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by Mesfin Fekadu, AP Music Writer

For more than three decades, U2's beloved tour manager, Dennis Sheehan, kept the band running on time. Sheehan died early Wednesday, just a few hours after U2 kicked off its latest tour. But promoters vowed the shows would go on in his memory, and they'd be on schedule.

"Dennis always got the band on stage, pretty much on time. We're going to make sure we do that tonight, in his memory," Live Nation's Arthur Fogel said Wednesday. "It is absolutely what he would have wanted."

Sheehan, in his late 60s, died at a Sunset Strip hotel in West Hollywood on Wednesday, a day after the band kicked off a five-night stint in the Los Angeles area.

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While the Stones are happy to trade on a back catalogue largely compiled 40 years ago, the Irish rockers are pushing new material to prove their relevance

by Scott Christian, The Guardian

For those whose stores of musical nostalgia and classic rock band decadence are running on fumes, this summer's concert season should be a welcome restorative. Last week U2 launched their iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour at Vancouver's Rogers Arena in support of their latest album and iTunes Trojan horse, Songs of Innocence.

On 24 May, the Rolling Stones will land in San Diego to kick off their own North American tour. Titled the Zip Code tour, it's ostensibly a way to support their 9 June re-release of 1971's Sticky Fingers. That both bands are again battling for world tour supremacy is nothing new, but despite any similarities, the driving motivation behind each of these tours is remarkably different.

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Memories and megascreens: the band breaks down their arena takeover from the ceiling to the set lists

By Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

It's about 25 hours before U2 kick off their Innocence + Experience tour at Vancouver's Rogers Arena and Bono is sitting on a plush couch in a backstage lounge near the Edge. He's fiddling with a laptop and looking at a CDR recorded at a recent tour rehearsal. Right outside the door, walkie talkie-wielding tour personnel frantically run about as they prepare for the big night, but Bono seems completely relaxed. Adam Clayton walks in, hands him a cup of tea and then vanishes. We're instructed to sit between Bono and the Edge, knowing their schedule is insanely tight and they only have 20 minutes to chat.

We have 21 questions prepared, but since Bono isn't a man known for his brevity, we only manage to ask about eight. But the band manages to cover a lot of ground - even if we don't get to discuss the status of Songs of Experience or see if they're finally willing to cave and perform super rarities "Acrobat" and "Drowning Man" at some point on the tour.

U2 tour review: Seeing is disbelieving

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Jon Swartz, USA TODAY

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A U2 show comes with heightened expectations and an almost euphoric anticipation for a cultural touchstone. It's an impossibly high bar to meet.

For more than two hours last night, the seminal Irish rock band did just that.

A blistering start and finish book-ended a tech-tinged show that is bombastic, brilliantly absurd arena rock.

U2 kicked off its U.S. leg of the Innocence & Experience tour under vexing circumstances: a physically damaged lead singer and a record, Songs of Innocence, that sparked a backlash after it was distributed for free to 500 million people via iTunes in September. (U2 is working on a new album, Songs of Experience.)

From those setbacks, the venerable band saw the opportunity to turn uncertainty into a platform to redefine its place in rock 'n' roll's pantheon.

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Eight ways in which U2 changed things up for night two of the 'Innocence + Experience' tour

by Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

U2's Innocence + Experience tour nearly came to an extremely premature end at the end of opening night when the Edge took a nasty tumble into the audience, and on the second consecutive show at Vancouver's Rogers Arena Bono joined the many people on the Internet today cracking jokes about the incident. "Somebody said that the Edge had downloaded himself into the audience without asking permission," he said. "I thought that was great."

Considering this was only the second show of a tour utilizing an incredibly complex stage and a ton of brand new songs, the group could have easily played it safe by replicating opening night, but they opted to mix it up. Here's eight ways in which it differed.

They Honored B.B. King. It was a given that U2 would find a way to honor the blues legend since they recorded and toured together in the 1980s, becoming close friends in the process. It came fifteen songs in when they moved to the B stage. "This is a very special occasion for anyone who loves the blues," Bono told the crowd. "For this is the day that the world got to say goodbye to the great B.B. King. That is a special occasion indeed." They then played "When Loves Come To Town" for the first time in 23 years. Hearing the tune with Bono covering all of King's lines was a sad reminder that B.B. truly is gone. "Wow," Bono said at the end. "The thrill will never be gone."

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Vancouver 'Innocence + Experience' kick-off mixes hits with classics and showcases the band's stunning new stage

by Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

It was about 10 minutes past 8:00 p.m. when the lights dimmed at Vancouver's Rogers Arena and "Beat on the Brat" by the Ramones began blaring out of U2's massive sound system, kicking off the group's long-awaited Innocence + Experience Tour. As the band took the stage to a deafening roar from the sold-out crowd, they launched into "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)" under a single light bulb suspended from the ceiling, meant to evoke Bono's childhood bedroom.

The group that took a 29,000-square-foot stage known as the Spaceship around the globe on their last tour was now moving forward by going all the way back to where it began. They were honoring the music that first inspired them to pick up instruments, as well as the physical space where that happened. To drive the point home further, the song transitioned directly into "Out of Control," U2's debut single from 1980. "We're a band from the north side of Dublin called U2," Bono told the crowd, as if he'd traveled back in time. "This is our first single. Take it, the Edge." Not a single screen was activated, giving the crowd at the front of the general admission floor the sensation of seeing the band at tiny club in Dublin 35 years ago.

by Jessica Goodman, The Huffington Post

Too. Many. Jokes. (But we'll try to refrain.) U2 guitarist The Edge fell off, uh, the edge of the stage during the first show of the band's Innocence and Experience tour on Thursday night in Vancouver.

The Edge -- aka Dave Evans -- was just walking along, playing the final song of the set, the classic "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," when suddenly, he wasn't on the stage anymore. Bono kept singing.

Fans caught footage of the incident:

Evans later posted a photo to U2's Instagram, showing his battle wounds:

"Didn't see the edge, I'm ok!! #U2ieTour

A photo posted by U2 Official (@u2) on

Copyright © 2015 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

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A SLUMBERING giant awoke last night near the snow-capped Grouse Mountains in Canada.

by Barry Egan in Vancouver at U2, Irish Independent

Or to put it another way, U2 came back to the world stage last night in front of 20,000 fans at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

It was not quite the return of four all-conquering superheroes but more like four men who have been through the wars before coming out the other side... with a brilliant new album that got denigrated.

The brilliance of the current Songs of Innocence album was obscured by the PR disaster that was the iTunes download debacle.
"Divisive" wouldn't begin to describe it.

So U2 had a lot to prove last night.

Fail on this tour and U2 would be looking at a fatal loss of relevancy.

So no pressure, then.

Would Bono - after his dreadful accident in Central Park last November - be able to cut it as a performer?

No longer jumping Jack Flash - more limping hack trash. No longer the young Dub who jumped down off the stage at Live Aid during Bad ... now a battered 55 year old man held together by surgical pins, like a rock-star Frankenstein.

The answer to most of the above questions is, mercifully, that U2 - on the basis of what they did onstage last night in Canada - have no worries about the future.

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Patrick Stark could wrap six-year journey Friday night

by Francois Marchand, Vancouver Sun

If all goes according to plan, Patrick Stark will face his biggest fear Friday night and conquer it.

The 47-year-old filmmaker and father of two is slated to join U2 on stage to complete a six-year-long documentary project that began at the Irish band's last visit in Vancouver in 2009, when he sang at a pre-show event he set up near BC Place, hoping to attract their attention.

His idea was to confront his biggest fear -- singing on stage in public -- in one of the most intimidating settings possible. The end game was to sign with the band itself, on their stage.

Crazy? Yes. Absolutely bonkers.

In fact, Stark has since been told by several U2 associates it would never happen.

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