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.”

Wall blocking free U2 Berlin concert

BERLIN — Fans hoping to catch a glimpse of U2’s free concert celebrating 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall will have to “scale these city walls” after organizers threw up a massive barrier to block the view for those without tickets.

The move has triggered outrage from Berliners, who see the irony in building walls around a concert dedicated to the wall that has come down.

Music network MTV, which organized Thursday’s concert in front of the Brandenburg Gate, did not respond to requests for comment.

Some 10,000 tickets were made available online for the Irish rockers’ free show — and they were snapped up in just three hours.

The Berlin Wall fell Nov. 9, 1989, ending almost 30 years of east-west Cold War division.

 

U2 wraps up 2009 with Vancouver show

U2 still running high off their Rose Bowl show came in to Vancouver for the last stop of 2009. Yes more dates have been announced as we said earlier we can expect to see this tour roll thru 2011. (just a guess on 2011). The crowds packed the ferry to capacity as the crossed over to see the world’s largest tour.  U2 knows how to keep the show current and fresh with their ever-evolving set list mixing in tracks off their latest album which I confess took some time to slip into my U2 rotation mix. As they has said early on this was going to be different. However after a couple of listens and a couple of shows, this could be possibility be their finest work.  

The stage — a sprawling entity dubbed “The Claw” — acted as Bono’s pulpit.

Head thrown back and arms open wide; he lifted the adoring crowd, even if just for a moment, out of the stadium’s concrete confines with the sheer power of his voice.

And the audience was ready to receive his word.

They were ready, fists raised and hearts pounding, to go forth unto Vancouver’s streets and spread the gospel according to U2: one love, one heart. 

We will skip telling you that the set change for this tour was a bit longer than most in the past; however it’s clearly due to the size of the stage and the amount of gear that has to come on and off the stage. We have photos that suggest that it takes the band about10 minutes per show to reach the stage. Sometimes they begin the walk as early as 15 minutes. 

 The show kicks off at 9:00PM local time as most twitter fans on the east coast have retried for the night. However you have a small group of dedicated twitter U2 fans that tweet every show, every song and Vancouver’s show was no different.

Kicking off the show with a trio of tracks from their latest release, No Line On the Horizon: Breathe, the decidedly un-U2-like Get On Your Boots and Magnificent. Bono, clad in traditional all-black and patented sunglasses, is basking in stadium love and has already covered more square footage than any of the Peas. (which was to be expected the opening act is never allowed to use all of the stage)

“Where are we going on the SkyTrain? Millennium Line. Expo Line. Canada Line.”

The reference to Vancouver’s public transit system sent the crowd into a frenzy and was one of the very few surprises of the night for anyone who has been following the band’s much-publicized tour – in particular, Sunday night’s live web cast of their Los Angeles concert which featured an identical set list and some of the same word-for-word on-stage banter from Bono.

The show took off when Bono launched into Mysterious Ways, strutting across the enormous catwalk – and the crowd was on its feet.

What we have always said from the beginning of this tour was “City of Blinding Lights” fits so well with this stage is as if the two were made or each other. Every tour stop Bono drags someone on stage to walk with him as he sings about the youth he misses, the beauty in side of me, as if we did not know that each show the person selected was pre-selected. The only difference tonight was that it was a little girl.

Back to our twitter fans, we all seem to have differences on the encore set. Tonight everything matched up, due mostly to this was pretty much the same set list from the last 4 shows.

The main set end around 10:30pm with the standard Sunday Bloody Sunday and Walk On/You’ll Never Walk Alone. BC Place came alive once more for “Where the Streets Have No Name” most will agree one of their best songs that never won a VMA award.

The encore was three songs, Ultraviolet which gives Bono the chance to drive a glowing red steering wheel dangling from above. Next “With or Without You” the wheel turns blue at this point. Closing out 2009 with Moment of Surrender, not before Bono asks “Let’s turn this place into the Milky Way” and as true fans do, they followed.

A couple of notable shout outs to Liam Neeson and football great Warren Moon in attendance, guitarist The Edge’s mother (“our very first crew member,” said Bono) and Bill and Melinda Gates. Bono led the crowd in a rendition of Happy Birthday for Mr. Gates, who celebrated his 54th birthday at the concert.

The sound was inconsistent, not surprising for this venue. But if anyone can sound good at BC Place, it’s U2.

U2 never let on that they just finished playing to 95,000 people and millions watching online. The energy was high and Bono’s voice was fine for the most part, of course in play back we will hear some stress points.

Closing out the show, Bono said” this was the best crew we’ve ever worked with” and while we can’t help but remember all the other crew members tonight was for this crew. Let of pats on the back for the set designer and big hugs for all the band mates.

 “It’s getting very emotional around here,” Bono said toward the end of the show.

It was, indeed.

Now on to Germany for a free concert at the Wall.  

 

We want to thank all our twitter followers, the U2 Twitter writers group.(with most we shared information back and forth, learning how to play in the sand box better)

To our photog Dave Long to whom made this tour light up for us and millions of fans

To our Youtube Channel team, you guys did a great job after some bumps early.

Our hosting provider, which at times we know we shocked you, we shocked ourselves.

Most of all we want to thank you the FAN for this wonderful experience.

Cheers, we will see you in 2010

U2 to play Brandenburg Gate gig

The band have announced a free gig in Berlin next month outside the Brandenburg Gate to mark 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The gig, on Nov. 5, will be staged as part of the MTV Europe Music Awards which are being held in the city this year. The free show will also kick off a range of events marking the fall of the barrier, widely seen as the end of the Cold War.

U2 have a strong affiliation with the German capital — in 1990 the band moved to the city to record their album ‘Achtung Baby’ at Hansa Studios. Tickets to the show will be made available off the band’s website and MTV’s. U2, incidentally, have been nominated for best rock band at the awards this year.

The band’s performance will be beamed into the MTV Awards, which are taking place at Berlin’s O2 World arena. U2 manager Paul McGuinness said, “It’ll be an exciting spot to be in, 20 years almost to the day since the wall came down. Should be fun.” The news of the free Berlin gig comes days after the band played a show streamed live over video-sharing website YouTube. The Pasadena, Calif, show is thought to have been seen by more than 2.5m people.

The band also recently announced more dates in their 360° tour for next year, with a cluster of shows in the US and Canada as well as more European dates — including German shows in Frankfurt and Hanover.

Antonio Campo Dall’Orto, executive producer of the awards ceremony, said the “world’s major music players” would be coming together “against the backdrop of the fall of the Berlin Wall to celebrate music, freedom and the birth of a new age in Europe”.

The ceremony, which will be hosted by US singer Katy Perry for the second year in succession, will include performances from Robbie Williams and Jay-Z.

Lady Gaga and Green Day lead the field with five nominations each, while U2 are in the running for best rock band.

Pixie Lott has already been announced as the winner of best UK and Ireland act, and will compete for the best European act trophy with 21 artists from across the continent.

 

U2's fourth album: The Unforgettable Fire

This ain’t mere genius, this is rock ‘n’ roll…’ (Kerrang, October 1984)

U2’s fourth album, The Unforgettable Fire, has been remastered and will be released by Mercury Records on 26th October.

This special edition marks 25 years since the album’s original release in October 1984. Recorded at Slane Castle, Ireland, The Unforgettable Fire was the first U2 album to be produced by Brian Eno and Danny Lanois, and spawned two top 10 UK singles - ‘Pride (In The Name Of Love)’ and ‘The Unforgettable Fire’.

Special formats of The Unforgettable Fire will also feature bonus audio material, including two previously unheard tracks from the Slane Castle sessions: ‘Yoshino Blossom’, and ‘Disappearing Act’ (a track which the band recently completed), and a DVD including music videos, a documentary and unreleased live footage from the Amnesty International Conspiracy of Hope Tour in 1986.

The Unforgettable Fire has been remastered from the original audio tapes, with direction from The Edge and the album will be available in four formats:

* Limited Edition Box Set: containing 2 CDs (remastered album and bonus audio CD), a DVD with live footage, documentary and videos, a 56 page hardback book with liner notes by The Edge, Brian Eno, Danny Lanois, Bert Van de Kamp and Niall Stokes, and 5 photographic prints

* Deluxe Edition: containing 2 CDs, the remastered album, and the bonus audio CD which features B-sides and previously unreleased material, a 36 page booklet with liner notes by The Edge, Brian Eno, Danny Lanois and Bert Van de Kamp

* CD format: featuring the remastered album

* 12” vinyl format: 16 page booklet with liner notes by Brian Eno, Danny Lanois and Bert Van de Kamp

The Unforgettable Fire track listing is as follows: A Sort of Homecoming, Pride (In The Name Of Love), Wire, The Unforgettable Fire, Promenade, 4th Of July, Bad, Indian Summer Sky, Elvis Presley and America, MLK.

U2's Scores Big on YouTube Concert !

U2 played to 96,000 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. At the same time, they were playing to who knows how many more people around the world who tuned in for a live stream of the full show on YouTube. Pretty cool, right?

The stream is down now, but a message posted at U2’s YouTube hub — say that five times fast! — promises that it will all be available for encore viewing “soon.” And while I’m sure a YouTube stream can’t compare to an in-person performance, or even to a high-res TV simulcast, it still seems like a promising option. I know there have been lots of shows over the years that I’ve been unable to attend due to scheduling or location issues, and that I’d have loved to watch online. That goes double if YouTube would let me see a show the next morning. (Case in point: I, personally, was unable to tune in last night because I was watching the Yankees win the pennant.)

Did any of you catch U2’s show on YouTube? Or do you plan to watch it later? Let us know how the whole YouTube concert thing worked out for you — and make all the U2-YouTube puns that you can think of — in the comments below. And hey, if you’re really dying to see U2 in the flesh, you can try and make it to one of the new North American shows they’ve just announced for 2010

U2 concert goes live on YouTube

U2 concert goes live on YouTube

U2 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl
The concert was bookended by songs from the band’s latest album

Irish rock group U2 have broadcast an entire live show via the video sharing website YouTube.

Although 96,000 people turned up to see the show at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California, many times that number were expected to have watched it online.

As he took to the stage, lead singer Bono said: “Thank you Los Angeles. Thanks to everyone watching on YouTube all over the world - seven continents.”

The quartet played hits including Beautiful Day and Mysterious Ways.

‘Mad scientist’

Other tracks in the 24-song set included Vertigo, One and With Or Without You.

The entire show, which Bono described as a “space adventure”, is being repeated on YouTube.

The singer introduced his bandmates as famous characters from Hollywood history. Drummer Larry Mullen was “James Dean”, while bassist Adam Clayton was Clark Gable as Gone With The Wind’s Rhett Butler.

Black Eyed Peas
Hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas were the night’s support act

“Every horror movie needs a mad scientist,” Bono continued as he introduced The Edge, “and ours is just to my right.

“He wants to boldly go where no guitar players have ever gone before. He’s Mr Spock to us, he’s The Edge to you.”

The singer went on to compare himself to “Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito with a little bit of Dennis Hopper thrown in”.

It was the band’s penultimate date of the year, with one more concert to take place in Vancouver, Canada, on Wednesday.

The 360 Degrees World Tour resumes next June in Anaheim, California.

Meanwhile, the band have been speaking candidly about the mixed reaction to their recent album, No Line On The Horizon.

Although it among the best-selling albums of the year to date, it has underperformed compared to their previous records.

It has been certified platinum in the UK - meaning 300,000 sales - while in the US it has shifted just over 1m copies. Those figures mean it is the band’s least successful album since the experimental Zooropa in 1993.

U2's stage
The towering “claw” stage has allowed U2 to squeeze in bigger audiences

Speaking before Sunday’s concert, Bono admitted the album had lacked a big, commercial hit like Vertigo or Beautiful Day.

“We weren’t really in that mindset,” he said.

“We felt that the album was a kind of an almost extinct species, and we should approach it in totality and create a mood and a feeling, and a beginning, middle and an end.

“And I suppose we’ve made a work that is a bit challenging for people who have grown up on a diet of pop stars.”

“The commercial challenges have to be confronted,” bassist Adam Clayton added.

 

U2 Rocks the World !

‘What time is it in the world and where are we going?’ Bono asked after ‘Get On Your Boots’. Tonight it was every time on the clock, depended which country you were in as the U2 360°: show went out live on YouTube to millions of viewers on seven continents.

We’ve been getting messages from fans all over the world who were loving the show tonight: you were watching in China and New Zealand, in Iran and in North Korea, in Russia and Latin America, in Canada and right across Europe.



From Iceland (‘Definitely the greatest economy class I have ever had…’) to Peru (‘amazing, incredible and exciting…’) the whole world seems to have been at the show.

‘It’s like we are all there at the concert,’ said Baadsilver on our Zoootpia live thread ‘We ALL have our hands in the air and are singing… crazy tonight for U2.’

Or as one smart Tweet put it, ‘This has to be the best U2 concert I have never been to.’

From Breathe to Moment of Surrender, felt like a moment of rock’n’roll history tonight.