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Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
World's biggest band bring Joshua Tree tour to Australia for first time, but the music shines brighter without added spectacle

by Ben Smee, The Guardian

It is hard to imagine a time when U2 was not a rock and roll monolith; even harder to recall the last time the band performed their music without the giant screens and props that have for decades turned its concerts into extroverted performance pieces.

The 2019 Joshua Tree tour - the third time U2 has toured the American-inspired 1987 album but the first in Australia - seems to present a romanticised version of the band's various reinventions. The first four songs at the Brisbane opening night of the Australian leg are early-career standards, performed on a small secondary stage with room for just four musicians and a smoke machine.

This is U2 stripped of the sort of pomp that has, in their most overblown moments, managed to relegate the music to the role of circus soundtrack. There is nowhere to look but the stage. Bono even has to resort to analogue stagecraft, looking and pointing to the front row more often than the twinkling lights at the back, engaging directly with punters in a way they likely haven't since the band's first decade.

Without the distraction of a spectacle, the music shines. Who knew stadium rock didn't need constant reinvention? The key ingredients seem to be a bass drum set to the level of a Napoleonic cannon and familiar galloping tunes the crowd can screech into the Suncorp Stadium void.

Bono was just featured on the Cry Power Podcast with Hozier a few days ago. Listen to the full podcast at this link and hear what Bono had to say about the next possible U2 albums (Songs of Ascent as well as a "straightforward f***off rock-and-roll album").

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The U2 frontman has just joined the board of Zipline, a medical delivery drone company that's already saving lives in Ghana and Rwanda.

By Adele Peters, FastCompany.com

On a Tuesday morning, U2 frontman and global philanthropist Bono stood in a remote field near Half Moon Bay, California, and launched a drone in the air, watching as it made a test delivery. Zipline, the eight-year-old Bay Area startup that makes the drones, uses the equipment to make emergency deliveries of life-saving drugs and blood to health clinics and hospitals in Rwanda and Ghana.

For the musician, who just joined the company's board--his first, and only, company board membership--it's the next step in two decades of work outside of his music career. "My story with Zipline actually started 20 years ago," he says, turning to Zipline's CEO, Keller Rinaudo. "How old were you 20 years ago, Keller?"

"I would have been 12," Rinaudo says.

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The shows will mark U2's first shows in Australia in nine years and their first ever gigs in Singapore and South Korea

by Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

U2's Joshua Tree Tour - which celebrated the 30th anniversary of the landmark album in stadiums across Europe and North and South America in 2017 - is headed to Australia and Asia in November and December for an encore run. The shows will mark their first concerts in Australia since 2010 and their first appearances ever in Singapore and South Korea.

"It's only taken me 30 years to learn how to sing these songs and it's great to be able to say that I've finally caught up with the band," Bono said in a statement. "Our audience has given the Joshua Tree a whole new life on this tour. Doing these shows has been very special for us, a lot of emotion... From the despair of how relevant some of the dark songs still are, to the joy, pure fun of the staging... it's quite a ride. And now we get to do it all over again. Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Sydney, Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul... We're coming for you."

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