage was a giant cylindrical projection screen that ascended and descended throughout the show and displayed the band in a gargantuan form just right for a stadium show.

The band followed “Beautiful Day” broke into a ripping version of “Elevation” with Bono sweating profusely in the chilly night and the crowd frenzied for the first time, fists pumping wildly.

“I think you’ll feel right at home in our traveling rock and roll laboratory,” Bono said in introducing his band mates, The Edge, Larry Mullen, and Adam Clayton, referring to them as Experiments 1, 2 and 3.

From there, they broke into “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” and let the 60,000 or so assembled sing the first few stanzas.

And it seemed as though no one was at a loss for the lyrics.

Then Bono transitioned into a heartfelt few choruses of “Stand By Me,” again with the masses providing the sing-along. Then it was back to the “No Line on the Horizon” CD with the inspirational rocker “Rise Up.”

The band dipped back into the vault with a stirring “New Year’s Day” with Clayton crossing one of the stage’s two bridges to the catwalk to play before the fans and the Edge playing to the thousands who were watching the show from the rear.

The Edge grabbed an acoustic guitar for a poignant version of “Stuck in a Moment,” and also provided an effective falsetto at the end of the song.

At one point the giant circular projection screen extended almost to the floor and resembled a multicolored honeycomb with Bono and the band standing about ten stories tall over the audience.

For “City of Blinding Lights,” Bono plucked a young girl who looked about 12 out of the audience, though she didn’t seem to know quite what to do up there.

The concert struck a nice blend of rockers and rock ballads, with tunes like “Vertigo” picking up the crowd when needed.

One of the more inventive moments of the evening was an incredibly throbbing, rhythmic rendition of “I Know I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight.” “Sing for your sanity, Boston,” Bono implored as black and white images of the band members’ faces flashed rapidly on the screen.

Bono ended the song on his knees begging for “freedom on the streets of Iran,” then the band broke into “Sunday Bloody Sunday” as the images of Iranian reform protestors flashed on the screen.

Dozens of audience members walked out onto the ring in support of a woman named Aung Aun Syung Sun Kyi imprisoned in Burma for her opposition to the government.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu delivered a message that “God will put a wind at our back if we work with each other as one,” after which Bono broke into a heartfeld rendition of “One.” For the uplifting number “Where the Streets Have No Name,” Bono went into after singing a few bars of “Amazing Grace.”

The encore was ushered in by a poem by Maya Angelou while the video screen showed the solar system with floating apples, car keys other objects.

Snow Patrol, also from Ireland, warmed up the crowd in fine fashion after the inner circle of fans enthusiastically participated in a sing-along, something that hasn’t always been the case for the band in their role as U2’s opening act. Fans reacted enthusiastically to “Light Up” and, especially, “Chasing Cars,” and “All that I Have.”

Gillette Fans this is 4 U

360 Stage File Photo U2TOURFANS

WICKED LOCAL FOXBOROUGH GILLETE STADIUM Officals have requested that we inform you AGAIN. DO NOT ARRIVE EARLY ! ( Before 3PM) We have included the must know details at the bottom of this story. Remember we told you. Hey take a photo with our name and send it us “U2TOURFANS”

Sunday and Monday about 140,000 of you get a chance to experience a show that has been considered the largest stage in the world. If you have been out to the stadium you may have had a chance to see the steel crew building the set for Sundays show. Be sure you read the details. You have warned. Really we mean it. Read it - 

We have some here is what you need to know

The songs: A big chunk of the set doesn’t change from night to night, including U2 opening with a quartet of new songs “Breathe,” “No Line On The Horizon,” “Get On Your Boots” and “Magnificent.” But among the new tunes and expected hits (“Beautiful Day,” “Vertigo,” “One,” “Bad,” “With Or Without You”) are some surprises. Last week, the band debuted “Your Blue Room,” a song from the “Original Soundtracks 1” album recorded under the pseudonym Passengers. Also, the band has been tucking in snippets of covers, including “All You Need Is Love,” “Blackbird,” “King of Pain,” “Stand By Me” and “Amazing Grace.”

Bono: U2TOURFANS FILE PHOTOBono has been quoted saying that this is really a two act show. The first act is about the personal, the soul-searching of a young man, expressed by “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of,” “Unknown Caller,” etc. The second half focuses on the political and global with “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “Walk On,” etc. Bono admitted that most people would not have thougtht or figured this out. However a few pints and you can see clearly the concept. 

The stage set: Nicknamed “the spaceship” by Bono, U2’s latest monstrosity is its most monstrous. Built for a reported cost of $40 million, the rotating stage features a 90-foot-tall canopy and a 54-ton, 360-degree video screen made up of a million pieces, including 500,000 pixels and 30,000 cables. Just when you thought Bono’s head couldn’t get any bigger, it’s about to be blown up by a million watts.

The opener: Remember Izzy from “Grey’s” well they made these boys famous, Snow Patrol has been out with U2 since the Euro days, ( miss only a couple of shows) Some the other cities will get the Peas, or Muse, sorry no such luck here.

U2TOURFANS FILE PHOTOThe new album: We will be the first to say that this album needs time to grow on you. Its really better then you think. You will want to listen and know a couple of the songs prior to going to the show. You can expect atleast seven songs from the new album

Is better than you think. Really. And you’ll want to get to know these songs before the show: expect seven of them to get played.

The details:

  1. Dont arrive before 3PM the lots will not open and your wasting your time and you will be turned away. Now that does not mean you can’t line up on the street as if your going to a game which we all know happens. Either way Gillette stadium will not open the parking lots early.
  2. GA Fans can line up at 3PM - Not earlier, so no reason to camp out or waste your time.
  3. Opening Act “Snow Patrol” expected to start at 7 PM EST
  4. Headliner: U2 will take the stage around 8:30 PM EST ( P.S. now thats the published schedule we all know that the band likes a well timed show. So that means it could start 8:35pm or 8:40 PM) Again chill your going to want to rest up for this one. 
  5. One photo booth, now this is cool. Be sure to find it. Take a photo and your picture may be one of the photos that wll appear on the big screen.
  6. Cameras: If your a true fan you know the band really does not care if you snap off a couple of photos. Small camera, video suggestion your choice small. Now that does not mean we said bring one. Thats really your choice.
  7. Last important item: Bring lots of money your going to spend some coins and hey its worth it your not going to see U2 again for hum dare we say another year?

U2TOURANS Updates: You can follow us on twitter. You can view the videos on youtube and the photos and set lists can be found here. We also have a ticket exchange and a drop box for posting. Of course we wll give you full credit.


U2TOURFANS Channel Follow us on twitter





Bold, Brilliant and Masterful

Talk to most people from Toronto the weather and its a snore subject. Most fans concerned when Rogers Centre’s retractable roof was to be opened, but last night Mother Nature gave a boost to the year’s biggest concert.

A bit breezy, clear October evening the rook open as U2 kicked off is 2 night concert event. The venue only sold out for the second time in its history proves the band has power to draw in audiences.

Bono and the boys arrived over the last couple days to taken the area and drop in referenences to TTC and Yonge St. into songs and patter last night.

Stuck as they were in the middle of a football field, the mammoth stage, which includes an expandable cylindrical video screen, worked to bring what some call the Biggest Band in the World a little closer to the 58,000 people.

The set always starts off with a recording of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” that welcomed the veteran Irish rockers to the stage.

Not resting on any 30-year laurels, they kicked off with four songs from their current and 12th album No Line on the Horizon – the title track, “Breathe,” “Get on Your Boots” and “Magnificent.” The latter hit home with the hope and realism that defines their best work – “Only love can leave such a mark/But only love can heal such a scar.” This pretty much follows the format that has been working for a couple of shows now. No real changes.

Then they delved into their bag of hits for “Beautiful Day” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” – for which the crowd sang the first two choruses as Bono mouthed words, resuming the singalong when he segued into Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.”

“We got old songs, we got new songs, we got songs we can hardly play,” Bono had joked. Never saw any signs of the latter.

This was the second city in the North American edition of the 360 Degree Tour that debuted in Europe this summer. (Live Nation reps say it’s on track to be the year’s top-grossing tour.)

It’s a satisfying spectacle, with enviable musicianship – Edge the most dominant, with his intense ringing sound on electric guitar (and a deft acoustic turn on “Stay (Faraway, So Close)” – fantastic sound and consistent energy and emotion. They made use of the stage, wandering its outer rim and running across the moving bridges. Even drummer Larry Mullen Jr. left his kit at one point to walk around playing portable congas.

Bono, as limber physically as he was vocally, was jumping, skipping, spinning with arms outstretched. And they made sure to hit the political marks – dedicating “Walk On” to Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi as fans walk the stage perimeter with paper masks, and running a video message of peace and unity from South Africa’s Bishop Desmond Tutu.

The encore remains the same, you can view the set list and photos already posted. Videos to be posted later today. What did you think of the show ? Do you have photos or video you would like to share. We want to hear from you.

Next up day 2 and then off to America again.


U2 (RED) Charity Show

U2 are among the special guests who will feature in a one-off concert for the (RED) charity next month, it has been announced.

The initiative was launched in 2006 by Bono and he and his fellow band members have confirmed their appearance at New York’s Carnegie Hall event.

Billed as “An Evening with Gavin Friday & Friends”, the bill also includes Laurie Anderson, Rufus Wainwright, Antony Hegarty, Scarlett Johannson and Courtney Love.

The members of U2 are expected to collaborate with the other acts rather than perform together.

Gavin Friday is a childhood friend of the Irish rockers, while (RED) is an organization which aims to help eliminate AIDS in Africa.

The show takes place on October 4, with tickets going on-sale this week from CarnegieHall.com.

Global Horizons (Part III)

U2: Local Act, Global Horizons (Part III)  

By Justin Kavanagh | Tuesday, September 15, 2009  

U2 has reached a new generation of music lovers with its iPod and Blackberry campaigns — thus avoiding the fade into irrelevance usually suffered by aging rock stars. In the conclusion of his three-part series, Justin Kavanagh explores the performance art and marketing behind U2’s stage shows.

In the 1990s, U2’s stage sets embodied a new world order in which global consumers lived passively in 2-D.  Zoo TV was a mobile television station warning against the dangers of brainwashing by TV. Banks of screens subjected the audience to an onslaught of sensory overload with sound bites and advertising-speak. In the arena of marketing, U2 inverted the rules. The band received no payment for use of their 2004 single “Vertigo” in ads for Apple’s iPod.

 The 1997 PopMart extravaganza used an even larger wonderwall of imagery and illusion, crowned by a huge yellow arch to parody the age of mass consumerism.

The band embodied the parody, dressing as cyber-age Village People to stride cockily into the heart of another irony. They were the biggest band in the world — bigger now than Led Zeppelin — and they were caricaturing their own iconic stardom. Still, some in America assumed that the tour was sponsored by McDonald’s or Wal-Mart.

But if the medium was super-sized kitsch, the message remained uniquely subversive for a rock band. The Pop album asked aching questions about the absence of Jesus in the modern world. The lyrics had Bono “looking for to fill that God-shaped hole.” “Mofo” remains the darkest song in the U2 repertoire, a breathless scream for identity, for the love of a dead mother and ultimately for salvation of the soul. This was music and theater of the absurd so loaded with role-play and risk that it seemed bound to confound.

PopMart defied every cliché about rock ‘n roll by exposing its excesses under megawatt illumination. “Let’s go to the overground” was the band’s creed in the 1990s, a stance that challenged the standard rock star pose of embracing an illusory underground community. And yet, the band has stayed connected to worldwide audiences in a way that transcends the years and the sheer scale of these shows. At a 2005 concert in Chorzow, 70,000 Polish fans organized a massive mosaic flag in red and white for the early 1980s anthem “New Years Day.” The song was U2’s response to the communists’ brutal crackdown on the Solidarity trade union in December 1981.

“Mofo” remains the darkest song in the U2 repertoire, a breathless scream for identity, for the love of a dead mother and ultimately for salvation of the soul. The Poles’ act of flash-mob solidarity was organized by Internet and text messaging. This show of viral techno-savvy demonstrated U2’s success in attracting newer audiences and in connecting generations.

By the new millennium, the band had given their blessing to Apple’s iPod and the BlackBerry. In the arena of marketing, too, they inverted the rules. The band received no payment for use of their 2004 single “Vertigo” in ads for Apple’s iPod. Instead, they rode the popularity of the portable media player to bring their music to a new generation.  Likewise, the current single and tour have been widely previewed on U.S. TV and Internet ads for BlackBerry. Typically, the campaign inverts the standard artist/product endorsement routine — its tagline is “BlackBerry Loves U2.”

But if the band — or the brand — has charmed the world, their hometown often remains curmudgeonly in its begrudgery towards U2’s success. A 2006 decision to move part of its business to the Netherlands, in order to lessen its Irish tax burden, brought allegations of tax-dodging. Bono argued that Ireland has long sought to attract international investment in its financial services sector, but now cried foul when an Irish entity decided to make a similar investment abroad.

The Edge also defended the band’s global approach to finance. “[W]e do business all over the world, we pay taxes all over the world and we are totally tax compliant,” he said. But once again, it was Bono, as spokesman for the earth’s poor, who drew the real heat for what critics label as his hypocrisy.

If the band — or the brand — has charmed the world, their hometown often remains curmudgeonly in its begrudgery towards U2’s success.

Broach the topic in any Dublin pub these days, and you’ll soon hear a searing critique of the multi-millionaire behind the DATA and ONE campaigns. These initiatives aim, respectively, to combat poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa, and to increase U.S. government funding for international aid programs.

Bono, if present, would defend his work for Third World debt- and hunger-relief on practical terms. He has been quoted as saying, “If you look into it, you think, ‘This guy works two-and-a-half days a week at this, not being paid for it, and at cost to his band and his family, and doesn’t mind taking a kicking.’” For all the local criticism, the band have always lived in Ireland, employed locally and invested in hotels, nightclubs and properties in Dublin. Their success has also driven the establishment of a thriving music industry. The city’s next big thing won’t want for local inspiration — and Dublin now appears on the back of most European Tour t-shirts.

The U.S. tour

In terms of spectacle, there now seems no limit to U2’s ambition. This year’s show takes place within what can only be described as a spaceship. How far can you take us, Bono? This is rock’s largest ever stage set: a 164-foot high, four-legged “claw” in centerfield. It gives stadium-goers from all sides open views of the band. A conical screen hovers above the stage. From this huge multimedia shrine, U2 will beam their gifts of sound and vision to the faithful. Onscreen, U2 will project to the masses their positive propaganda for a better world. In Europe this summer, crowds heard a message from Bishop Tutu and watched recent scenes of protest and repression from Iran. In place of the crank phone calls, Bono called up the captain of the space station to ask for the view from above… the state of the world through the eyes of God, perhaps?

At a 2005 concert in Chorzow, 70,000 Polish fans organized a massive mosaic flag in red and white for the early 1980s anthem “New Years Day.” And what of their music from outer space in 2009? Few bands of their vintage play anything but oldies on such tours, but U2 climb aboard their space-age magic carpet to explore new boundaries. They will open with four songs from the new album, No Line on the Horizon.

The encore promises to reveal a band that still treasures “vision over visibility,” in the words of their most visible frontman. U2 will invert Oscar Wilde’s famous artistic creed about living in the gutter but looking at the stars. In the new song “Moment of Surrender,” Bono takes a crawl through the gutter in the persona of an alcoholic confessing his sins.

Despite the “War of the Worlds” spaceship stage, it is the band’s ability to relate to a crowd on a human level that still makes a U2 concert an extraordinary experience.

In Washington this week, the song “Walk On” will bear witness to the courage of Aung San Suu Kyi. It will shine a light onto the mendacity of her incarcerators in Myanmar. A line of local volunteers will walk onstage, each wearing a mask with the face of the incarcerated Burmese opposition leader.

“Walk On” echoes one of the world’s great soccer anthems, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Its message of hope for finding one’s way home in the world resonates with every crowd. It’s a simple human message, best delivered in person by fellow-travelers. Wherever you are in this world, you’re not alone…Walk On.

Spaceships may offer us the view from the gods, but at ground level it is local acts that lead to global change.  And when the 49-year-old Bono walks onto his spaceship stage this September, I’ll think of the young singer from Dublin asking all those years ago, “Have yous far to go?”

Editor’s Note: This is the conclusion of a three-part series on U2. Read Part II here.