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"What [Bono] said was very interesting about debt relief. It's an important cause. But I really wish I had a ticket to his concert tonight."

-- a fan, 2001

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Bits & Bytes

A collection of the latest U2 news and announcements posted by our staff.

Bono and Bill Gates: It's urgent to combat poverty and diseases

Posted: February 23, 2017
By: Fernanda Bottini

Last week, we reported about Bono's speech at The Munich Security Conference. At that time, he and Bill Gates gathered to launch a message: Global health security and the reduction of inequality in the world are as important and useful weapons as others. Investing in them should be a priority.

In a conversation with the Spanish newspaper El País, they both remembered about the time they met for the first time and started working together. "We’ve made great advances in 15 years," said Gates. "And assuming that the generosity remains strong, we’ll have another very good 15 years in the future, because science will allow us," he continued.

Bono mentioned the Bill and Melinda annual letter. "It's literally the best news in the world. It's incredible: 122 million children have been saved since 1990. It's crazy: I think they are over 13,000 a day, something like that. It's a tremendous thing," he said. "And, if your life does not seem useful, getting involved in a movement like ONE gives you a great feeling of doing something, because you really have an impact. So I would say 'join, participate' because it really works."

Here are more highlights from this interview with Bono:

And there is no longer anyone in Europe who thinks that what is happening in North Africa is irrelevant. Five years ago, it was easy to think "I do not care, it's far", but now we know how close the continent is and I think that has given priority to our work, which makes the Gates Foundation in relation to health, agricultural improvements, and ours, that is to encourage politicians who are willing to do things right.

There is nothing worse than a space without a government; in chaos, radicalism imposes itself. We must begin to look at Africa in another way. There is risk, but it is a great opportunity. We have seen what has happened when Syria, a country of 22 million, falls into oblivion... Can you imagine a country 10 times bigger? That's Nigeria. It is a stated goal of Boko Haram that Nigeria fail.

The idea behind this global pact for Africa is that by having prosperous states, people will not want to leave their country. Last year I visited refugee camps in four countries. The big topic of common conversation was "we want to go home." They do not want to get on a boat to cross the sea. You have to get close to people, go where they are and help them move forward and prosper.

I think Americans become more patriotic when they talk about what their government is doing to fight HIV/AIDS. They feel very proud, and this is the greatest health intervention in the history of medicine. And it was a conservative who headed it, President Bush. I was in the Oval Office and I said: “These pills... You can paint them red, white and blue, Mr. President, and they will be the best advertising in the United States that you can ever get.” And he laughed, but he carried the project forward, and in fact, the opinion in favor of the United States is really high in Africa. I think that maintaining that relationship could be not only a moral imperative, but also a strategic one.

We know that globalization has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. And it has been good for the economy in general, but not for everyone. And I think that capitalism is a kind of beast and must receive orders on how to behave. We cannot let him tell us what we have to do. And I think that's what's happening. There is a reboot, and this is a brief moment. We will return to a time when people trust each other. People talk about post-modernity, postmodernism... We could be in postconfidence and I think that rebuilding it is going to be very important.

 

LISTEN: @U2 Podcast #52: B-Side: Discussing Adam's Joshua Tree Setlist

Posted: February 20, 2017
By: Matt McGee

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We could've called this one "Adam's such a tease!" Our latest podcast b-side offers a quick discussion about that setlist (?) photo Adam posted on all of U2's social media channels last week. Was it on purpose? Why was it cut off on Instagram? Was it really only 14 songs? That and more in just 10 minutes with Tassoula E. Kokkoris, host Chris Enns and myself. Enjoy!

If you've subscribed to the podcast via iTunes or your favorite RSS reader, you'll get the download automatically. You can also listen on the web:

@U2 Podcast #52: B-Side: Discussing Adam's Joshua Tree Setlist

We have a couple hashtags you can use to contribute to the podcast going forward:

  • #askatu2 -- if you have a response to something you hear on the podcast, or just want to ask a question or suggest future topics
  • #atu2podcast -- send a photo of yourself listening to the podcast

Thanks again for listening!

 

MOJO: U2 back at Electric Lady Studios next month with Steve Lillywhite

Posted: February 18, 2017
By: Matt McGee

MOJO magazine cover, April 2017

U2 will return to Electric Lady Studios next month to continue work on Songs Of Experience with Steve Lillywhite producing. That's according to an article in the new issue (April 2017 on the cover) of MOJO magazine. (We've already reported on the magazine's news that U2 will soon release an updated version of "Red Hill Mining Town" to support The Joshua Tree Tour 2017.)

A separate article, titled "Blake Expectations," offers more detail on U2's album plans than we've seen in quite a while. Author Tom Doyle writes:

U2 have been re-rehearsing the tracks for Songs Of Experience, with a view to cutting some of them again live at Electric Lady Studios in New York in March with Steve Lillywhite.

The article touches on the band's previous comments about wanting to rethink some things after last year's political changes in the U.S. and Europe. "I've been writing and changing things a little bit," Bono says. "Just tinkering. Edge, too." Edge offers a little more detail: "A couple of tunes may get lyric updates, and we might even write a new song or two."

But Adam goes beyond the political climate as the reason for not releasing Songs Of Experience yet, and offers some musical reasons, too:

"There wasn't clarity to some of the mixes [on SOI] and we needed to be a little bit more inventive sonically. I mean, that record, when we performed it live, the songs became very, very masculine and very tough and we didn't really capture that on the record. So again one of the reasons why we're trying to slow this down a bit is we really want to get the mixes right. We don't want a soup. We want a consommé."

Adam says U2 is "at the 85 percent mark" of being finished, and has about 15-16 songs that need to be cut down to 12 for the new album.

Bono mentions a new song, "The Showman," and says it's his favorite at the moment. "It's like something from Rubber Soul," he says. "It's about singers. It's not me." He quotes a few lyrics in the article:

The showman give you front row to his heart
The shaman prays that his heartache will chart
Making a spectacle of falling apart
Is the heart of the show

Other songs mentioned as likely for the new album are "The Best Thing About You Is Me," [Ed. note: That's how the magazine has it, but I think the "you" and "me" references should be reversed.] "The Little Things That Give You Away," "Red Flag Day" and "Summer Of Love." That last one is a new title that Bono describes as "achingly beautiful and empty." He says it and "Red Flag Day" both reference the refugee crisis in Europe.

MOJO's article reports that U2 is planning to release Songs Of Experience in the "latter half of 2017," and the Innocence + Experience tour will resume in spring 2018.

The new issue of MOJO is hitting UK stores this weekend. You can also order a single copy online.

 

MOJO: U2 to release new version of Red Hill Mining Town

Posted: February 17, 2017
By: Matt McGee

MOJO magazine cover, April 2017

U2 will release an updated version of "Red Hill Mining Town" to support the upcoming Joshua Tree Tour 2017, according to the newest issue of MOJO magazine.

The magazine features a lengthy interview with all four band members about the tour and their memories of the time when The Joshua Tree was recorded and released. Near the end of the article is this paragraph:

"Which explains why, for a brand new mix of Red Hill Mining Town helmed by Steve Lillywhite and earmarked for an upcoming release, Bono has gone back to the master and re-recorded his vocal. 'We've also brought out the colliery brass band which was recorded at the time,' says the singer. 'You can't hear it in the original mix.'"

The article has no other details about the upcoming release -- no date is given, etc.

U2's former manager, Paul McGuinness, along with Joshua Tree producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois were also interviewed for the feature. It's all in the April 2017 issue of MOJO, which is hitting UK newsstands in the next few days. U2 is on the cover -- the same photo as on the cover of The Joshua Tree. Also included is a U2-themed "Desert Songs" CD, but it doesn't include any U2 tracks.

 

Bono at the Munich Security Conference

Posted: February 17, 2017
By: Tassoula E. Kokkoris

Bono was a featured guest at today's Munich Security Conference.

In an article he authored for The Independent, the U2 frontman warned we could "face another humanitarian crises like Syria" if the developed world doesn't provide "education, employment and empowerment opportunities," for areas at risk. Read the full piece here.

He also delivered a speech, which you can watch in its entirety below. 

 

LISTEN: @U2 Podcast #51 — My Dog Doesn't Know if We're in Love with Defeat (A Discussion of Songs Of Innocence)

Posted: February 16, 2017
By: Tassoula E. Kokkoris

podcast2015-rect

It's the (temporary) end of a musical journey—we've now discussed each and every of U2's studio albums on the show. On this episode, Matt, Jill and Tassoula talk about Songs Of Innocence with host Chris Enns. Tune in and you might wake up at the moment where the miracle occurs. Even if you were Raised By Wolves, you're likely to nod along in agreement with the team's opinions—or erupt like a Volcano in opposition. (And no, Sherry didn't write this pun-filled intro ... but she could have!)

If you've subscribed to the podcast via iTunes or your favorite RSS reader, you'll get the download automatically. You can also listen on the web:

@U2 Podcast #51: My Dog Doesn't Know if We're in Love with Defeat (A Discussion of Songs Of Innocence)

We have a couple hashtags you can use to contribute to the podcast going forward:

  • #askatu2 -- if you have a response to something you hear on the podcast, or just want to ask a question or suggest future topics
  • #atu2podcast -- send a photo of yourself listening to the podcast

Thanks again for listening!

 

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@U2 Tours
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March 4 2017

Unforgettable Fire Tribute Band Performance

Tonight in Cromwell

March 12 2017

05:00 PM - 02:00 AM - Celebration of U2's Joshua Tree with Daniel Lanois

Tonight in Toronto

Full Calendar