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U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2019
· U2's Mumbai setlist, 15/12/19
· U2's Manila setlist and videos, 11/12/19
· U2's Seoul setlist and videos, 08/12/19
· U2's Tokyo #1 and #2 setlists and videos, 4/12/19 and 5/12/19
· U2's Singapore #2 setlist and videos, 01/12/19
· U2's Singapore #1 setlist and videos, 30/11/19
· U2's Perth setlist, 27/11/19
· U2's Sydney #2 setlist, 23/11/19
· U2's Sydney #1 setlist, 22/11/19
· U2's Adelaide setlist, 19/11/19

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U2 gets back to simple sound

Posted on Wednesday, November 01 @ 12:04:32 UTC by Macphisto
-----------------------------------------------

(Toronto Star Pop Music Critic) -- U2 isn`t planning to reprise its 1981 El Mocambo gig when it embarks on a North American tour next spring, but fans of the enormously popular Irish band can expect something more austere than the PopMart extravaganza that circled the globe three years ago.

All That You Can`t Leave Behind, the new studio album released yesterday, represents a return to basic principles after Pop, 1997`s flirtation with electronica. And, while no plans have been finalized, U2 guitarist the Edge says the live show that supports the new release will likely reflect its scaled-down esthetic.

As a warmup, the Edge, singer Bono, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Millen recently played a 500-seat house in Paris. But thoughts of the quartet pulling a Rolling Stones move and sneaking into the El Mocambo, where U2 made its Toronto premiere nearly two decades ago, are dismissed with a good-natured chuckle.

``We`re not ruling anything out, but that is not likely,`` the Edge (né David Evans), said over the phone from New York yesterday.

``We were never the band that liked the thought of going back to the clubs because we remember them too well. But there`s something about these songs that suggests something more intimate.

``We will be putting together a production, but I don`t think the shows will have such an emphasis on visuals. It`s going to be centred on the music and the songs and working the production around the music.``

The songs in question have been widely hailed as U2`s most straightforward in years. Producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, who first teamed up with U2 on 1984`s Unforgettable Fire, are still turning the dials - with cameos from Steve Lillywhite and a handful of others - but the results are more organic.

``It reflects a conscious effort to strip things back to the band, really, and start from the point of view of 11 songs with the band at the core of the arrangements and developing the production around that,`` the Edge said.

``Rather than using the studio and other songwriting techniques to arrive at our songs, we really started at the very beginning with the band playing together in a small room. That`s how we worked.

``Our vision for the record was that we wanted the songs to have a vitality, freshness and immediacy. We felt that would be a welcome thing right now.``

U2 spent the better part of two years working on the album, trying to avoid a repeat of Pop. The songs on that album, band members now concede, weren`t as finely honed as they might have been and in some cases only came together on the road.

``I`m very proud of Pop,`` said the Edge, ``but I do feel we could have developed the singles a bit more.

`` `Discotheque` really started to come into its own live. The album version of it is great, but it doesn`t have the same life as the song had live. If we`d had more time, we might have had another look at that one. And maybe one or two others.

``The difference and the strength of this record is that it`s stripped down to a simpler sound. There are fewer elements to the arrangements and the ones that are there really count.

``On Pop and on the few previous to it, we were using a lot of textures and other things that created the mood of the record. Which is grand. I`m not saying there`s anything wrong with that. This time it just felt more fresh to keep to our minimalist roots. As the guitar player, I`m a minimalist at heart. And from a guitar playing point of view, it`s turned out pretty well.``

During the making of the album, Bono continued to lobby the likes of ultra-conservative U.S. Senator Jesse Helms and Pope John Paul II on behalf of Jubilee 2000, a campaign to forgive the debt of the poorest Third World nations.

``Bono`s been representing the band in what he`s been doing - and not just U2 but music in general.

``He feels that the reason the door is open to him is that there is so much respect for the fans of rock and roll in political circles. It`s acknowledged that they are a very motivated and highly articulate group.

``So when Bono meets politicians or the Pope, he`s going with that very much in mind.``

By Vit Wagner

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