"If you look at music as emotion, then I think you'll connect us to the ballad tradition, to the wailing and keening of the old music."
Column: off the record ..., vol. 17-759
April 17, 2017
Look, it's my first OTR column in quite a while! I hope everyone who celebrated the holiday had a good Easter weekend, and to any Jewish fans reading, I hope you're having a good Passover.
U2 and Kendrick Lamar ... what do you think? As I type this, our unscientific poll is leaning toward the love it/like it side, but there are still a lot of undecided fans, too. I guess I'm one of them. I don't love it, but I don't hate it, either. It's just there, if you know what I mean.
That's pretty similar to how I feel about the new version of "Red Hill Mining Town" that Dave Fanning premiered on his RTE radio show Sunday morning. The chorus of the song wasn't re-recorded -- that's the same as the 1987 original -- but Bono redid all of the verses. The highlights for me are when Bono speaks his way through the "scorch the earth" and "stoop so low" lines, plus the addition of Edge's echo-like backing vocals in the last 30-45 seconds of the song. The brass band and horns just don't fit at all, in my opinion.
My one-sentence review: It's cool to hear something new, but I'll stick with the original.
These are interesting days for fans in South America. Last week, two reputable news sources shared rumors/reports that suggest U2 could be visiting the continent sooner rather than later.
First was a report from Globo Esporte saying that the Sao Paulo football club had agreed to let U2 use Morumbi Stadium for shows on Oct. 19 and 22 of this year. That was followed by a UOL.com.br report saying that the football club and Live Nation signed the deal last Monday night -- with confirmation again from the football club. To be clear, the reports are only saying that the stadium has been reserved -- not that U2 is actually going to follow through and play shows on those dates. But you gotta start somewhere, right? And if you're a band that's thinking about touring South America later this year, you better get the venues booked sooner rather than later.
Then today, Brazilian fan site U2br.com posted (and has since deleted) a screenshot of an email that the Sao Paulo football club sent to its ticket holders advertising VIP ticket sales for U2 at Morumbi Stadium on Oct. 19 and 22. The email mentioned some VIP package-like privileges, but didn't say anything about ticket on-sale dates. And the group that organizes VIP events in Morumbi Stadium is listing the shows on its website.
You can forgive U2 fans in South America if they're a bit skeptical. There have been so many rumors of a South American tour in the past few years, and none of them have turned into reality. But these reports sure sound pretty solid. We know a lot of fans there are angry and disappointed about not being included in the original Joshua Tree tour plans. Here's hoping those feelings change to joy and happiness before the year is over.
Meanwhile, we're now less than a month away from the start of The Joshua Tree Tour 2017. If U2's official social media accounts are to be believed, the band members are still scattered in various spots around the world. Bono has been spotted in Morocco; Adam in Japan; Edge in Italy; and Larry? Not on social media. There's always a chance, of course, that the photos they're posting aren't current. Edge might've been in Venice a couple weeks ago, for all we know; same with the others.
My point in mentioning all of this is that the band should be making their way to Vancouver very soon, if they're not there already. A couple years ago, they were seen and heard around Vancouver just about a month before the tour began. It was April 15, 2015, when we first had rehearsal audio from inside Pacific Coliseum -- just about 30 days before the tour began on May 14. They don't have a new album of songs to rehearse, so maybe the band needs less practice time this year ... but I'd still expect things to get interesting in the very near future. They could go back indoors to the same arena, or they could use BC Place stadium. It's free now, after the Vancouver Whitecaps' most recent game this past Friday.
Needless to say, if you live in the Vancouver area and plan to keep an eye on things, we'd love any photos, audio or video you get. Our news team can be reached via email: email@example.com.
And finally, I'm gonna give this eBay seller some free advertising just because I LOL'd when one of our staffers sent me this link a couple days ago. It's a T-shirt for those of you who've been trying to get U2 to play that certain never-played-live song.
See you soon!
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, 2017.