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By Dave McKenna, Washington Post

Recent U2 roadshows had the feel of overbudgeted Broadway musicals, where tunes were subservient to pyrotechnics and it was clear that singer, frontman and resident speechifier Bono had to hit the same stage mark at the same point in the same song in every city because the props compelled him to.

The legendary Irish rockers are taking a different tack these days. For its Sunday appearance at Capital One Arena, U2's main stage had only microphones, instruments, band members and enough stomp boxes to make the Edge's guitars as reverb-y and echo-y as expected. There wasn't a confetti cannon or balloon drop anywhere on the premises. Yet from beginning to end of a joyous, two-hour-plus set, less sure seemed like more.

The band ranged far and wide when picking the set list. The only thing off limits this time around was material from "The Joshua Tree," the 1987 multiplatinum monster LP that band members decided has provided too much material to U2 shows for too long. (Plus it got its due just last year on a tour devoted to the album's 30th anniversary.) That pronouncement meant more time for tunes from the band's 14th and latest studio album, 2017's "Songs of Experience," as the set opened with a trio of newish numbers: The somber if overly Coldplayish dirge, "Love Is All We Have Left," the rocky funk of "The Blackout" and fuzzfest "Lights of Home."

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By Jem Aswad, Variety

When a stadium-sized artist does a "club show," they usually play an acoustic-ish set or a scaled-down (i.e. intimate but incomplete) version of their usual headlining concert. Sometimes, they do something special.

For their concert at Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater on Monday night -- presented by and broadcast on SiriusXM -- U2 truly did something special, delivering a unique, carefully curated show, mixing classics and new songs with several deep cuts, including an encore set with the 13-piece Sun Ra Arkestra that featured three rarely played, Harlem-centric songs from their 1988 album "Rattle and Hum." There were none of the dazzling special effects that have become a hallmark of their big-room shows; just lights, a stage, and one of the greatest live rock bands in history at full throttle, roaring through 20 songs from their nearly 40-year catalog.

Last Sunday, May 27, U2 recorded a couple of tunes at Jack White's Third Man Records studio in Nashville, TN.

The songs U2 performed were recorded directly to acetate vinyl for a special forthcoming limited edition single.

Here's their live, stripped-down acoustic take of "Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way" (this was recorded via Facebook Live).

Also, they performed an acoustic version of "Red Flag Day" and here is a snippet below:

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Photo by Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune

By Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune

There was beauty and bombast, tenderness and ham-fistedness, and a tale of "innocence" and "experience." It was the best and sometimes the worst of U2 in an ambitious multi-media show Tuesday, the first of two concerts at the United Center.

The Irish quartet -- Bono, still in fine voice; The Edge and his armada of guitar foot pedals; the rock-ribbed rhythm section of bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. -- isn't phoning it in, even though it just came off the type of tour that is typical of heritage bands with several decades of hits. Last year's 30th anniversary stadium jaunt for its most popular album, "The Joshua Tree," raked in nearly $317 million on three continents.

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By Jason Bracelin, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Star-spangled bullhorn pressed to his lips, his voice boomed as torches blazed.

"This is not America," Bono declared as footage of white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August aired on the football-field-long video screen, displayed with a crispness that captured their anger down to their pores.

"This is America," the U2 frontman said, then pivoted as the scene shifted to an equal rights gathering, the faces changed, the passions similarly palpable.

A couple of numbers later, a three-story America flag was unfurled from the rafters of T-Mobile Arena as Bono brandished his bullhorn once more, this time in the service of "American Soul," a propulsive rallying cry with a bullying bass line and flecks of wah-wah guitar.

During the song's verses, Bono sought to articulate what America means to him.

"It's not a place," he sang. "This country is, to me, a sound."

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By Jon Pareles, The New York Times

TULSA, Okla. -- Love and hope contend with trauma and dread in U2's Experience + Innocence worldwide arena tour, which opened Wednesday night at the BOK Center here. Positive thinking isn't guaranteed to prevail; the state of the world is too unsettled for U2 to make promises. For decades, the band has treated arenas and stadiums as havens of community through shared songs. This time, the singalongs are mixed with warnings and pleas to save an endangered American dream.

Call it ambitious or call it presumptuous, but it's rock that arrives with a sense of mission -- so much so that U2's echoing chords and martial beats have long since become shorthand for earnest idealism in what remains of current rock. Becoming a voice of conscience is a job that few of the long-running rock bands who can still command the arena circuit -- Bruce Springsteen excepted -- are willing to shoulder. But on Wednesday night, U2 got its audience loudly chanting "No more war!" in the middle of "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

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Place Bell employees said the Irish rock group is in town to rehearse eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE show, scheduled to hit the Bell Centre on June 5-6

By Montreal Gazette/PRESSE CANADIENNE

Irish rock group U2 has chosen Quebec, and more specifically Laval, to rehearse for its next international tour, eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE, that kicks off on May 2 in Tulsa, Okla.

Employees at Place Bell in Laval confirmed to Presse Canadienne that the popular group is in town to rehearse the show, which will stop in Montreal for two nights in June.

Several staff members wearing badges with the name of the group were seen. Some were more talkative than others, and none wanted to be identified.

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An artist's rendering of the claw at Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Photo courtesy of LLPA

Largest stage in history heads to Salt Lake City's Loveland Living Planet Aquarium

By Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

In June of 2009, Brent Andersen - the founder and CEO of the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Salt Lake City - headed over to Barcelona, Spain to see U2 kick off their 360° world tour. Long before he even got to his seat at Camp Nou stadium, he caught glimpse of the Claw, the single largest stage ever constructed. "I didn't even want to walk into the stadium," says Andersen. "I was kind of holding up the line because I just wanted to look at it and take it in. I didn't really view it as just simply a functional piece of architecture. For me, it was a dynamic sculpture. It was a work of art."

When the aquarium acquired nine new acres of nearby land for an expansion, Andersen's mind went back to the Claw and an article he read about how the group was selling it. Boston real estate firm Panther Management even launched a website to showcase how it could be used as a permanent concert stage, an exhibition hall, a theme park, a civic plaza or even a biodome. Andersen reached out and struck a deal to acquire the one used on the North American tour. (Another claw was used for the European dates and a third one appears to have been disassembled.) If all goes according to plan, it will be fully in place by June of 2019.

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