U2 New Album Rumours and Tour Implications

Given the lack of new substantive U2 material to consider, fans are left to talk about rumours and sightings during this interim period between albums and tours. Without a doubt, once the new album is released and the tour rolling, there will be a deluge of information to write about.  In the meantime, we can start to piece together what we should anticipate in the coming few months.  Over the last year, these are the developments leading up to the new album and tour:

September 8, 2014

According to the New York Times, “U2 Said to Play Role at Apple Event,” scheduled for September 9, 2014.  While previous rumours claimed that U2’s new album would come pre-loaded on the new iPhone, an alternate promotional release could involve streaming it on Apple’s newly acquired Beats Music streaming subscribed service.

People close to the band dismissed that idea, but said that U2’s deal with Apple would involve the release of new music in an innovative way, and Apple’s event would partly serve as a big, splashy stunt to generate publicity.

September 4, 2014

In the Irish Independent, a spokesman for U2 has quashed the rumours that U2 will pre-load their upcoming album on the new iPhone 6.

September 3, 2014

According to Bryan MacDonald – columnist for RT  (a Russian 24/7 English-language news channel) – a new U2 single will be out on September 9, 2014.  This is the same date that the new iPhone 6 will be unveiled.  MacDonald further claims that the new U2 album will come pre-loaded on the new iPhone.

As of September 4, MacDonald had since deleted his tweet, which was here: https://twitter.com/27KHV/status/507147345327583233

August 2, 2014

Correspondence sent by Universal to a record seller had a list of album releases, one of which was U2.  The release date of their new album is supposedly October 27, 2014.  No details if this is a European or North American release date.

July 24, 2014

On the twitter feed of Universal Music Group (Colombia), they mentioned that U2’s first single will be entitled Sirens and will be released in September.  The timing for release is interesting.  Friends over at U2Valencia pointed out that the cut-off deadline for Grammy nominations is September 30, 2014.  With this in mind, it would make marketing sense for U2 to release a new single and have it featured or performed at the Grammys on February 8, 2015.  Using the awards show as a platform, U2 could then start their tour in the spring of 2015.

The tweet has since been removed.  Perhaps it was posted accidentally, but it has got U2 fans talking about the delayed album once again.

May 1, 2014

On The Ray Foley Show, Adam Clayton spoke about his involvement with the ‘Walk In My Shows’ campaign that supports mental health services for vulnerable youth.  In that interview, Adam also mentioned that U2 might wrap up their recording by the end of the summer.

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March 10, 2014

Contrary to Billboard’s recent article, The Guardian reported that U2 will be releasing their new album some time in 2014:

… a spokesperson for the band has confirmed that their 13th album is still on course for this year. U2’s album is planned for this year, is still on track and touring plans haven’t been confirmed yet.

While Danger Mouse remains the central producer, U2 recruited Ryan Tedder and Paul Epworth to complete production of the new album. If true, then it’s possible to see a late summer single release, followed by an album distribution in the fall to capitalize on the thanksgiving/Christmas season. Tickets should then go on sale for a spring 2015 arena tour.

March 7, 2014

An exclusive by Billboard revealed that the new album and tour will be delayed until 2015. Ryan Tedder and Paul Epworth mhave been on-boarded as additional producers, while Danger Mouse remains the project’s central producer.

Billboard has learned that a tour initially on track for a mid-March announcement and September start date, booked by Live Nation’s Global Touring division, will now begin in summer 2015.

Reading the article suggests U2’s lack of confidence in releasing material, as evidenced by delays and continuous changes of producers – from Rick Rubin, to Danger Mouse, and finally to Ryan Tedder and Paul Epworth. They seem to be hung on being relevant on the contemporary music scene; but it could also be seen as a case of ‘analysis-paralysis’ – of over-thinking and being too concerned about the attraction of their music to new and mass audiences.

February 24, 2014

On French radio station, Energy, Bono talks about the new album and two new song titles:

– Song For Someone
– The Troubles

And in the Los Angeles Times, Bono mentioned another new U2 song title name:

This Is Where You Can Reach Me

February 20, 2014

Our friends at the U2 Italian fansite, U2.place.com have a source within the U2 camp, and report that organizing for the upcoming tour is underway.  Some highlights from these rumours:

– U2 will be performing in arenas
– Tour will begin in the fall, most likely beginning of October
– Concerts will kick off in the UK, next rest of Europe, and then to North America

Looking at one possible venue that Bono had mentioned that they would like to play in – the O2 Arena in London – the dates of October 5-11 and October 18-22 are wide open. Considering past rumours of doing multiple arena shows (i.e. residency shows), U2 may occupy the first few days of October for dress rehearsals, before doing a string of concerts (3-4) in the O2 Arena.   It’s conceivable that the tour will start in Europe this the fall and then recommence with a spring arena tour (late-March) in North America.  A spring arena tour in North America has precedence from past tours such as Elevation and Vertigo.

Alternatively, I can see U2 start their tour a little earlier. Looking back on the O2 Arena schedule, the venue appears to be available from August 2 to August 28. That is a big gaping hole in the calendar for a venue in London. This aligns with a previous rumour that U2 will commence their tour in the UK August 2014. That would give U2 August and September to travel Europe and then return to North American early October, which they did back in 2001 for that arena tour.

February 18, 2014

During the taping of the Tonight Show, where U2 performed Invisible and Ordinary Love, a fan asked Edge’s long-time guitar tech Dallas Schoo when the new album will be out.  Dallas’ response was that it will be out at the end of April.

Cover: The Hollywood ReporterAccording to an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, part of the reason for the album’s delay was the recording and production of Ordinary Love as part of the soundtrack to the biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

In a recent feature in The Rolling Stone, the Edge confirmed that U2 were still in the studio recording.  “We’re in the studio still, we really want the songs to be right.  That’s the only reason why we’re not on tour – because we’re so good at starting, not so good at finishing. That’s always the way it’s been.”  The band has around 30 songs that are in various states of being finished.”  Of those, “six or seven are mixed and ready to go.”  There is “a common thread” too – “the period of music, in our lives and history, when we really came into being, turned on by music, the seeds that made us want to be in a band.”

February 4, 2014

The Edge was recently on BBC Radio 2 with Jo Whiley and made some comments about the new album and the tour.  By the sounds of it, the album and tour should be out by the summer.

On the album release date: “We don’t have a date that we can announce, but let me put it this way: I’m not gonna have much of a summer holiday because I’ll be pretty busy.”

On the album name: “The final working title is starting to get to the point where it’s sticking, so hopefully very soon we can announce that.”  On tour plans: “At the end of this year, I’m gonna be pretty busy.”

February 3, 2014

Bono confirmed in a BBC radio interview Zane Lowe that the new record is still being worked on in London and would be finished sometime in April, 2014.  When talking about the band’s return to the stage, he expressed a desire to ‘play indoors’.

Bono: “We love those big outdoors shows – we’ve had some of the best nights of our lives [playing those]. For this album, we’re going to start indoors. We’d like to play the O2 [arena]. Sometimes it’s nice to play intimate things like that.”

January 24, 2014

The new U2 single – Invisible – will be aired as a commercial between the 1st and 2nd quarter of the National Football League’s Super Bowl.  The single will be available for download for free for 24 hours.   The Bank of America will donate $1 for each time the song will be downloaded towards Bono’s charity – The Red Campaign.

January 11, 2014

As predicted earlier, dodgy recordings of U2’s new songs heard from outside a window or studio was released onto the internet.  Barely audible, you can hear some clips of U2’s new songs.  These were recorded outside the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, California, United States.  It will be really exciting to hear their first single of the new album, to be released as a video during the NFL Superbowl on February 2, 2014.

You’ll need to wear some good earphones and listen carefully to the instruments and singing!

January 3, 2014

It is widely known that U2 are up to something.  Most fans and music observers anticipate a new album and tour.  Indeed a letter posted on U2.com that thanked long-time manager Paul McGuinness recognized this possibility, “Sometime soon, U2 will begin a new adventure around the world and we totally understand and respect Paul’s desire to not run away with the circus – AGAIN.”

According to @MaisonBarclay, a Universal Music label in France, the new U2 album will be released March 31, 2014.

Reporter Steven Zeitchik had an early listen of the new album and he suggests that it will have a mix of sounds:

From the few tracks of the new album heard that night, it has traces of the Clash and Sex Pistols and Kraftwerk — “stuff we were really listening to when we were younger,” Bono said. But it also comes laden with soul and old-school R&B, genres Bono said he and friends were listening to in the 1970s “but once punk came along, no one admitted it.”

Lyrically, the record will center on the collision between hard-earned wisdom and youthful hunger. For U2 at the moment — at once trying new experiments even as it returns to its roots, still vital even as it stands barely two years shy of its 40th anniversary — that tension couldn’t be more fitting.

The first single will be called “Invisible” which is “an anthemic number about leaving one’s hometown, (LA Times, December 19, 2013).

Friends over @u2valencia have a ‘source’ close to the band that suggest that the arena tour will begin in North America throughout May and June, and then continue onto Europe.  For example, U2 are to play at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona.

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The dates are consistent with an earlier post by @seatwave – a ticketing agency – that U2 are rumoured to be touring the UK in August.

September 20, 2013

Rumour silly season continues.  According to two sources close to the band, the new album will be called Hideout and will be a pre-Christmas release.  Considering the anonymity of the sources, I would take this rumor with a grain of salt:

I have on very good authority (first via a pal in Dublin who’s in the band circle and today via a label rep I know for a friend in common) that the album is gonna be called Hideout. This double check of different sources is pretty much an answer that what I tell you is legit. The guys are planning everything (visually, marketing-wise, etc.) for a hot pre-Christmas release. Unlike the other guy who posted here, I’m not so sure about the last week of November. I’ve just been told that it’s a Christmas release. The label rep added that a previous U2 album we can refer as a comparison is Pop, but it’s at the same time totally different from that. I got it’s all focused on the songs rather than the style. Great, great songs. Relevant songs. Forget Achtung.  You heard the story here first, folks (MagnificentHanoverQuayDude).

However, this seems to correspond with testimonies of U2 heading back to New York to continue work on the new album.

September 8, 2013

Edge’s guitar tech – Dallas Schoo – spoke to Dublin-based U2 fan Dave Griffith outside of U2 HQ and mentioned that U2 have returned to the studio to continue recording new material.

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September 2, 2013

Bono was on Irish radio today and told Pat Kenny that U2 isn’t committed to any release schedule, and that he’d “like to think” U2 will put out an album in 2014.

But I think we’re nearly there, and once we’re there we’ll know it. I’d like to think that next year, there’ll be a U2 release.

… it’s very different, very fresh sound, and some beautiful songs.

This part of the conversation begins at the 20:20 mark.

August 30, 2013

Long time U2 producer, Steve Lillywhite, but is not working on U2’s new album but has been in contact with Bono.  Lillywhite tells a fan in Dublin that U2’s new album won’t be released until 2014.

August 20, 2013

According to the Italian U2 fan site U2place.com, one of its contacts at Universal Music Italy claims that U2’s new album “definitely” will not be released in 2013, which suggests that the release will be some time in 2014.

August 1, 2013

In an interview for Welt am Sonntag to mark the 70th birthday of Mick Jagger, Bono spoke to Martin Scholz about the Rolling Stones and regarding the new album (u2.com):

I am a bit out of touch with the rest of the world at the moment, I am down in a big black hole with U2, as we are busy working on our next album. We don’t know yet when it will come out. It could be finished within the next weeks, maybe at the end of the year. We are just lost in it, and we surely don’t wanna wake up out of this until the dream is done.

Tour Implications

Assuming the rumours are true – that the album will be released in the fall of 2014 – we can use the time frame around NHow to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb in order to anticipate what will happen in the coming months:

– U2 fans will come out of hibernation, begin frequenting online forums and social media outlets, and renew their U2.com fanclub membership

– Dodgy recordings of U2’s new songs from outside a window will be leaked on the internet, barely audible (Hear a recording supposedly called, “Song for Someone” from July 4, 2014)

– New single will be released (or leaked) September (Vertigo was aired on September 24, 2004)

– Promo tour commences in October to build the hype

– New Album will be released sometime in November (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb was released on November 17, 2004) in time for the Christmas season

– U2 fan forums and social media explode with discussions over the songs, name of album, and possible tour dates

– Rumours of concert venue bookings start leaking on the internet, providing the impetus for  fans to book accommodations in anticipation of the upcoming U2 tour

– Early spring arena tour in North America (late March), summer European tour (June to August), followed by the North American dates in the fall (September to November)

– Fans are notified what ‘level’ of membership they have (depending on length of membership) and which days they have access to pre-sale tickets.  Due to restrictions with how many tickets you can buy (i.e 4 tickets per member for a single European show OR 4 tickets per member for up to 4 North American shows), fans will buy additional memberships on behalf of their friends, siblings, dogs, etc, and start to coordinate with their U2 friends on who will buy which tickets in order to maximize number of presale tickets they can buy for the tour.

– U2 forums act as place where fans coordinate their tour dates, hotels to stay and share, bars to drink, restaurants to eat, and when to start lining up for the GA queue

This timeline is based on what happened for How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb Tour.  Assuming the album release date for the new album is the same for 2014, this rough schedule is what we can anticipate for U2’s new album and tour.  We’ll see in a few months time if this is the case.  In any event, we all look forward to the excitement that will be generated during and after the album release.

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