Catching Up With U2…

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2023-01-21)

Busy days keeping up with all the U2 news isn’t it? We’ll try to wrap up some highlights below.

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On January 11, U2 officially announced Songs of Surrender. We’re still building things around the site, but if you are looking for more information on the release the best place to start is in our discography entry for the album. There you will find background on the album, details about all the different formats and more. We’ve included a few other links of interest below:

The discography and video sections are the best places to find ongoing information about announced projects, and we update these sections several times a day.

Looks like “With or Without You” will be the next song released, following “Pride”. Previews of the track are now available on iTunes in some countries. It is listed as an album only download, but warning, if you do buy the album, you still only get the preview at this point, the full track hasn’t been released.

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The album isn’t the only work that is coming. David Letterman is doing a documentary with Bono and The Edge which will air on St. Patrick’s Day on Disney Plus. The special will be called Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, with Dave Letterman. The special is said to focus on the songwriting partnership between Bono and The Edge, and will also follow Letterman as he travels through Dublin for the first time. The film is directed by Morgan Neville.

The concert footage will include footage from the Ambassador Theatre (December 14) and McDaid’s Pub (December 15), performances which were filmed in the lead up to Christmas. During these evenings Bono and The Edge were joined by a number of other artists including Glen Hansard, Imelda May, Markéta Irglová, Grian Chatten of Fontaines D.C., Kate Ellis of Saint Sister and Dermot Kennedy among others.

Letterman shared, “Recently, I won a radio contest, winner gets to visit Dublin with Bono and The Edge (radio contest part not true, but I feel like a winner). They showed me around, introduced me to their musician friends, and performed some of their greatest songs in a small theater. It’s a great tour. Get in touch with them ― I’m told there are still availabilities. I’m the luckiest man on the planet. (There are no availabilities).”

Although filming was predominantly done in Dublin, there is also footage from New York and Los Angeles, and it appears this special may have grown out of a planned documentary of Bono’s book tour. The film crew was also present in Dublin ahead of Bono’s show at the 3Olympia Theatre in November, and was said to have conducted interviews and visited some sights well known to the band at that time.

The show will air on March 17, 2023, and will stream on the channel after that time. Letterman is also said to have inspired a new song by Bono and The Edge.

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That’s not the only film making its debut with U2 involvement. The film Kiss the Future which highlights U2’s involvement in Sarajevo throughout the 1990s will debut at the Berlin International Film Festival, as part of the line up of non-competition films at the 73rd Berlinale. The festival runs from February 16 – 26.

The film from director Nenad Cicin-sain and produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck completed shooting in late 2021. The director describes the film as “a cautionary tale about how politicians divided a country and lead its people into a horrific civil war and how music brought them back together for one night.”

The documentary will look at the struggles of Sarajevo residents during the Bosnian war, and how aid worker and filmmaker Bill Carter brought the struggle to U2, and got U2 to Sarajevo.

Bono spoke about the film in November to Welt sharing, that U2 ‘show solidarity with people who are oppressed, who are victims of violence. When Edge and I took the train to Kyiv, I hadn’t thought about Sarajevo at first. But gradually the memories of it came back to life. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have now produced a documentary on the subject which, like you, links the attacks in Sarajevo to those in Kyiv. The film is called ‘Kiss the Future,’ Nenad Cicin-Sain is the name of the director. It’s also about the role art can play in uplifting the souls of people living under such a threat.”

The film focuses on the residents who lived through the shelling of Sarajevo for many years. Excerpts from U2’s post-war concert in Sarajevo in 1997 are said to be included.

Bono shares, “The message of the film is: what the people of Sarajevo had to endure is only just beginning for the residents of Kiev.”

The film should roll out to other festivals and have a general opening later in the year.

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Bono’s doing a string of dates at The Beacon Theatre in New York City in April and May of 2023. Tickets for 11 shows have gone on sale to date, with the first date falling on April 16, and the final date currently set for May 8.

We’re told there’s still a possibility that more shows may be added to the shows at The Beacon listings. Nothing has been announced yet but sounds like they are holding space for at least three additional nights if sales continue to do well. There are tickets still available for many of the shows announced to date.

More details about the Stories of Surrender tour can be found in our show pages.

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SOS Baby! What’s that!? Las Vegas?!

It sounds very much like the band will be heading to Las Vegas this Fall. We’ve been told the announcement of the shows will happen in February with ticket sales starting almost immediately. (Take the date with a grain of salt, we know these things can be delayed.) But start putting some money aside now if you are thinking of going, as the full announcement isn’t far off. The shows will likely start in late September and run throughout October. The shows will each be similar in size to an arena show, with The Sphere holding between 17,000 and 20,000 people depending on the configuration used. One rumour shared with us is that the band have been filming some promotional material this week, which includes material to advertise this Vegas residency as well as additional material to promote the new album.

Willie Williams has been said to be working in the Sphere venue as it is being set up with a unique opportunity to build U2’s stage as the building is going up around it. The extended prep time in the venue will allow for time to play with all the toys the building brings with it including LED panels on the interior and exterior of the building.

We are told the show is a tie in to the Songs of Surrender album, and will have a special focus on Achtung Baby.

We know the question everyone has is “where is Larry?” – Vegas puts Larry very close to his medical care team in the US that he has been working with on his injuries. And Adam Clayton in a recent interview had said that the band hadn’t had to make the decision to work without Larry Mullen yet. So until otherwise announced, we’ll continue to assume he’ll be part of the Vegas shows, and wish him a rapid and thorough recovery if and when surgery does occur.

In a recent podcast, Sean Hayes shared with Bono that The Edge had shown him plans for the venue at The Sphere. Bono replies, “You are a news network now, because that’s breaking news! Blame it on Edge! But it’s great. I’m interested in Las Vegas for all kinds of reasons, even going back to ‘The Fly’!”

Bono’s been sharing about the Vegas stuff before, and back in November all but confirmed it was happening while speaking with Brendan O’Connor. Sounds like the plans are finalized and the announcement is only weeks away.

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Bono is starting to do make a few stops on the podcast circuit. Up first is the Smartless podcast with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett. This is the one mentioned above where Bono talks about the Vegas plans. That podcast is available January 23 for most, or now if you are an Amazon Music subscriber.

Marc Maron also recently teased that Bono would be featured soon on his WTF podcast. (Thanks Dan!) There’s likely more to come as the band gets closer to the release of the Songs of Surrender album.

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Thanks to Valerie we can also share that Adam Clayton is due to appear at the Borris House Festival of Writing and Ideas. The event is a weekend gathering in Carlow that runs from June 16 – 18. The event features musicians, writers, poets and film makers and Adam Clayton is tipped to make an appearance. The full line up for the festival has not yet been announced, and Clayton is not listed on the website, however, The Irish Times has listed him as participating.

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We’re still catching up on the discography entries, but of note is the availabilty of the new album not only in high resolution audio formats, but also in Dolby Atmos. If the entire album is released in that format it will be the first U2 album mastered for this sound format.

Dolby Atmos is a surround sound technology which adds height to a sound system, allowing a 3D sound to be created using multiple speakers. The technology first debuted in 2012, and has been slowly breaking into the audio world. The music format allows up to 128 audio tracks to be mixed together to present the listener with a 3D sound experience.

The Dolby Atmos mix of “Pride (In the Name of Love)” can be found on Tidal, Apple and other streaming services now. Those looking for the high resolution format instead, may not have seen it initially in your favourite online shop, but those have been showing up in more locations as of yesterday as well.

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Finally, in response to Edge’s letter to fans announcing the album, Rocky O’Riordan pointed out the sign off was likely a reference to a line from Spinal Tap. The band take a different path in sound and are met with a somewhat chilly reception when they debut it. See the clip below. We thought we’d share!

#U2SOS40

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