U2's Manager Tells The Sun All About The Band's Vancouver Tuneup Before Their World Tour

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By Jane Stevenson
Toronto Sun

THERE'S JUST five days to go until Irish rockers U2 launch their Vertigo world tour at the San Diego Sports Arena on Monday night. And long-time band manger Paul McGuinness says the group enjoyed themselves during a week of rehearsals in Canada, at Vancouver's GM Place. Toronto has to wait until September for their four sold-out shows at the Air Canada Centre.

"It's fantastic," said McGuinness, speaking to The Sun in an exclusive Canadian newspaper interview down the line from Vancouver. "We're kind of semi-Canadian ourselves, because we've been working with (Toronto concert promoters) Arthur Fogel and Michael Cohl, so we feel pretty much at home here."

McGuinness said that while a crew moved into GM Place on Feb. 25 to start building the Vertigo stage, the band didn't arrive until last week following their March 14 induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at a ceremony in New York.

"We arrived that same night," said McGuinness, who was scheduled to leave Vancouver tonight. "We flew out of New York on Monday night and we got into Vancouver very early Tuesday morning."

The next thing for U2 singer Bono, guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr., who have been rehearsing in various locales since last December, is dress rehearsals, McGuinness said. They take place at the L.A. Sports Arena tomorrow, Friday and Saturday nights with some radio contest winners in attendance.

But while in Vancouver, he said, the band was pretty much left alone: "It was very quiet. No one bothered us. Canadians are very low-key, they leave you alone."

U2 didn't even get out on the mother of all Irish holidays. "I'm afraid St. Patrick's Day was a normal working day," said McGuinness.

McGuinness, who has been managing U2 for 27 years, ever since they formed in 1978, says Bono and company are looking forward to Monday's launch with equal amounts of excitement and nervousness.

"It's quite nerve-wracking," he said. "I'm not a performer. But for them, I think, they're always quite nervous about a new show. We've had some great shows in the past and people have high expectations of what's going to happen at a U2 concert. Anyone who doesn't feel scared going out and performing in front of 20,000 people would be a little odd anyway, I think. They're kind of sensible about it but like any performer, they get nervous and they want it to go well."

The Internet has been rife with rumours about the new Vertigo production, that it will be similar to the wildly successful Elevation trek when the band performed on a stripped-down stage encased in a heart-shaped catwalk.

McGuinness would only say it's an in-the-round stage at one end of the floor similar to the Elevation setup.

"It is a completely different production, but it shares characteristics with the Elevation production," he said.

As for songs, McGuinness said when you've been recording for 25-plus years, you have a lot to choose from.

"It's very difficult to get the balance right between the new material, which they're very excited about and which is currently on the radio, and on MTV and on MuchMusic, and the songs that people really expect to hear. But they are determined not to become their own kind of tribute band. It's not a greatest hits show. It's very important to us to get the new material into the spotlight, so you can expect most of the new album will feature in the set."

McGuinness said sales of U2's latest album, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, which is closing in on worldwide sales of nine million since its release last November, indicate it's poised to become the group's best-selling album ever.

They also won three Grammys in February for the album's first single, Vertigo.

"It's very unusual, in fact, unique," McGuinness said, "to be having a number one record, selling out a world tour, the week that you're being inducted into the Rock And Roll Of Fame," says McGuinness. "That's normally reserved for venerable, rather older, people."



U2 FAN site Interference posted this set list performed by the band during one of their private rehearsals in Vancouver last week. Band manager Paul McGuinness said it was accurate for that rehearsal, but he stressed that the band is working on a bunch of different set lists. He figures it must have been a fan outside the building "who could tell what the songs were through the steel doors," McGuinness told the Sun. (*Indicates from new album, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb):

- Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own *
- Stuck In A Moment
- Love And Peace Or Else *
- Out Of Control
- City Of Blinding Lights *
- All Because Of You *
- Yahweh *
- Bad
- Beautiful Day
- Pride (In The Name Of Love)
- Where The Streets Have No Name
- Walk On
- Elevation
- One
- I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
- Vertigo *
- Miracle Drug *
- Bullet The Blue Sky
- With Or Without You
- Running To Stand Still


Copyright © 2005, Canoe Inc. All rights reserved.

1 Comment

I'm told "The Egg," according to viewers at the Los Angeles test show, has more space inside than did the Elevation heart.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on March 23, 2005 8:09 AM.

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