U2 Innocence and Experience tour
Updated: 5 December 2014
U2 are set tour the UK during 2015 in support of their thirteenth album Songs of Innocence.
The Innocence and Experience tour will include residencies at London’s The O2 and Glasgow’s The SSE Hydro. The tour also marks the first time the group will be indoor shows in the UK in decade.
U2’s London residency will take place on 25, 26, 29 and 30 October 2015. The Glasgow concerts will be held on 6 and 7 November.
U2 are a band that can be described as legendary and world conquering; a far cry away from their humble beginnings in Dublin, Ireland. The four-piece formed during the summer of 1977 while the band members were still in their teens and attending school.
Since those early days U2 have gone on to become one of the biggest and most successful rock bands of all time. The group hold several records including winning the most Grammy Awards and their 2009 – 2011 U2 360° Tour was, after 110 shows and $736 million in ticket sales, the highest-grossing and highest-attended tour in history.
Their most recent album, Songs of Innocence, was launched in 2014 via Apple's iTunes and allowed an unprecedented 500 million music fans free access to the album.
U2’s beginnings and Lipton Village
Then 15-year-old drummer Larry Mullen Jr. famously pinned a ‘Looking for Musicians’ note to the bulletin board in his Mount Temple School. Hoping to assemble a few kids to jam together, he got more than he bargained for.
Things didn’t look too bright at first; several schoolmates showed up to the first rehearsal arranged at his parents’ garden shed. Some of which included Adam Clayton on bass guitar, Dave Evans on guitar and Paul Hewson on vocals.
Of the lot, Larry had basic drumming skills and Dave showed signs of being a good guitarist, not least because he owned a strangely shaped guitar him and his brother had assembled.
But then there was Adam and Paul. Adam impressed using music lingo he had picked-up from music papers but essentially couldn’t play any instrument. The small fact he owned the only guitar amplifier in the room kept him in the band and, before trying his luck on singing, Paul pretended to play guitar but his charisma took charge of the room. From that moment on he ran the show.
Paul and Dave were part of a Dublin arty street gang that named themselves Lipton Village. Part youthful silliness and part escapism from the dreary and grey Dublin of the late 1970’s, the members of Lipton Village attempted to avoid signing up to the status quo and became known amongst Dublin’s teens and the city’s Garda for staging impromptu art protests and other bizarre stunts.
In line with the punk ethos that swapped over from London and New York at the time, the kids gave each other made-up names based on their characteristics. Like Joey Ramone, Johnny Rotton, Sid Vicious, Rat Scabies and many of their punk idols during that time, Dave Evans was rechristened The Edge and Paul Hewson became known as Bono Vox. To this day, the musicians kept their alter egos.
Boy goes to War
Before settling on the U2 band name, early incarnations of the line-up were billed under the name Feedback, which The Edge recalled was due to the sound they produced during early rehearsals and also the ill-chosen band name The Hype, indicates early attempts at musical world domination.
Following several failed attempts at begging a record contract with almost all the major record labels, U2 finally got their big break after impressing the A&R from Island Records at one of their hometown live shows.
Island’s A&R spotted the potential and talent the band demonstrated during their energetic early live shows and couldn’t wait to sign the band fast enough. Suggesting finding a quiet room backstage to finalise the contract, legend has U2 signed their lives to the rock n’ roll circus on a toilet seat in the ladies bathroom of Dublin’s National Stadium.
Fans of Joy Division, the band wanted Martin Hannett as producer which led to the debut single release 11 o’clock Tick Tock.
Following Ian Curtis’ suicide Hannett withdrew from the invitation to also produce U2’s debut. The project was given to Siouxsie and The Banshees’ producer Steve Lillywhite who produced the acclaimed debut Boy (released 1980) and stayed on producing the follow-up albums, October (1981) and War (1983).
Steve Lillywhite has become a close friend and confidant to the band and has lent his production skills to many of U2’s best-selling records.
During these years, U2 toured relentlessly across Europe and America, earning them a name as a must-see live act. Bono in particular had a knack connecting with the audience, at times to a degree that bordered on sheer madness. In an attempt to connect with everyone in the audience, his stage act included stage diving, dancing with fans on stage and climbing PA speakers.
This came to a death defying moment at the 1983 US Festival during the song The Electric Co. Bono climbed the over 100 feet tall stage tower before walking across the scaffolding above the audience waving a white flag and saved by nothing but a layer of covering canvas.
Band of the 80’s
The Unforgettable Fire was released in 1984 and signalled a radical sonic departure for the band. Ambient music sculpturist Brian Eno, together with up-and-coming Canadian producion prodigy Daniel Lanois, drew responsible for the brave shift that saw the band trading their driving, angular rock style for a big, cinemascopic sound with lush sonic textures.
Pride (In The Name Of Love), the first single off The Unforgettable Fire and homage to the late Reverend Martin Luther King, proved a big chart hit.
The Unforgattble Fire tour culminated with U2’s now infamous 15 minute appearance at the 1985 Live Aid concert at London’s Wembley Stadium. The short impassionate performance struck a chord with viewers and instantaneously broke the Irish rocker to a global audience. Up to this point U2 were regarded as a cult band, playing mid-sized arenas but the following day U2’s record sales sky-rocked, dragging all their releases into the top spots of the charts.
The newfound interest in the band swept 1987’s The Joshua Tree album beyond the bravest sales forcasts. Fuelled with a string of singles that would dominate the global charts that year, the new album was once again produced by the Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois and featured the U2 classics With or Without You, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For and Where The Streets Have No Name. To satisfy the demand for U2 tickets, the Joshua Tree tour required the band for the first time to move from playing arenas into stadiums.
Rolling Stone magazine declared U2 "The band of the 80’s” and Time magazine put Bono, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullne Jr. and The Edge on their cover as “Rock’s Hottest Ticket” – an honour bestowed previously only to The Beatles. U2 were on top of their game what could potentially go wrong?
Touring North America introduced the band to country and folk music. A band that insisted their artistic roots began when they formed amongst the musical nihilism of Punk, Krautrock and Electronica, U2 decided to capture this musical development, as well as to document the impressive sold-out success of The Joshua Tree Tour. The result was Rattle and Hum, an ambitious but incoherent live and studio double-album that was accompanied by a road-movie style Bonomentary of the same title.
On the upside, the album featured some brilliant new songs, such as the singles Desire, All I Want Is You, Angel of Harlem, the collaboration with B.B. King When Love Comes To Town and the Gospel-tinged re-interpretation of their song I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.
However the album's live cuts and its accompanying movie received mixed responses. Critics levelled their main brunt at the band’s lack of focus while coming across pompous. “Charles Manson stole this song from The Beatles, we’re stealing it back.” Bono’s triumphant introduction to a half-hearted cover of The Beatles' Helter Skelter opens both, the film and album and was ill chosen and put the band in front of the critics' firing squad. While most likely an in-joke said in jest, this and other moments didn't translate well onto record and celluloid. Headlines suggested the end of U2.
The message hit home. U2 ended the decade that saw them rise to become the biggest-selling band of their generation with a New Years Eve homecoming concert at the Dublin Point Depot in 1989 at which Bono explained that his band would have to “go away and dream it all up again”. As Bono later put it, “We couldn't make corrective adjustments to put it right. The limb had to come off. (…) Let's get a chainsaw and cut down The Joshua Tree!”