U2 Fan Book Selections

The question has been asked many times. Is it possible to be a committed Christian and rock superstar, can political activists make good music? How much does a hugely successful rock band really care about AIDS and poverty in Africa or is the whole concept just a front for selling more music. U2 has had a successful career distinctly dipping into those issues while remaining true to its fans.   For over two decades, U2 has been one of the biggest acts in rock music. They’ve produced over a dozen platinum and multiplatinum records and won 15 Grammy Awards. Critics everywhere have praised the band’s thoughtful, complex lyrics and the artistry of their music. At the same time, Bono, the group’s lead singer, has dedicated himself to political and social causes, blurring the line between rock star and respected statesman.

U2TOURFANS 2009We have just completed our book store list of the must read books about U2. The books have been selected to give a new fan some prospective into U2, covering all the topics.  If you’re looking for a holiday gift or just something refreshing to read while you wait out the next show. We invite you to visit our book store. Your purchases are safe and secure, you may ask why buy from our site; why not go directly to AMAZON or any of the other thousands of book stores on-line. We do earn commissions of the sale of the item. By the way if you click a link and purchase anything from AMAZON, you’re supporting our website. So this holiday season why not purchase items from our store. Watch for our guest writers to be coming soon.  

Sunday Bloody Sunday Part III

“Sunday Bloody Sunday” found itself placed in the middle of a political trio of songs on the Vertigo Tour.  All three songs, but mostly “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, centered on the theme of coexisting. The song was played immediately after “Love and Peace or Else” and segued into “Bullet the Blue Sky.” As it started, the word “coexist” was displayed on the video curtain with the Islamic crescent, the Star of David, and a Christian cross making up letters in the word. After Edge’s solo, Bono would usually drive the point home by saying, “Jesus, Jew, Mohammed, it’s true. All sons of Abraham.” This version of the song focused on the growing religious conflict around the world and was a call for all faiths to realize that they’re much more similar than they think.

Recently, this past year, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” became re-contextualized yet again as a tribute to the 2009 Iranian election protests. The song was also a focal part of the transition between the two parts of the main set. Bono has mentioned in interview that the first half is a personal journey, up until a techno version of “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight.” The backing beats and looped vocals fade out as “Sunday Bloody Sunday” kicks off the political half of the set. As the band played through the song, Iranian writing and footage from the protest appeared on the screen, tinted in a shade of green.

The live history of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” has shown how versatile it is as a song. A track originally written as a call for peace in Ireland has spread throughout the years to a call to the end of all conflicts. Its message is backed by the power of the lyrics and music that it contains. It’s a number that fans love to hear played live. However, every time they do, there’s one line that comes through over and over. “How long must we sing this song?”

Did not catch the whole story ? Check out each part via the links below

Part I

Part II

If you have an idea for a story let us know.

Sunday Bloody Sunday, Part II

U2TOURFANS/WAR inside cover U2 continued to perform “Sunday Bloody Sunday” as a staple of their live set. As their popularity increased, the band chose it as the opening number of their two-song set for Live Aid. With U2 flags sticking out of the crowd everywhere, the band played a passionate performance during which Bono had the entire Wembley Stadium singing the words “No more!” along with him.

The song reached its live peak during the Joshua Tree Tour. On November 8, 1987, a bomb placed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army exploded during a Remembrance Sunday commemoration in Enniskillen for those killed in all conflicts involving the British Army. The bombing killed 11 people and became the latest stage of the Irish conflict. Later that same day, U2 performed one of the angriest and most passionate versions of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” in their career. It started off with just Edge and Bono before the rest of the band kicked in halfway through. After Edge’s solo, Bono unleashed one of his most scathing rants against the violence occurring in his home country.

After the tour ended, Bono mentioned at one point that the band may never play the song again, since it became real on that day that the performance would never be bested. For the next few years, U2 kept to their word. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” wasn’t played on any of the dates for the 1989 Lovetown Tour. It made a few appearances during the band’s 1992-1993 ZooTV extravaganza, but it was mostly left out of the set.

The song only really returned midway through the band’s 1997-98 Popmart tour. The tour was the most extensive U2 had done up to that point, with dates in South America, Japan, and South Africa. One of the most special dates of the tour occurred when the band visited the war-torn city of Sarajevo. During ZooTV, Sarajevo was under siege by the Serbian Army looking to add the city to a new Serbian state. The conflict lasted for about four years, leading to thousand of deaths and injuries. U2 was closely involved with trying to get help to the citizens of the city and wanted to play there during the conflict. It was deemed too dangerous, though, so the band waited until their next tour to play Sarajevo. It was during this show that “Sunday Bloody Sunday” made its return, albeit in a very different structure. The Edge performed a slow solo version of the song that emphasized the sadness over the violence rather than the anger. It was this version of the song that Edge continued to play for all the remaining dates of the tour, dedicating it to Sarajevo every time.

During U2’s successful Elevation Tour, the “…Sunday” returned in its full band version. This time around, the song was centered on Ireland again. While the Troubles in Ireland had been resolved by 2001, U2 played the song in tribute to those who died in the Omagh bombing of 1998. The bombing killed 29 people in Northern Ireland and was carried out by the Real Irish Republican Army, a splinter group of the IRA. The attack was seen as a response to the nearly completed peace process occurring in the nation.  During performances, Bono would ask for the crowd to “Turn this song into a prayer.” During their emotional concerts at Slane Castle, Bono recited off the names of all the victims of the bombing in tribute to the lives lost. After 9/11, the song was played in tribute to those who died in the terrorist attacks. Instead of talking during the middle break, Bono instead hugged an American flag.

 Catch the whole series here. Part I currently available and Part III due to be posted on Wedneday.

U2 FAN ALERT

We noticed that 24hrs before Pre-Sale an email was sent out from U2.com. Now that seems a little late and maybe someone dropped the ball. Anyway if you want to keep up on U2 follow us via twitter or facebook or even here on our site. We do keep you informed.

This week TICKETS GO ON PRESALE for U2’s 2010 360° shows in SEATTLE, PHILADELPHIA and A SECOND NIGHT IN ANAHEIM.

The show in SEATTLE at Qwest Field takes place on June 20th and the show in PHILADELPHIA at Lincoln Financial Field takes place on July 12th. A second show has now also been announced for Angel Stadium in ANAHEIM, CA - this final Southern Californian performance will take place on June 7th.

These shows go on sale to the general public next week but this week tickets are exclusively available to U2.com subscribers.

As well as the chance to buy up to FOUR tickets in the presale, U2.com subscribers will be sent a limited edition U2 remix album, which will not be available in the shops, and they gain unique online benefits with access to our dedicated U2.com subscription site.

Check the complete list of North American cities, venues and dates for U2 360° in 2010 here.

Did you hear that U2’s landmark 1984 album The Unforgettable Fire - their first collaboration with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, the album that gave us ‘Pride’ and ‘Bad’ - has now been remastered for the 25th anniversary of its release ? Take a look at some vintage period video and check out all the details.


 


Sunday Bloody Sunday

U2TOURFANS/WAR 2009“Sunday Bloody Sunday” first came together in 1982 while U2 were just starting to work on their third album. Bono was on his honeymoon with his wife Ali Hewson, leaving The Edge to begin working on the music in Ireland. After one particularly miserable day in which Edge got into a fight with his girlfriend and doubted his song writing abilities, he channeled all his anger into a piece of music that would become the song’s main riff. Though both sets of lyrics deal with the troubles in Ireland, Edge’s original lyrics were much more blunt and risky. Starting with the line, “Don’t tell me about the rights of the IRA, UDA,” the track was strongly anti-terrorism. The lyrics were later changed to ensure the safety of the band and their families, as well as to promote a message of tolerance on both sides.

The final version of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” was the opening track to U2’s third album, War. Kicking off with Larry Mullen, Jr.’s militaristic drumbeat, the song moved away from the echo-laden guitar the band had used on their first two albums.  Instead, the guitar notes were icy and had a brittle feel to them. The accompaniment of Irish violinist Steve Wickman helped to connect the track to traditional Irish music. The Bloody Sunday mentioned in the song called back to the 1972 incident in Derry where British soldiers fired on a crowd of protesters, killing 14 of them. Bono directed his anger in the lyrics to the loss of life in general, rather than pointing fingers. With lyrics like, “And the battle’s just begun/There’s many lost, but tell me who has won/Trenches dug within our hearts/And mothers, children, brothers, sisters torn apart,” Bono conveyed the sadness and anger over such a loss of life.

Like many of U2’s songs, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” has evolved and changed throughout the years it’s been played live. When U2 performed the song on the War Tour, there was some trepidation on how the crowd would react, especially their Irish fans. There were some who saw the song as a glorification of the Troubles and a call for revolution. In order to squash these ideas, Bono introduced the song by saying, “This song is not a rebel song. This song is Sunday Bloody Sunday.” This statement, combined with the white flags that waved behind the band on stage, helped bring forth the song’s non-partisan intention for a peaceful solution.

Part two continued on Tuesday

Dublin Rockers Bring it Home

Half of Dublin 4 decided to sup with the Devlin last weekend. Nothing strange about that you think, but no, this wasn’t the Devlin you know (Peter, husband of Lorraine), it was his younger brother, Colin. So half of Dublin 4 had to take their long spoons to LA last weekend.

Ostensibly, it was for the little matter of a U2 concert. But it was really to help Irish actress Sonya Macari surprise her fiance Colin with a party at the Bar Marmont of the Chateau Marmont last Saturday night.

Pop star Colin turned up thinking he was going for a drink with Sonya. Once there he was surprised by the assembled throng of Irish glamouratti.

U2TOURFANS 2009My fingers would bleed from typing if I told you all the names but they included Pamela Flood (can anyone tell me what she does now?) and her boyfriend, Town Bar & Grill boss Ronan Ryan; magician Keith Barry; Dunnes heir Andrew Heffernan (who was at the Barcelona opening night and the recent New York show too — is this what heirs do?); and PR whizz Tara O’Leary. Former RTE star Caroline Morahan was also there (she is, I’m told, getting on great with her acting classes over there in La La Land) as was Olivia Tracey. Ms Tracey, who has gone down a storm in Hollywood, could probably give Caroline acting lessons by now.

U2 were staying in the Chateau Marmont, apart from the Edge who stayed in his house in LA. The following night, Sonya et al went to the U2 concert and, naturally the VIP pre-party reception — which turned out to be a who’s who of Hollywood and Ireland’s best talent: among them Colin Farrell, Pierce Brosnan, Cindy Crawford and hubby Rande Gerber, David Beckham (sporting a beard), Ewan McGregor, Bono, Irish classical music composer Patrick Cassidy (who is doing a giant concert in Rome next summer) and Teresa Carr’s favourite diner, Orlando Bloom.

 

10 million tune in to U2 gig

U2TOURFANS 2009

For U2 it was just another outlet for video footage but it may well prove to be the moment when the internet showed that it could generate audiences to rival broadcast television.

On ten million occasions viewers clicked on to YouTube to watch U2 perform live at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calfornia at the end of last month, a record for simultaneous viewing on the video website.

Malcom Gerrie, the chief executive of WhizzKid Entertainment, the company that filmed the event, said that both the band and YouTube were shocked and surprised by how many people watched online. “This achieved the kind of audience you might see for a television hit show, but it was far greater than you would see for a music show on television in any single country,” he said. “In Britain, they are cracking open the champagne if Later with Jools Holland gets seen by 600,000 people.”

YouTube, owned by Google, traditionally shows short video clips, and the U2 concert was one of only a handful of live broadcasts the website has undertaken. It was persuaded into doing so when Bono, the band’s frontman, took advantage of his friendship with Sergey Brin, one of Google’s two billionaire founders, to force a change of policy.

Previous attempts to broadcast major concerts live on the internet, such as AOL’s transmission of Live 8 in 2005, have proved to be disappointing for viewers because the prevailing internet technology had not been able to handle video well. As household connection speeds increase, transmitting live television online is becoming more practical.U2TOURFANS 2009/Rose Bowl

The high viewing figures came as such a surprise that neither the band nor YouTube capitalised financially. Paul McGuinness, U2’s manager, said: “YouTube were a little unsure of themselves. They were supposed to sell a sponsorship for the event, but somehow they didn’t manage to.”

YouTube also refused to pay U2, although the Irish quartet accepted the lack of fees because they saw the exercise as a promotional experiment. The Rose Bowl gig was being filmed anyway, so the band could release a DVD of the event early next year as part of their contractual obligation to their music company, Universal.

Mr McGuiness said that in future U2 would consider charging viewers to watch live online when the band comes round to touring again in about four years. “We might do pay per view next time, and we don’t think that will cannibalise any sales of DVDs because the audiences are separate,” he said.

In Britain, few programmes top 10 million viewers. Coronation Street and other soap operas; Champions League and other football finals; and Saturday night entertainment shows are the only programmes able to breach that figure. Last week the X Factor elimination show on Sunday night was watched by 15.8 million, making it one of the most-watched programmes of the year.

U2 were able to exceed the 10 million level because the concert was made available to 187 countries, including China, North Korea and Iran, although a third of the 10 million audience for the Rose Bowl show came from the United States.

After the gig, YouTube is understood to be considering a change in strategy that would turn it into a regular rival to the BBC and ITV and any traditional TV station. A spokesman for YouTube would only describe the event as a “big win”, but Mr Gerrie said: “We think a whole new business model has emerged here.”

Videos and Comments

We have been building a FAN friendly site over the last couple of months and as e speak we are working 2010 version that will provide you the fan an up close and personal view of U2. More photos, more videos and more stories from around the globe.  Its a lite Friday here on the east coast of America and we have been working on new stories and cleaning out video drop box. We have tons of videos that you the fan have sent in to us and we will be posting all of the to the U2TOURFANS channel on Youtube. Currently we are in a test with Youtube to see the stress of the channel. They are trying to gage how many people really follow U2 videos and Fan based video sites. So please watch some videos and post some comments, subscribe if your inclined. 

Gretty ImagesBerlin Wall Review: “I have scaled these city walls…But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,” Bono once sang. Lots of would-be concert goers can sympathize.  In a performance marking the fall of the Berlin Wall (It went down nearly 20 years ago on Nov. 9, 1989), concert promoters erected another, smaller barrier, sparking outrage in Germany. After doling out 10,000 free tickets to the concert at the Brandenburg Gate, fans without tickets hoping to get a peep of the rockers faced a 6 1/2 foot high metal barrier blocking their view. Organizers said the fence was built “around the site to ensure the safety and security of the attendees at the event as well as residents and businesses in the area.”

 

Changing gears; with U2 recently in the news thanks to their LA concert being broadcast live on YouTube, it’s an opportune time to be releasing a re-mastered, 25th anniversary fourth album.

Available in four formats, it holds up well. The nervy, jerky energy of Edge’s treated guitar comes into its own on Wire, while Brian Eno’s sense of texture and atmosphere lends A Sort of Homecoming much of its appeal. Factor in the title track and the stadium-baiting qualities of Bad, and it’s bettered only by Achtung Baby as U2’s greatest album.

 Videos:  We selected 2 videos for you. Take a look and vote for the best one.

The bonus disc features two previously unreleased songs — the haunting Disappearing Act, which probably should have made the finished album, and a pretty instrumental, Yoshino Blossom, which may have had a case too — as well as several live cuts and the fine Kervorkian Remix of Wire. Incidentally, Eno was not U2’s first choice of producer. Krautrock pioneer Conny Plank declined the invitation. It’s fascinating to wonder what path Bono et al would have taken had Plank, and not Eno, shaped the U2 direction from 1984 on.

 

360 Tour: Did you see the show ? As we finish out the year we would like to hear from you, the FAN. We would like you to share your U2 show story with us. No matter where you saw the show you have a chance to share your experience with the fans that did not attend. Do you have videos,photos or both we would like to see them. Drop a comment to us below. If your experience is selected you will be our show of the day. Remember your story does not have to be in English, it helps but no worries we have a team that can translate. Cheers

 

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U2 preformed at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

To celebrate 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and as part of MTV’s Europe Music Awards, U2 performed in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin today. The performance was free, although it was ticketed and limited to 10,000 attendees. Yesterday, the  stageing and lighting were prepared, and earlier today, the band sound checked six songs.Welcome U2 (U2TOURFANS.com) 2009

The band did not play the six songs that they sound checked. However not everything was different from the sound check; One and Magnificent were abbreviated versions, and Sunday Bloody Sunday featured a guest rap by Jay-Z. In a surprise, Beautiful Day was played with the extended “we love you” intro. U2Gigs reports that  this was the first time since 20th of September 2009.

Not with out controversy a two metre barrier has been erected around the Brandenburg gate to keep out people without tickets for the show.

“It’s a shame that a barrier has been set up. It’s stopping many Berliners from hearing the concert,” local politician Frank Henkel told the BBC.

The U2 show is part of the MTV Europe Music Awards, which take place later. Ten thousand tickets were given away free online and snapped up within hours. Now police in the city said  as many as 100,000 people to descended on the square in front of the Brandenburg gate to try and catch a glimpse of U2.

Mr Henkel, Christian Democrat floor leader in the Berlin city-state parliament, said: “It would have been so much better if as many Berliners as possible could have taken part.

“We don’t know who’s responsible for this, whether it’s U2 or MTV. He continued: “10,000 people is a lot, but U2 could have had an even bigger audience enjoying their music at this wonderful location.”

 McGuinness said Berliners think it is “pretty ironic” that an event to mark the falling of the wall has resulted in another one being constructed. Fans, too, were displeased.

“It’s completely ridiculous that they are blocking the view,” said Louis-Pierre Boily, a Canadian fan who travelled to Berlin despite failing to secure tickets for the show. “I thought it’s a free show, but MTV probably wants people to watch it on TV to get their ratings up,” he added.

U2, Live Nation, or MTV not really sure who was to blame for the “wall” however it sure did not leave a postive vibe feeling amoung the fans that just wanted to catch some “one” love from their hero’s.

 

U2: Do they Matter

We along with many of you have been reading stories about the value of U2 today. In today’s music culture does U2 really have a place?

Matt McGee along with others has captured some thoughts from music industry greats. However before we share the story we thought about the question.

U2TOURFANS File Photo 2009Do they matter? Does the Beatles matter? Do the Rolling Stones matter? Does Pink Floyd matter? Music always matters. The idea that a song can define a time period, a person and a generation as we define what matters ask yourself what mattered most in your life. What was your soundtrack? Do others hear your music? Now most will focus on the political views of Bono and hey he even said once “Nothing worse than a Rock Star with an conscience” at a Harvard commencement speech.  

If you judge how a band matters based on soundscan, or billboard you really just focused on the business side of the industry.  Maybe what’s wrong with the whole music industry as band emerges their music grows on you, taking hold in a place that a void needs to be filled.  You can look at the thousands of “one hit wonders” and see that some music ex had to produce a hit to keep the lights on.

Sometimes the hits take time to grow on you. Remember “Streets without names” that was not a hit at all. In fact MTV named it one of the best songs/video of all time that never won a moon man.

In order for music to move forward it may be time to view music as the true art that it is. A price on art has only the value that you would pay. Radiohead tried to blaze forward with “Pay what you think” concept moving the Music Ex’ out of the way of the fan. Truth is that we need those music industry ex’s because thats the only way money can be made to let bands like U2, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Van Halen grow into their own.

Adam Clayton - U2TOURFANS 2009So from our view point. U2 has a place in todays music, its defined be the idea that we are greater than we claim to be. We can become “One” and focus on a greater good. The soundtrack of your life has been playing for sometime and you have heard the voice calling to be greater.

Question:  How does U2 matter to you? What would you say was the song that moved you, What U2 songs would be the sound track to your life? Share your comments below.

Bertis Downs: “Of course U2 still matters—they make music all their own, are many people’s favorite band, carry themselves in a manner like no one else, and make a huge difference with their approach to their responsibilities as a role model for so many others.”

Bob Lefsetz: “They’re meaningless in terms of new music. If only they’d realize this, and start to record and release new music that’s not overmanaged and overmanipulated to try and be successful, but is recorded for the pure joy of it.”

Quincy Jones: “Their relevance transcends music—it’s almost like its own belief system, which is probably why those four dudes have stayed together for so long.”

Bertis Downs, R.E.M. advisor

“Of course U2 still matters—they make music all their own, are many people’s favorite band, carry themselves in a manner like no one else, and make a huge difference with their approach to their responsibilities as a role model for so many others. And, to my ears, they are still pushing their creative envelope every time they release a record.”

RJD2 (a.k.a. RJ or Ramble Krohn), artist/producer

“U2 sells out venues that are literally 100 times the size of rooms that I play. So if U2 doesn’t ‘matter,’ then what is a degree 100 times smaller than ‘mattering’? Does it surpass ‘existing’? Whatever it is, that is what I am—sub-existence. Also, for the record, anyone who goes around saying things like ‘someone doesn’t matter’ is a status-obsessed douche.”

Glenn “G5” Gyorffy, bassist, Anvil

“Absolutely! U2 have been, and still are, one of the biggest bands in the world. They’ve inspired some of the greatest music of the past two-and-a-half decades as well. There was a time when they sounded unique but now you can hear their sound in just about every pop band. U2 will always matter! Just like the Beatles will always matter!”

Doug “Cosmo” Clifford, drummer, Creedence Clearwater Revival

“I have nothing but respect for U2 because they have managed to stay together as a band for decades. They have stayed viable at a very high level through the many changes in the industry over the years. They have given back so much to people in need, making a real difference in the lives of millions of people around the globe. They are truly a class act. Bravo!”

John Baldwin Gourley, singer/guitarist, Portugal. The Man

“U2 will matter forever, that is not up for debate. I just can’t imagine charging your fans, who have made you, that much for a concert or a T-shirt, but maybe I have no perspective of the size of things”

Kasim Sulton, bassist/singer, Utopia, session and touring pro

“Very few bands/musicians have the capacity to remain popular and contemporary after 25 years together. Much like a roman candle, there might be four or five truly good records before the magic sputters and the artists find themselves held hostage to their initial success, playing the same old songs because that’s all the audience really wants. U2 is one of the only bands that consistently tops the last record, the last tour, and continues to remain one of—if not the only—bands that can release an album and have it mean more than the previous one. Consistently. Case in point: The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Aerosmith and most other artists in that stratosphere of success can still sell out tour after tour, yet nothing they’ve released in the last 15 years compares to their early material. U2 still matters.”

So whats your thoughts ? Do they matter and if not why not ?