"[I]t's quite important that, if your audience is wrapping you, dressing you in the clothes of morality, you take them off. Because that's not the job of the artist.
Bits & Bytes
A collection of the latest U2 news and announcements posted by our staff.
It's official: U2 are confirmed to perform on Saturday Night Live two weeks from tonight -- Saturday, Dec. 2 -- per a tweet from the program's official account. Hosted by Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, it's bound to be a special night.
It's too late to get tickets for the show, but the dedicated may choose to try for a stand-by place at either the dress rehearsal or the show. Information on that can be found here.
On Friday, Nov. 17, a collective of about three dozen fans from around the world, several of whom work for U2 fan sites, contacted U2 and their management to present the concerns many fans have expressed since the Experience + Innocence tour pre-sales started last Tuesday.
With nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for the members of U2, we have complete faith that the band will help correct the situation.
In anticipation of this communication, U2 manager Guy Oseary shared this statement and invited us to post it online for fans to read:
"I'm a U2 fan first, their manager second..
I always consider the fan experience in everything we do...
That's why I'm disappointed to hear from some of our U2.com subscribers about trouble they've had getting tickets in this week's presales..
In previous ticketing sales too many tickets got scooped up by bots or scalpers so this time, for the first time, we've been working with the Verified Fan system - to make sure that genuine fans get the tickets. For the majority of subscribers it's worked cleanly and simply, they got the tickets they wanted in the presales. But every fan club member matters to us... and it's frustrating to hear that this process has been un-satisfactory for some.
We are looking into this very closely with the team and working on solutions where we can. We will keep you posted."
A fourth track from Songs Of Experience is now available on digital music stores and streaming services. "American Soul" is available for purchase on iTunes Music Stores around the world. It's also available for streaming on Spotify and other services.
The track runs 4:22 and begins with spoken-word lyrics by rapper Kendrick Lamar -- a continuation of his rap at the end of "Get Out Of Your Own Way," the song that precedes "American Soul" on the album. Later, "American Soul" offers a familiar chorus: "You are rock 'n' roll / You and I are rock 'n' roll," Bono sings, with the same music and melody as "Volcano" from Songs Of Innocence. It's not the only new song that refers back to Songs Of Innocence so obviously; we're told that "13," the final track on SOE, is a reprise of SOI's "Song For Someone." (Note that William Blake had similar connections in the poems that he wrote for his Songs Of Innocence And Of Experience collection.)
U2's tours have had a pretty good streak of winning at the annual Billboard Touring Awards. That continued this week, with The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 winning for "Top Boxscore" -- the award is specifically for U2's shows at the Stade de France near Paris on July 25-26, 2017.
But U2 missed out on two other BTAs this year -- Top Tour and Top Draw. Those honors both went to Guns N' Roses' "Not In This Lifetime Tour."
U2 previously won Top Tour and Top Draw in 2005, 2010 and 2011. The band picked up Top Boxscore in 2005 and 2009 for its shows at Croke Park in Dublin on the Vertigo and 360 tours, respectively.
You can see the full list of winners on Billboard.com.
In December, U2 will become the fifth artists featured on the At the BBC series on BBC One with an exclusive one-hour program, U2 At the BBC. The series began two years ago with Adele and has since highlighted Michael Buble, Sam Smith and Harry Styles.
The U2 installment will be presented by Cat Deeley and share backstage footage from Brazil, where the band performed their final shows of The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 tour. In addition, the program will feature interviews with the band and special performances of new tracks from Songs Of Experience, as well as old favorites, recorded at the iconic Abbey Road Studios in London.
We'll post an update when a specific airdate/time is announced.
U2 performed to 7,000 people in London's Trafalgar Square as part of MTV Europe's Pre-EMA Party to celebrate the awards ceremony on Sunday night. The 2017 Global Icon Award winners treated the crowd to a 45-minute greatest hits style set with two new Songs Of Experience tracks in the middle: "Get Out Of Your Own Way" and "You're The Best Thing About Me." The set ended with a reprise of "Get Out Of Your Own Way" complete with a variety of protest signs given to the audience for the MTV cameras to film. Some signs included ZooTV phrases like "Everything You Know Is Wrong," "Call Your Mother," and "Every Artist Is A Cannibal."
The set began with "Sunday Bloody Sunday." During it, Bono said, "What do we got for Manchester? What do you got for Mogadishu? What do you got for Myanmar? A message of hope...a message of hope." Earlier today, U2 released a statement regarding Myanmar's refugee crisis with the Rohingya people and Aung San Suu Kyi's silence on it; encouraging fans to support Amnesty International's action to stop the ethnic cleansing in the region.
Portions of tonight's Pre-EMA party will be part of the MTV EMA broadcast tomorrow, Nov. 12. The awards show will broadcast live at 8pm (local) in London and across Europe. It will air in the US and Canada live on MTV starting at 3pm Eastern.