U2101 – Looking Back and Ahead

So it seems that U2’s Innocence + Experience Tour is done and over with, at least for now. “What’s next for the band” is the question on all our hearts and minds, so I thought that today I’d take a stab at playing fortune teller and try to guess what the next little bit of time might hold for U2, as well as spending some time looking back at the last little while. Exactly 7 months ago, the Innocence + Experience Tour kicked off in Canada, spent two and a half months in North America and then took the magic across the pond to Europe. Along the way, U2 played almost fifty of their own songs, not to mention several covers and innumerable snippets. They were joined on-stage by the likes of Lady Gaga, Paul Simon, Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, Patti Smith, the Eagles of Death Metal, and a legion of fans. When the tour started out, the set-lists were changing nightly and and it was awhile before a nightly performance was repeated, where the same songs were played in the same order. Surprises, like “Two Hearts Beat as One” and “Lucifer’s Hands” and tour debuts seemed to pop up on an almost nightly basis. Of course, it becomes harder to find songs to debut as more and more songs are played, so it’s no surprise that more recently, the band seemed to fall into a pattern of set-lists, where the same songs were played on certain nights in each city, and less surprises came to fruition. I also personally wish that the tour could have visited more cities, especially in the south-eastern quarter of the United States. Still, by all accounts the tour was a success with enough surprises to keep U2 fans guessing for a good portion of the tour.

 

As for the coming months, I’d be surprised if Bono doesn’t make an appearance on Christmas Eve, busking in the streets of Dublin. After that, it’s hard to say. I imagine that the band will be getting down to some serious work on the Songs of Experience album. Dutch photographer and frequent U2 collaborator Anton Corbijn recently said that the next U2 album will be out in September of 2016. I’m not sure that Corbijn is the most reliable source for U2 album release news, but he’s gotta be at least as reliable as Bono has been in recent years, right? At least he should have some inside info that the rest of us are not privy to.

 

After the release of Songs of Experience, well, I’m not really sure what to expect. I think that it’s likely that U2 will tour again. Will it be a continuation of the Innocence + Experience tour, as the name suggests, or will they be taking an entirely new package on the road? If they do continue the Innocence + Experience Tour, what portions of the show will change, and what will stay as we’ve already seen? It’s hard to imagine the band being willing to repeat themselves, but as I said above, the name of the tour leads me to think that it was meant to incorporate both the …Innocence and …Experience albums. Maybe that was the plan when the tour was first named, but those plans have now changed. Who can say for sure? any revelations to come will have to come from someone with better info than I’ve got, that’s for sure. I’m sure that whatever shape the next stage of the U2 life takes, it’ll leave us all panting for more.

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broadsword

Ever since I realized as a kid, while poring over the liner notes of the Bob Marley - Songs of Freedom boxed set, that writing about music was a viable career choice, one of my greatest desires has been to write about U2. The band has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to contribute a little something to the fantastic online community that's been built around the band.