Thursday, 29 October 2009

Fall of Berlin Wall, Free U2 Concert Commemorates

MTV Europen Music Awards Just one of the big acts slated for the on Nov. 5, U2 will play a free concert in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Four days the gig will take place before the milestone’s 20th Anniversary celebration, which looks back on the wipeout of the barrier that stood as the Cold War’s icon, cutting the city in two.
Other artists to perform at the EMA’s include Jay-Z, Green Day, Robbie Williams, Tokio Hotel, Leona Lewis, Foo Fighters and Shakira, reports
“It’ll be an exciting spot to be in, 20 years almost to the day since the wall came down — should be fun,” said U2’s manager Paul McGuinness.
Bono & Co. will be in the race for best rock band at the EMA’s.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Tour At the Rose Bowl to U2 360

The U.S. leg to U2 closed of their massive 360° Tour in front of a record crowd last night, and the experience was nothing short of an extravagant spectacle. 96,000 people descended on the beautiful little town of Pasadena on Sunday, obliterating the 20,000 parking spaces by morning and causing the major transit lines to run overtime. I had refused to believe there was an actual subway in Los Angeles until I was riding it out of the station with the fan masses, but it's very real, and was very packed with Bono disciples yesterday.
The gates of the Rose Bowl opened nearly an hour after the listed 5 p.m. doors time, which led to desperate bottlenecking that would've turned massively fatal at the drop of a hat, had someone screamed "fire" or "bomb" or "Fergie pissed her pants onstage again!" Openers Black Eyed Peas brought their anthemics up to stadium level in pro fashion, recruiting special guest Slash to play "Sweet Child O' Mine" to the squealing delight of the crowd. The former Gunner wasn't the only famous face at the bowl, however; other stars in attendance included Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor, Paris Hilton, J.J. Abrams, Chris O'Donnell, Cindy Crawford and Michael Bay.

Of course, the biggest spectacle - what apparently justifies spending in excess of $300 million without turning a dime of profit - is the Claw, a giant, spider-like contraption that stands 170 feet tall, looks like a giant spaceship and is completely distracting as a stage prop. It's neat to look at, but when one considers that they've played to 3 million fans and are still in the hole, it begs the question: what's the point? Is the goal to cram as many people as they can into arenas? If so, U2 certainly succeeded.

But what about the music? Aside from the fact that the set was unreasonably heavy on newer material, I was four rows from the floor, and for all the hype about rotating platforms and "intimate" experiences courtesy of the Claw, I've had more intimate music moments watching YouTube. In fact, the show was broadcast on YouTube (and filmed for a future DVD as well), and those at their computers likely had far better a concertgoing encounter than anyone in the stadium that wasn't on the general-admission floor. Sure, the spectacle and energy of the staggeringly massive Rose Bowl crowd doesn't translate through a computer screen, but the songs didn't hit nearly as hard as they could've - for the simple fact that it seemed they (particularly Bono) were playing up more to the cameras than to the audience itself.

U2 felt like a company. They didn't strike me as a band trying to reach an emotional apex with their audience. Is this the price of a band constantly trying to outdo their own gimmicks? Is it truly better for millions of people to share an experience if that very experience is diminished by the grandiosity of it? The answer is no, and for all their noble efforts and seasoned showmanship, U2 just didn't pull it off.

All the same, the night was still full of beautiful moments. The snippet of Beethoven’s Ninth as the intro to “Get On Your Boots” was gorgeous, and a few lines from Daniel Lanois’ “The Maker” at the end of “Beautiful Day,” was memorable as well. The “Amazing Grace” lead-in to the deafening singalong “Where the Streets Have No Name,” as well as the uber-anthem "Sunday Bloody Sunday" didn't suffer from the grandiosity, but the general sense of spectatorship felt more like a football game than a concert. And in a climate where corporate generics are ripping the human experience out of life at every turn, what we need is intimate heart. You may still be able to find it on a U2 album, but certainly not beside 96,000 other fans, under a giant Claw.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

U2 pays tribute to Boyzone singer at U.S. concerts

U2 consecrated part of their latest concerts to Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, who tragically passed away on October 10.
On their stops in Houston and Dallas on their 360 Tour, the Irish rock band paid tribute to the singer, dedicating “Unforgettable Fire” to his memory.
Bono shared with the crowds that the 33 year old Irish boyband star was “a beautiful spirit and a bright flame.”
Gately and the rest of the members of Boyzone famously appeared in U2’s 1998 video for “Sweetest Thing,” in which Bono says sorry to his wife by bringing in the boyband to serenade her.
The video also features cameos by Riverdance and former Irish world boxing champion Steve Collins.

Monday, 12 October 2009

U2 concert at Cowboys Stadium

At the DMN music blog the good folks have scheduled a chat for Tuesday afternoon to rehash U2 concert Monday night's. They'll be going over particular of the previous night's gig and how Cowboys Stadium is working as a concert venue. Start gathering your questions and opinions. I'll join in too as the resident stadium apparencer as well as someone who will be in the seating bowl tonight (the first time as spectator instead of as a journalist).

Sunday, 11 October 2009

A video game wants U2

Rock icons U2 are desperate to follow in the footsteps of The Beatles and Metallica and land their own video game.

Bassist Adam Clayton admits he and his bandmates are impressed with the currently released The Beatles: Rock Band which allows fans to play along to the Fab Four's wonderest hits and they want a piece of the action themselves.
Clayton tells USA Today, "We definitely would like to be in there. I love the idea that that's where people are getting music, and we'd love to be in that world. We'll figure something out. What The Beatles have done, where the animation is much more representative of them, is what we're interested in."

Friday, 9 October 2009

U2 want to follow Beatles by having 'Rock Band' game

U2 may follow in The Beatles' footsteps by having their own edition of the 'Rock Band' video game released, despite initial discussions with the game's makers breaking down.

Bono and co had talks last year with the makers of the game, MTV Games and Electronic Arts, but a deal wasn't agreed because of what bassist Adam Clayton called "compromises" they wouldn't agree to.

Now, since the release of 'The Beatles: Rock Band', Clayton has told USA Today that the U2 game could still be on the way.

"We definitely would like to be in there," he said. "But we felt some of the compromises weren't what we wanted. That could change. I love the idea that that's where people are getting music and we'd love to be in that world. We'll figure something out."

The bassist confirmed that it was seeing The Beatles' game that renewed his enthusiasm for a possible U2 version.

"What The Beatles have done, where the animation is much more representative of them, is what we’re interested in, rather than the one-size-fits-all animation," he said. "We didn't want to be caricatured."

U2's new album: 'We believe in the songs'

U2's 360° Tour is selling out globally, but no lines formed for No Line on the Horizon, an album that has sold 1 million copies in seven months -- shy of the tally that 2004's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb racked up in two weeks.

"We didn't have a hit," Bono says. " 'Get On Your Boots' is going over better and better live, but that spongy funky sound didn't connect with rock radio. If your first single doesn't go off, it can knock the momentum. We believe in the songs and we want people to have them in their hearts and their iPods.

"Missing 2008's fourth quarter hurt sales, which in an era of rampant piracy no longer reflect the music's reach.

"You don't know how far the music travels," says bassist Adam Clayton. "The new songs get a great reaction live. Nobody's yawning or groaning. Releasing it outside that last quarter made it more uphill. Other factors skew the numbers. The record business is collapsing, and radio and the media.

"What's beyond Horizon? A trio of albums, starting with the ambient Songs of Ascent, containing surplus material from Horizon sessions. It may include the buzzed-about "Every Breaking Wave."

"It's a very intimate affair," Bono says. "They are beautiful love songs, where the object of love is not always obvious."

The band also wants to finish its shelved rock album with producer Rick Rubin, and Bono and Edge are wrapping up songs for the Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark musical."

That's a monster album, a wild ride with very big songs," says Bono, who hopes the pair's project will evolve into a U2 album with special guests. "Edge and I knew it had to be dramatic, melodic and character-based. We'd just dream up the maddest stuff. Spider-Man may be the funnest project I've ever been involved with. Never a dull day, never a dark day until a few weeks ago when we woke up to the news that the production company had run out of cash."

Bono asked Canadian promoter Michael Cohl to help get the project on track. Spidey may be delayed but won't be derailed, he says.

Release dates are indefinite.

"The Spider-Man collection is the most developed but the least appropriate to the band," Edge says. "We've got so much material at different stages of completion, it's going to be a nice problem when we've got a few weeks to look at it."

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Their Own Rock Band Game wants U2

The band U2 is interested in their own Rock Band treatment, according to a report on USA Today. Mommented on t5he band's of the bassist Adam Clayton past with music games and how that perception was changed with The Beatles Rock Band. "We obviously would like to be in there, but we felt some compromises weren't what we wanted," he said. "That could change. I love the idea that that's where people are getting music, and we'd love to be in that world. We'll figure something out. What The Beatles have done, where the aliveness is much more representative of them, is what we're interested in, rather than the one-size-fits-all animation. We didn't want to be caricatured."
After Rock Band managed to snag the holy grail of music licenses with The Beatles, many have wondered what other bands could handle an entire game based on their careers. Led Zeppelin and U2 often enter those discussions, and it's good to know at least one of them is interested in it.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Conference finds a little faith in U2

DURHAM -- Ten years ago I heard a band from southern Ohio play U2's "Desire" with an acoustic guitar, a washtub bass and a rack of percussive chimes and shakers. At nearby Cedarville College, the Baptist school I attended, we weren't supposed to think about -- let along sing about -- "the fever when I'm beside her ... desi-eeyi-eeyi-eeyi-eeyer."
Growing up in the evangelical church, I learned suspicion of U2. We all knew they had belonged to a charismatic Christian church back in the '80s and liked to sing about Jesus, but what about Mephisto, Bono's "Dark Lord of Rock" from the "Zooropa" album?
I was a sophomore in 1997 when a senior tried to scalp tickets for the "Pop" tour; I was tempted. Then I heard the song "Wake Up, Dead Man," confirming what I had been told about U2 and other so called "Christian" artists: They were wolves beneath that wolfish face paint, leather pants and dark shades.

Back then, the prevailing wisdom at my alma mater was that U2 was just another "secular" band -- useless, at best, for the important work of saving souls and, at worst, a tool of Satan. Bono didn't actually help his case, what with calling the Risen Lord a "dead man" and all.
As a class officer planning student activities, I tried to book a band from Columbus who played original songs but also covered U2, along with some other bands.
"Are these guys a Christian band, or are these just Christians who have a band?" was the e-mail response I got from an administrator.
Students complained to their professors when a guest lecturer showed a U2 video in a compulsory chapel service.
We have all come a long way since then. As a rule, I am indifferent toward celebrity, and I don't want to lay messianic expectations on Bono any more than I do on our president.
But the man is my hero. He has used his one-of-a-kind voice to tell the world about AIDS in Africa and Third World debt and probably helped to save some souls in the process.
At my church, we often sing along to songs such as "Grace," "One" and "Walk On" modern-day hymns that unearth the human condition and let a little heaven shine in.
More important than my own metamorphosis, though, is the fact that Cedarville -- now a university -- has seen fit to give the biggest-band-in-the-world its own academic conference.

My Kid's First Rock Concert and Mission and U2's Music

Oh no, my eleven year old went to his first rock concert this week! Oh good, it was Bono and U2. That would express the feelings of many parents about their child's introductory rock and roll concert experience. FedEx Field, where the Washington football team plays with much less energy and appeal, was filled with people from bottom to top, in boxes to bleachers, with a sound that seemed to reach every corner of the gigantic stadium, and with lights that inspired admiration and awe.
The stage alone was more than any other contemporary rock band has produced, according to 25 year olds I know, who actually "know" about this stuff. It has been described as a 164-foot high "claw" that loomed over the stadium, to a "cathedral," to a "spaceship" said Bono, "But it isn't going anywhere without you!"
"Mom, how do you know the words to all these songs?" Luke asked Joy Carroll, who has been singing along with this band for its whole 33 year career. U2 roused the huge crowd with its best tunes like "Beautiful Day," "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For;" with the highlight for me coming when Bono began with a solo rendition of "Amazing Grace" that moved right into "Where the Streets Have No Name."
But it was the stunning and extravagant stage, set, and lights of the U2 tour that stole the gig. U2 literally lit up the sky and filled the air over the nation's Capital with a display of sight and sound unlike anything I had ever seen. And in the middle of the show, Joy and I got a light tap on the back, turned around, and lit up ourselves with big smiles as we greeted our long-time friend Willie Williams the man responsible for the amazing grace of all that light. "I heard you were here, and they told me where you were sitting. So I had to come over and just say hi." "This is the person responsible for all the lighting," I told Luke, who could hardly believe this was all happening to him.
And because it was the nation's Capital, the politicos were all on hand. How many concerts feature shout outs to Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Judiciary Chair, Patrick Leahy, (who Bono called the "John Wayne" of Washington), or one to Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick , who were all on hand. "Can you believe it," cried Bono, "A Cardinal at a rock concert!" And we even got to come in on the One Campaign bus with the Cardinal!
"Politics" was indeed part of the concert, not the partisan politics that dominate Washington D.C. (Bono made it a point to praise politicians on "both the left and the right" who have cared about places like Africa, he even dedicated a song to President Bush for increasing foreign aid) - but the moral politics that characterize Bono's clarion call to conscience and action which echoed throughout the evening.
In fact, what I love about a U2 concert, headlined by the Irish tenor with the sun glasses, is how it achieves such a powerful combination of art and social justice, music and message; and all with such fun. The New York Times titled its review of the opening concert in Giants stadium as "Fun With a Mission."
As always on nights with U2, activism for human rights and democracy was lifted up. "Walk On" was dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate under house arrest in Burma/Myanmar. "How long has she been under house arrest," asked Luke. "20 years" I said, and watched the look of concern and indignation on the face of a pre-teenager--at a rock concert. Luke also got to see a short video of a beaming Desmond Tutu, another Nobel Peace Prize winner, talk about "the kind of people" who make a difference in this world, and invited us all to join the One Campaign.
On the way out of the concert, Luke whispered that he had just heard somebody say, "The only thing I don't like about Bono is his political sh*t." Luke asked me what he meant. I said there are some people who don't like the message of Bono and U2, just the music. But it is precisely the incredibly inspiring blend and, dare I say, integration of music, message, and mission that makes U2 not only so compelling; but also so important.
It was a night of mutual affirmation with a band and an adoring audience, their community, who truly seemed to love being together again. It was an evening of joy and justice. The final comment of a first time almost teenager was, of course, "It was awesome," but, unlike most of the moments and venues where this overused affirmation of the younger generation is invoked, this time it was accurate and appropriate. The concert was truly "awesome."

New sod in its wake U2 will leave

An elaborate plan is in place to have a new field ready for play at Carter Finley Stadium one week after U2's concert Saturday night.
N.C. State officials won't be completely at ease, though, until the Oct. 10 football game against Duke ends without problems with the field.
According to athletic director Lee Fowler, concert arrangers have put money in the six figure range in escrow to build a new field after the concert. Of that money, some will be spent on resodding immediately after the concert, with the rest left for work after the season if necessary.

School officials have consulted with experts who have completed similar turf rebuilding efforts after gigs in other stadiums, but they are anxious to see the results.
"I'm still nervous about next week," Fowler said.
The first time N.C. State officials were approached about having U2 play at Carter Finley, they declined, Fowler said. Then they were promised that concert organizers would pay for the resodding.
Concert promoter Live Nation is paying a sum in the six figures to rent the stadium, and N.C. State gets to keep revenue from parking and concessions. Fowler said the show will provide good publicity and exposure for N.C. State.
"If you happen to be in the path of a tour like this where they go from D.C. to Virginia to North Carolina to Georgia, we just happened to be in the path," said Ray Brincefield, assistant athletic director for outdoor facilities. "We decided to do this to boost the economy and put people to work and be able to show off our stadium."
Brincefield said the huge, globelike structure U2 is building and the accompanying stage will cover 70 percent of the field. The contract for the event requires all materials for the show to be out of the stadium within 48 hours of the concert's end late Saturday.
Half the field will be stripped Monday night and resodded Tuesday. The other half will be stripped Tuesday night and resodded Wednesday.
Precision Turf of Atlanta is handling the work.
N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien said he isn't concerned about the condition of the field.
"It's been done before," O'Brien said. "It's been done, I believe, at the Meadowlands (in New Jersey) and other places before. I likely shouldn't be so quick to say no, but I know it's been done in the past and there haven't been problems."
Fowler and Brincefield also are confident because they believe they have a good plan. But they're eager to bring it to a conclusion.
"It's all long talk until it happens and it's successful," Brincefield said. "Then we can relish it. But until then we're all very cautious."

Scott Stadium; U2

“My body’s now a begging bowl,” Bono sang at the end of U2’s two-and-a-half hour gig last night, “that’s begging to get back, begging to get back to my heart, to the rhythm of my soul.” It’s the classic U2 lyric, merging social issues (poverty) and world culture (Third World) with intimacy and personal yearning. And in closing the band’s blow out gig at Scott Stadium, “Moment of Surrender” summed up as well as anything the beauty and contradictions of the world’s longest rock band.
David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” signaled the start of the concert as the much reported on, tentacular set billowed smoke, and with all that it became clear that U2 positions itself now as the Band that Fell to Earth. Prophets from above and within, they project their vision of what ails humanity and what can redeem it from a vast sphere of TV screens. And the effect at times was mesmerizing, vital and fresh. The Edge would be on one side of the circular stage and Bono far off on the catwalk, and yet the screen would merge their well lighted images crisply and with style. (But fans of the rhythm section might have noted that it wasn’t until the ninth song of the 25-song show, “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” that Adam Clayton got his proper due in the live video.) Things turned a bit cheesy when, at the end of “Your Blue Room” astronaut Frank De Winne’s visage filled the screen with a genuine message from outer space. Sometimes, I thought, it’s better to allude to a miracle than to actually point to it. And by the time Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s close up floated hundreds of feet in the air, exhorting the crowd to act nobly and aid the poor, The idea of message with I started to grow uneasy with from revered leaders blasting to stadium crowds that are high on shared energy. Sure, Tutu is right and so is Bono, about how to be a world citizen, but the means of communication and the rapt reception that they counted on fleetingly inspired a rather sinister comparison. But it all came back to the music, in the end, and that is U2’s great trick. Right about the time that the words Bono and megalomania start to harmonize in your head, there’s The Edge, wringing waves of sound from his guitar on the brilliant “City of Blinding Lights” or kicking out the jams in “Vertigo.” With age, Bono, like his hero Frank Sinatra, is flattening the high notes or talking through them. Interestingly, that has the effect of making the band sound even tighter, and highlighting the Edge’s quiet musical passion. Not that Bono is without grounding instincts of his own. Riffing on the fact that U2 was performing at a university campus, he introduced his mates (“roommates,” he actually called them) as classic college types. The Edge, he said, was the Nerd. Drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. was the Captain of the Football Team. Clayton was a Friend to Cheerleaders Everywhere. As for himself, Bono said, he was the College Dropout, still trying to learn something from the other three guys. Later, as the band wound up its second encore, he took it a step further. “Thank you, Larry, Edge and Adam,” he said, “for letting me be in your band.”

Plans for Next Album Take Shape, U2 Beyond the "Horizon"

Go behind the scenes with U2 on their epic 360° Tour in our new issue, on stands now. The blue band with Check out Q&A from our interviews.
On Future Plans
The Edge: We're sort of spoiled for choice right now, because there's a bunch of amazing pieces that we didn't finish from the work we did in Fez, and there's the songs we started with Rick Rubin, some of which are amazing songs that I'd love to get back to at some point. Bono and I also have this Spider-Man [musical] project, which we're very glad about. So there are a lot of things on the stove, and they're all very exciting.
Now that this tour is kind of up and running, I'm actually looking forward to getting into those projects, doing some listening back, seeing where they're all at, seeing which one is likely set to go first. The one thing is we'd love to follow this album up sooner rather than later we'll have over three years i dont think or whatever it was between the last two records. It's hard to say (about a U2 Spider-Man album). There will be a Spider-Man album, but whether it's us or the cast, that's the sort of thing we're not sure about. There are some amazing tunes.
Larry Mullen: I definitely think we should do something good as soon as we possibly can, as opposed to quickly. I'm feeling that it's the unfinished songs from this record that we should be concentrating on. I think there's a part two of this record. That would be my instinct, would be to complete this. I think there is slower, meditative stuff on there, but I think there are other things, as well, and I don't think it will end up being that kind of record. I think it will end up being a mixture of a few different things. I would like to think that we would have a song that would end up on the radio.
Rolling Stone: Did you reconvene with Brian Eno to do any recording?
Larry Mullen: We've talked about it, and how we would do it. He went into the studio to have a listen to some things i think so. We will get back together with him.
RS: Over the break between this year and next?
Larry Mullen: Absolutely, yeah. I'd also like to get back to the (Rick Rubin) sessions. I think there's some actually good stuff there.
Bono: Afew year we certainly don't want to go away. (The next) album is called Songs of Ascent, and it's a very clear idea. If we're going to do another rock record, I want to do Spider Man. I just haven't talked Adam and Larry into that.
I would like to have one of our songs on the pop charts. It's my only rejected (with No Line on the Horizon) People love, love the album it's had rave reviews, not just in the U.S., but all over the world. But I would like a few pop songs on it. So I would like, even on Songs of Ascent, songs that have a shot at that. I would like to come back with a new single in the spring "Every Breaking Wave" was Jimmy Iovine's favorite song, and lots of people got upset when we took that off.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

U2 concert stage being set

The stage isn’t quite set for U2’s reaching in Raleigh, but it’s getting there.
The process of constructing more than 250 people the stage in the center of the football field at North Carolina State University's Carter Finley Stadium, The legendary band will perform in Raleigh for the first time on saturday night.
The 360 degree stage features “The Claw,” a towering, four legged steel structure that holds the speaker system and a cylinndrical video screen over the performance area. A circular ramp will connect the stage to rotating bridges.
The concert on Saturday night is expected to draw 65,000 to 70,000 people. More than 600 event staff will be working the concert, and the Wake County Sheriff’s Office will provide about half the deputies that normally staff a North Carolina State University football game. A security team employed by U2 will handle many of the details for the gig.
To prepare for the event, the sheriff’s office sent a team of deputies to Boston last month to look how the security detail is managed.
The daily costs of the production are an estimated $750,000, and that doesn’t include the stage construction. Truck rentals, transportation and staff wages comprise the majority of that $750,000.
The concert is so long,all the way to Raleigh's Glenwood South it is even spilling. Businessman Niall Hanley, the man behind the Hibernian Irish Pubs in Raleigh and Cary, is holding a pre concert event Thursday at his other major venture, the popular night club Solas. That party will feature U2 cover band “Vertigo.”
“Raleigh has truly arrived,” says Hanley, who, like U2, hails from Ireland. “For a band of U2's caliber to come to Raleigh gigs just how much our city has grown in its reputation as a nice place to live, work and visit.”