U2 perform "Desire" in Las Vegas at the iHeartRadio Music Festival (9/23/16)


Top U2 News Stories

by Zach Schonfeld, Newsweek

During the 1980s, U2 became entranced by America. Especially Bono. Though born and raised in Ireland, the singer obsessively mined the United States for lyrical inspiration. His gaze fell frequently on lingering injustice: civil rights struggles, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s murder, greedy televangelists. On Rattle and Hum, the band's messy 1988 sorta-soundtrack, the obsession expanded to include gospel ("Angel of Harlem") and blues ("When Love Comes to Town") and high-profile guest appearances from an older, more settled generation of classic rockers: Bob Dylan, B.B. King, even Jimi Hendrix's ghost (in the form of a "Star Spangled Banner" excerpt).

During the 2010s, Kendrick Lamar chronicled the bruised and broken promises of life in White America on rap albums drenched in jazzy paranoia. On 2015's To Pimp a Butterfly, he set his ruthless critiques to sprawling, sputtering funk-inspired beats. On tracks like "Alright," Lamar nodded to the Black Lives Matter movement and the swell in public attention to police shootings of black men. Butterfly inspired everyone from David Bowie to Kanye West to Barack Obama, who publicly expressed admiration for "How Much a Dollar Cost."

Now it's 2017 and lyrics about racial injustice are still disturbingly relevant and U2 is among that settled generation of classic rockers making high-profile guest appearances. Here's proof: Kendrick Lamar--who was not yet born when The Joshua Tree first came out--has gone ahead and featured U2 on his anticipated and enigmatic new album, DAMN.

Why?

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By Jason Bracelin, Las Vegas Review-Journal

He sings of scaling the highest of mountains from the depths of downtown, his wardrobe as black as the shadowy alley down which he strolls. A flash of Las Vegas police motorcycle headlights illuminates Bono from behind as he ambles forward, his voice and arms rising in unison as a sudden burst of color swallows the darkness like neon jaws clamping shut.

The camera moves in circles and films at an exceptionally slow rate -- six frames per second as opposed to the standard 24 -- creating a swirl of light and sound that visually mimics what's taking place in front of this casino or that, where any boundaries between artist and audience are being similarly blurred.

It's April 12, 1987, and U2 is about to become the biggest band in the world.

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Opinion: Paul McGuinness's insight into bots, touting and band fan clubs was fascinating

by Jim Carroll, Irish Times

Sometimes the answers you're after come from the most unlikely sources. Former U2 manager Paul McGuinness spoke with former Dire Straits manager Ed Bicknell at the International Live Music Conference in London earlier this month. Here were two former high-profile managers chewing the fat over their years in the music business with choice anecdotes for everyone in the audience.

Both McGuinness and Bicknell are astute, experienced players who operated for many years at the very top of the business. They also know that their comments will be circulated beyond the attendance of live music agents and promoters.

Certainly, many ears would have pricked up when the conversation moved to the issue of ticket sales and touting, as McGuinness' former charges U2 have seen sizeable quantities of tickets for their upcoming Joshua Tree tour end up on sites used by touts.

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Latest U2 Concert

Opening Act(s): None

Setlist:

  1. Vertigo - She Loves You
  2. Elevation
  3. I Will Follow
  4. Beautiful Day - Zooropa - Blackbird
  5. California Dreamin' - California (There Is No End to Love)
  6. Angel of Harlem
  7. Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of
  8. Every Breaking Wave
  9. Bullet the Blue Sky - The Star-Spangled Banner
  10. The Hands That Built America - Pride (In the Name of Love)
  11. One - My Sweet Lord
  12. Mother and Child Reunion - Where the Streets Have No Name
  13. With or Without You
  14. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
  15. Encore(s):
  16. "40"

Remarks:

U2 perform at the Dreamfest conference right outside San Francisco (part of Salesforce's annual charity benefit for UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital). The performance is held outdoors and uses U2's old stage setup from 2006's Vertigo stadium legs (only used once in the U.S. at the final show in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 9, 2006). The band rehearsed twice prior to the show, including the night before. A rare full band version of "California (There Is No End to Love)" is performed for only the 7th time in its entirety. U2 played a portion of "Zooropa" right after "Beautiful Day" and dedicated "Every Breaking Wave" to Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs, who died 5 years ago to the day. The biggest moment came when U2 went after GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump in a searing version of "Bullet the Blue Sky". In specially looped videos of Donald Trump, Bono attacks him for trying to hijack the American Dream as a self-serving and destructive business man. This mockery by Bono resembles his "conversation" with George H. W. Bush as "MacPhisto" on U2's ZooTV Tour. Right after "One", U2's scheduled encore was nixed because Bono spoke about charity involving the Red campaign. Much like the Innocence + Experience Tour, U2 performed a similar encore of songs until the final encore of "40". That song ("40") was played in celebration of U2's recent 40th anniversary of being together as a band. Bono said: "It feels kind of like a 40th birthday song".

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