July 2011 Archives

U2 Set to Wrap Biggest Concert Tour Ever

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by Ray Waddell, Nashville

Billboard.com

U2 will perform the 110th and final show of its monster U2 360 Tour Saturday (July 30) in Moncton, New Brunswick, wrapping up not only epic technological and musical achievements, but also going into the history books as the biggest tour ever.

When the final numbers are tallied, U2 360 will record a gross of $736,137,344 and total attendance of 7,268,430, Billboard.com has learned, both the highest tour tallies ever reported to Billboard. U2 broke the Rolling Stones' previous gross record of $558 million on April 10 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as first reported on Billboard.com April 8.

The success of 360 is a testament not only to the enduring global appeal of the band, but also its ground-breaking -- and risky -- 360-degree production, which increased the capacities of stadiums by as much as 25%.

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Davis Guggenheim with The Edge in 2009

Davis Guggenheim's 'From the Sky Down', a film chronicling the story of the rock band U2 will open the Toronto Film Festival in September.

The Telegraph

The film was made by An Inconvenient Truth director Davis Guggenheim and marks the first time in its 36-year history that the Toronto festival has opened with a documentary.

"This powerful marriage of music and film honors U2's talent, dedication and music," said festival co-director Cameron Bailey. "Guggenheim's extraordinary access really speaks to the continued importance of the documentary form."

Guggenheim says, "U2 has defied the gravitational pull towards destruction, this band has endured and thrived," and his film "asks the question why."

U2 here is still larger than life

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Concert Review

By Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

When you travel with a stage that rises 168 feet in the sky and looks like a space invader from "War of the Worlds," you risk making the performers themselves seem, well, tiny.

Unless, of course, you have a Bono handy.

Despite standing less than 5 feet 9, the 51-year-old U2 singer has a mighty big presence, which cast its shadow for the first time Tuesday night in the Steelers' house, Heinz Field.

Pittsburghers have been on the sidelines hearing about this record-breaking, $700-million-grossing "360 World Tour" now since the spring of 2009, and we managed to squeeze in there on the last week as the penultimate show (it ends Saturday in Moncton, Canada).

Having gone through the paces through 60 shows over three years, U2 might be burned out on this 360 number and ready to move on to the next album cycle, but it didn't show as the band barrels to the finish line.

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By Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

U2 is renowned for its outreach work in underprivileged countries, but don't discount what the band is doing for local economies across North America.

The Irish rock band's 360 Tour, which touches down at Heinz Field tonight, is the highest-grossing tour of all time with a massive steel structure -- dubbed "The Claw" -- that takes more than four days to construct and requires 136 touring crew members and 120 local stagehands.

Pittsburgh is the penultimate stop on this run, which began in 2009 and has topped the Rolling Stones' Bigger Bang Tour, with ticket sales expected to top $700 million and fans numbering more than 7 million.

"We have set building records in over 60 buildings," tour director Craig Evans said in a media tour Monday. "So that in itself is incredible. This band is by far the biggest band touring the world today, and you need to satisfy the biggest number of fans to come see it. U2, as great as they are live, are even greater when they are playing to all sides and the excitement and electricity is coming from all angles. It makes for a really special experience."

Stuck in these U2 moments

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Article by Jon Bream and Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune staff writers

These were the most unforgettable sights and sounds of Saturday's wow-inducing show at TCF Bank Stadium.

As the battalion of roadies broke down the mammoth "Claw" stage late Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium, we similarly cleared our minds about what we'd just witnessed. The sensory overload that was U2's 360° Tour left us with these lasting impressions of what was unquestionably one of the most memorable rock concerts in Twin Cities history.

Singin' in the rain
Bono has been compared to Dylan, Springsteen, the Pope. Add Gene Kelly to the list. Toting a U.S. flag umbrella, he relished singin' in the rain. He and the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. were undaunted by the downpour, which gave the nearly 60,000 soaked fans a glorious feeling.

(Note from our electrician: The Edge and Clayton wouldn't get electrocuted with 12-volt batteries on their wireless guitars, but there was a concern about the electric pickups on those instruments getting wet.)

U2's success moves in mysterious ways

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By Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If the music industry were a game, U2 would have a royal flush, own Boardwalk and Park Place and -- if you'll pardon the militaristic imagery -- would be sinking everyone else's battleships.

Thirty-five years after forming in Dublin, U2, which plays the penultimate show on its 360° World Tour at Heinz Field Tuesday, can make a case for being the most popular, most universally loved band in the world.

It has sold more than 150 million albums (seventh all time among rock bands) and has won more Grammy awards than any other band (22), and this year 360 surpassed the Rolling Stones' Bigger Bang tour as the highest-grossing concert tour of all time.

Two-and-a-half hour set featured deep cuts and a Clarence Clemons tribute

By Matthew Perpetua, Rolling Stone

U2 entered the home stretch of their two-year-long 360° Tour last night at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where the quartet delivered a generous career-spanning set with an emphasis on selections from the Nineties.

Throughout the tour, U2 have fixated on different periods in their discography - early on, they went heavy on material from The Unforgettable Fire, and in the middle of the jaunt, they would play up to five songs per night from 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind. In recent weeks, they've leaned hard on Achtung Baby and Zooropa, inspired in part by the 20th anniversary of the sessions in Berlin that yielded both records. (It doesn't hurt that an expanded edition of the former album is due to hit shops later this year.) They kicked off the two-and-a-half hour gig with four consecutive songs from Achtung Baby, each sounding as vibrant, stylish and dynamic as they did two decades ago. "The Fly" was particularly lively, with Bono joining the Edge on guitar to add an extra layer of trebly distortion to the abrasive rocker.

Sights set on U2 stage construction

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Work continues in preparation for July 30 show at Magnetic Hill

By Craig Babstock, Times & Transcript Staff

With work crews finishing the grandstand seating at the Magnetic Hill concert site over the next day or so, attention will soon turn to building the massive U2 stage.

For anyone who has seen the band on its 360? Tour in support of 2009's No Line on the Horizon album, or seen photos from the shows, U2 performs under what looks like a massive claw.

According to information provided by the promoter, the stage includes a cylindrical video system of interlocking LED panels, and a steel structure rising 150 feet from the floor over a massive stage with rotating bridges. Long-time U2 show director Willie Williams and architect Mark Fisher, who have worked on the band's previous ZooTV, PopMart, Elevation and Vertigo tours over the last 20 years, have combined to create a 360? design, which affords an unobstructed view for the audience.

Guitarist defends the band's business practices in letter to 'Baltimore Sun'

By Matthew Perpetua, Rolling Stone

The Edge has shot down allegations that U2 have been engaging in tax evasion in a letter to the Baltimore Sun. The guitarist was responding to a letter to the paper by a federal employee named Simon Maroney published on July 7th which attacked frontman Bono's ONE campaign and accused the band of moving their business to a tax haven in Holland in order to avoid strict tax rates in their native Ireland.

According to the Edge, Maroney's "contains so many inaccuracies that it is pointless to correct them all." Nevertheless, the guitarist insisted that "U2 and the individual band members have a totally clean record with every jurisdiction to which they are required to pay tax and have never been and will never be involved in tax evasion."

The Edge defended U2's business in Holland by citing an interview with Owen Durgan of Ireland's Ministry of Finance in the March 2009 issue of Spin in which Durgan explained that he "wouldn't make an issue" out of it. "People complained at the time," Durgan said. "But we have companies moving here from the rest of the EU, so it all evens out."

Copyright © 2011 Rolling Stone

U2: Turn off the decline

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Graphic by Raffi Anderian, The Toronto Star

Ben Rayner, Toronto Star

Let's get one thing straight here before we go any further: I don't hate U2.

There was once a time, in fact, when the Irish quartet ranked up there with my favourite bands. I was fully obsessed as a kid. Practically wore out my cassette copies of War and The Unforgettable Fire, loved The Joshua Tree as much as everyone else, was still right there along with the band through the spellbinding experimentation of Achtung Baby and Zooropa. And then, suddenly, U2 lost its way.

Pop was the turning point, not just because that oft-maligned 1997 album was the first truly weak entry in the U2 catalogue but because it marked the beginning of U2 pulling its punches. After the electronically enhanced excursions of Zooropa, the band crowed long and loud about making a full-tilt dance record the next time out, enlisting such electro-savvy chaps as Flood, Howie B. and Nellee Hooper to bring those aspirations to life. Yet the work that eventually surfaced from those sessions sounded every bit like the "compromise project" guitarist the Edge would later call it; it sounded like a record by a group that had gotten cold feet midway through the recording process and then hastily backtracked to behaving more recognizably like itself out of fear of alienating its audience.

Concert review: U2 at Soldier Field

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By Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune

Bono was reminiscing about the good old days of U2, circa 1997, with 63,000-plus co-celebrants Tuesday at sold-out Soldier Field.

On the '97 stadium tour, Bono suggested, U2 was "experimenting and taking risks," which is a pretty accurate summation of a big show that strived for intimacy and surprise, sometimes to its own detriment. Lukewarm reviews and a mixed response from its fan base prompted the Irish quartet to adopt a more cautious approach on subsequent tours and albums, a pattern that held true Tuesday.

Usually on the second jaunt through town on a big tour - U2 opened its current 360 tour in North America at Soldier Field in 2009 - the band opens up a bit and lets spontaneity jostle against all the gadgets and technology. But this year's model isn't just any old U2 tour - it is gigantic by design, from its four-pronged, 167-foot-tall stage-cum-"space station" to its projected record-setting revenue of about $700 million.

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By Louise Hogan, Irish Independent

U2 BASSIST Adam Clayton left the limelight on stage during the band's 360 Tour of the US to bask in the glow of a mystery brunette.

The enigmatic and normally reticent member of the rock band took a brief break from their gruelling tour schedule to relax on a lounger on a beach in Miami with a tanned, dark-haired lady.

The 51-year-old and his friend attracted little attention as they smiled, joked and shared a kiss under the beach umbrella.

Cuban dissident Oscar Elias Biscet says the praise from Bono at a Miami South Florida concert was for the Cuban people overall.

By Juan O. Tamayo, The Miami Herald

Cuba's leading dissident, Oscar Elias Biscet, said he "was shaking with happiness" as he learned Thursday that rock star and social activist Bono had sung his praises during a jam-packed U2 concert in Miami.

The 73,000-strong audience at the Sun Life stadium roared with delight Wednesday when Bono urged support for the 49-year-old Biscet and declared that "some day soon Cuba will be free."

"As you read me what he said, I was shaking with happiness because it showed it's good when one is chosen as a symbol of his people," Biscet told El Nuevo Herald, which first told him of Bono's comments.

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