I normally reserve these “U2 Spotlight” articles for weeks when there was some big news in the U2 world that wasn’t quite right for a U2101 article, which I try to keep focused on a particular song each week. I wanted to say something this week about what happened yesterday in St. Louis, and I spent some time searching for an appropriate song to write about, such as “One” or “Peace on Earth” but I’ve already written about all of the songs that describe how I’m feeling in the aftermath of yesterday’s events, so I decided to do something a little different today.
My understanding is that U2 mainly cancelled their show because, since the police officers were otherwise occupied, there wouldn’t be sufficient security for the seventy thousand (give or take) people who would have attended the U2 concert. It wasn’t because, as some reports that I’ve read made it seem, the riots were so violent that it wasn’t safe to travel in the city or because the band was afraid of attacks on the concertgoers or anything like that. It was simply a precaution because there wouldn’t be enough of a police presence at the U2 gig. I feel terrible for the disappointed fans who won’t get to see their favorite band live this year – I would have been inconsolable if the concert I attended on this tour had been cancelled, after looking forward to it for months – but I understand the “safety first” approach taken by U2 and by LiveNation. It really is better safe than sorry.
The last time U2 cancelled a concert outright (without rescheduling it) was over twenty years ago, in May of 1997. That was during the Pop*Mart Tour, and the cancellation was due to a malfunction with the large screen that backed the band on that tour. Compared to some other acts who routinely don’t show up for their own gigs or who show up on stage then play abbreviated sets because they’re throwing a temper tantrum over something, U2 have a pretty good record of giving ticket buyers a good show for their money. Even when Bono is sick or has had problems with his voice, the band normally play complete shows – Heck, Adam missed one show entirely and the others went on with their performance, with the bass tech, Stuart Morgan, standing in for the regular bass player. So based on U2’s track record, I feel fairly confident that they wouldn’t cancel a concert without good reason.
Next up for U2? Two more shows in the United States before taking about on a week and a half off then moving south to Mexico and then onward to South America, where they will finish up the Joshua Tree 2017 Tour. Hopefully, it won’t be too long after that that the band release Songs of Experience. The official release date has yet to be announced, but all indications are that the album is still coming this year. Hopefully, there won’t be any more cancellations. Indeed, I hope that we’ve seen the last of violence, rioting, hurricanes, earth quakes, and other dangers for a little while. It’s been a crazy year, and we’re all in need of the healing that comes with U2 concerts.