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"[A]ll artists . . . live off faith. You hear a note but have to have the faith that you will hear the next one. Or tell you where to find the next note."

-- Bono

@U2 home page

Column: off the record ..., vol. 16-735

@U2, August 07, 2016
By: Matt McGee


off the record, from @U2

Happy 55th birthday to The Edge! (I had a cake pop in his honor a day early. And I'll have at least one more on Monday to celebrate his actual birthday.)

Nothing says "a new U2 album is on the way" like beach clips. And if you've been a U2 fan since before Songs Of Innocence, you know all about beach clips. It's become a regular rite of passage for each of U2's previous three albums*, from How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb through SOI: At some point before a new U2 album is released, Bono plays some/all of the new songs at volume 11 from his home in Eze. Regular folks on the beach below his house can hear the new music as plain as day and, inevitably, someone makes a recording and puts it online. It's become so predictable that some fans -- myself included -- think Bono does it on purpose, fully aware by now that whatever new songs he plays at really high volume will hit the internet almost right away.

It happened again today when two clips were posted to Instagram, and eventually spread to YouTube, Facebook and everywhere else U2 fans gather online. Once the proverbial cat is out of the bag, you can't really put it back in. But that didn't stop the RIAA/Universal Music from trying -- the two Instagram clips (here and here) and at least one YouTube copy have been removed due to copyright claims. There might be others still online; if so, look hard enough and you should find links to them.

The clips prompted all kinds of discussion amongst fans on Twitter, Facebook, fan forums and elsewhere -- some loved what they heard, some hated what they heard and some weren't ready to draw conclusions. That last group is pretty much where I'm at. In fact, I agree 100% with what Alicia K said on Twitter: "How anyone can form an opinion from these things is beyond me."

I think these clips are a good sign that -- as Aaron Govern guessed in last week's OTR -- we'll be hearing at least some new music in the next couple months as U2 gets ready to play the iHeartRadio Festival and Dreamforce. Seems odd that they'd make commitments like that without bringing some new music along with them.

*It may go back even further; I seem to remember some beach clips hitting the web before All That You Can't Leave Behind, but can't find anything online to confirm that now. And I'm old, so my memory isn't what it used to be.

We're still working hard to get you more information about our plans for the #U240Cleveland event that we're putting on with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. A lot of fans are asking questions about what activities are being planned, what the costs will be and even if we're sure this event is going to happen. On that last count, let me assure you: This event is going to happen. :-)

As far as activities are concerned, I don't mind saying that we and the Rock Hall have some cool ideas, but they're the kind of ideas that take some planning and coordination to make happen. It's not like we can just decide, "Let's do THIS!" and it's a done deal. And we also need to have Plans B and C in place in case Plan A falls through. It may take a while for some of the plans to get confirmed, but know that everyone's doing everything we can to get things announced as soon as possible.

We're also working on our own plans for Saturday evening in Cleveland. Sherry will get mad at me for sharing this now, but we hope this week to sign a contract to rent out a local movie theater to show Rattle And Hum on the big screen. If it happens, this would likely be a separately ticketed event that any U2 fan can attend. Stay tuned; we'll announce details on this as soon as we can.

Everything we know right now about #U240Cleveland can be found on this page in our Events section. And we have a separate page for #U240Dublin with all of those details -- but remember that event's already sold out. Still, we'll be updating both with all of our additional plans as we're able to confirm them.

I mentioned U2's Dreamforce appearance above and want to do so again. You're probably aware that tickets to attend the entire conference are running $1800, and that gets you in to see the charity concert that U2 is doing on October 5th. But it turns out that's not the only way to see the concert. @U2 reader Wilberth D. did some sleuthing online and found, a dedicated website just about the concert. And on that website, you can buy tickets to the concert itself for the low, low price of $1,000. Still a ton of money, especially for what I doubt will be a full 2-hour U2 performance (I'm guessing 60-90 minutes), but if you really need to get in to see this, that's $800 less expensive than buying a full conference pass.

And finally: If you're a talented, professional web designer/developer -- or you know someone who is -- please email me via my staff page, and be sure to tell me about yourself and include any links to your company website or portfolio or something along those lines. Yes, this is @U2-related.

Any opinions expressed in this column are those of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of @U2 as a whole.

(c) @U2, 2016.

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