"People tell us during our shows we sell very little in the way of hot dogs."
Column: off the record ..., vol. 16-748
November 06, 2016
A bit of news to start, courtesy of Christoph Brunner on Twitter: Bono and The Edge will appear in Eagles Of Death Metal: Nos Amis, an HBO documentary coming early next year about Eagles Of Death Metal and the terrorist attacks in Paris late last year and what happened afterward. Learn more in the HBO news release.
U2 in Columbus, Ohio, next October? It wouldn't surprise me at all.
That scenario popped up totally out of the blue early last week thanks to a concert listing that suddenly showed up on U2's official Facebook page, which was also linked to a public listing on Ticketmaster.com. Needless to say, it caused quite a stir among the online U2 fan community, particularly during the ~2 hours that it was online.
This has happened before -- a random, unannounced U2 show suddenly shows up on Ticketmaster or U2.com or Facebook or wherever. If my memory is correct, sometimes the mystery show became a reality and sometimes it didn't.
I think there are a couple things that could be at play here:
1.) It could be some kind of Live Nation/Ticketmaster system testing or maintenance, and they randomly chose U2, Columbus, that date and venue and then put it all online as if it was a real show, even though it's not.
2.) It could be some kind of Live Nation/Ticketmaster system testing or maintenance, but that's a real U2 show that's on the band's itinerary for next year and will be announced someday in the future.
3.) It could be a real show, and Live Nation/Ticketmaster was actually starting to input tour data into the website to prepare for upcoming ticket sales.
You might think, Why would U2 announce shows that are almost a year away? It's only November and that show is next October! That's true, but keep in mind that, when U2 announced the 2015 Innocence + Experience tour, with shows running from May through November 2015, the announcement happened on December 3, 2014.
We haven't heard any rumors lately one way or another, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's a tour announcement before the holiday season comes to an end. The biggest argument against that, I think, is the band's reluctance to put a tour on sale before they have an album finished. That's happened before and we know they weren't too thrilled with the results.
This is my first turn writing OTR since before U2's most recent live appearance: Dreamfest on October 5. It was a unique show for me to see because it wasn't part of a normal U2 tour, so there was no new material for them to promote. Plus, almost all of the audience was there for secondary reasons -- i.e., they were in the Bay Area primarily for the Dreamforce conference and seeing U2 was something to do as part of that other event.
So U2 made the right call, in my opinion, by playing what was pretty much a greatest hits set. No sense busting out a new song or two that no one's ever heard; heck, I was surprised to hear "California" on a night like that with very few of U2's normal audience in attendance. The crowd was ... ummm ... not great, as you can probably tell by watching some of the videos from that night. (We have four on our YouTube page.) But the thing that still sticks with me a month later about the set U2 played was this: You could make another greatest hits set with the songs U2 didn't play that night. Consider this list of songs that U2 didn't play at Dreamfest, all of which are previous singles and/or longtime concert staples:
1.) Out Of Control
And that doesn't include songs like "Hold Me, Thrill Me...," "Miss Sarajevo," "Discotheque," "Sweetest Thing," "Get On Your Boots," "Ordinary Love" and several others that were either released as singles and/or are well known as part of a movie soundtrack or charity project and so forth. That list there would make a killer U2 concert, if you ask me, and it's the stuff U2 didn't play last month. What an amazing catalog of songs they have to choose from....
Speaking of the Dreamfest show, I was lucky enough to be there as part of my day job -- covering some of the Dreamforce sessions. A few of our crew also won tickets via U2.com, and I also saw friends from U2Songs.com and elsewhere that I hadn't seen in a while, all of which made it even more special. It reminded me of my favorite lyric on Songs Of Innocence: "stolen days you don't give back." That was definitely a "stolen day" for me -- a day filled with great blessings, sudden joys and things/feelings/emotions that you didn't expect. And nope, I'll never give back that day. (Related: A few days ago I started a thread in our forum asking fans for their interpretation of that lyric.)
My wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last week. Her willingness to accept and sometimes embrace both U2 and my U2 fandom -- including the hundreds (thousands?) of hours I've spent on this website over the years -- is a big reason why we're still together after all these years. She deserves sainthood for sure!
She went with me to downtown Los Angeles on March 29, 1987, when we just missed the "Streets" video/rooftop concert by about 20 minutes. She went with me on a 10-hour drive from our home in the California desert to see Zoo TV in Tempe, Arizona, in 1992, and when when we found the actual site of the Joshua tree in the California desert in 1994. She was with me in 2001 when we bumped into Bono at Disneyland ... and I could go on and on and on. Most recently, she's started using some white face lotion before she goes to bed, and it covers her face a la MacPhisto, so she'll sometimes walk around the house before bed with her white face, making MacPhisto-like hand motions and saying, "What a night! What a show! Zooropa ... it's all over." It's hysterical and further proof of how blessed I am to have her.
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.