"I want U2 to be a band that takes risks. I hate this idea of U2 as a nice safe band. . . . The rock rebel thing is very phony."
SPOILERS: New York Times Opens the Curtain on U2's Plan for I+E Concerts
April 29, 2015
(Seriously, if you're trying to avoid spoilers, stop reading now and please don't click the link below to read the full NYT article.)
The New York Times, via longtime rock music writer Jon Pareles, has opened the proverbial curtain on U2's plans for its upcoming concerts in an article that's online now, and due to appear in Sunday's newspaper. The article features a handful of new photos of the band taken recently during U2's rehearsals in Vancouver. It doesn't show any details of the stage or concert production, but offers a number of details about that, plus U2's plans for how the concerts will play out, progress on the Songs Of Experience album, Bono's injuries and a lot more. Here's our attempt at recapping all of the news:
He can't bend his left pinky and ring finger. Another part of his hand feels "like rigor mortis." Parts of his arm are still numb, but "the shoulder's better, the face is better," Bono says.
The idea of doing two entirely different concerts is pretty much a no-go because "U2 worried about leaving out staples or having fans think they’d gotten the second-best show." Instead, each concert will have a "relatively fixed first half," followed by an intermission and then a varying second half. There's no mention of opening acts, and the article seems to imply that U2 won't have any.
The shows will begin with U2 performing under a single light bulb, "as Bono was in the room in 10 Cedarwood Road where he started to play music." The article doesn't say so, but the implication is that "Cedarwood Road" will open the shows. Later, "Raised By Wolves" will mark "the concert's bleak midpoint -- 'the end of innocence,' Bono calls it." The second half of the concert will be more uplifting with "healing and love."
This will look most closely to what's shown as the San Jose seating chart: a main rectangular stage that lights up in the shape of an "I," a smaller E-shaped stage at the opposite end of the arena floor, and a walkway/staging area in between where the band can perform "sometimes sandwiched between LED video screens." U2 calls this part of the stage the "divider," because it works into the overall theme of the division between innocence and experience.
There's "a radical new approach to arena sound," with speakers being placed up at the arena ceiling so that they "send the music downward evenly everywhere in the arena."
Songs Of Experience
There's a mobile recording studio at Pacific Coliseum and U2 is working on its next album with producers that include Andy Barlow (from an electronic group called Lamb). New songs mentioned are "Red Flag Day," "Civilization" and "Instrument Flying."
But really, if you don't mind the spoilers, just read the full article.