Posts tagged ‘U2’

April 9, 2011

U2 break touring record!

U2’s current 360 tour is about to become the largest grossing tour in history. This Sunday in Sao Paolo the Irish supergroup will pass the $558 million mark, set by The Rolling Stones for their A Bigger Bang tour in 2005 – 2007.  It is estimated that the tour will eventually break the $700 million barrier when it wraps in July. The record-breaking tour will also become the highest attended tour ever, with over 7 million tickets sold in 110 countries!

Their main rivals in global straddling, bank busting, ego stroking tours are of course the aforementioned, age defying rockers, The Rolling Stones.   The sexagenarians have played 4 of the 10 biggest grossing tours in history, playing to over 20 million people and collecting a cool $1.5 billion in the process.  That’s more than the annual GDP of Russia, India and Spain!  Not to be outdone, in the last 20 years U2 will also have amassed more than $1.5 billion once their current stadium behemoth has been deconstructed.  The key to their current record snatching extravaganza has been the sheer size of venues they’ve played in every city they’ve besieged, the average attendance is over 64,000.   Wow, where next for the band?  Is there anyone who hasn’t seen them live?  Unlike the Stones, I’m sure they’ve got a few more circumnavigations left in those ambitious minds.

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May 27, 2010

Gorillaz replace U2

In response to my article yesterday, about U2 cancelling Glastonbury and a look at the history of Glastonbury no-shows, I was surprised as much as everyone else with the quick announcement of Gorillaz as U2’s Friday night replacement!  Surely this is the greatest fill in band to ever grace the stage? Bookies favourite Dizzee was also my personal favourite to replace the Irish supergroup, it made sense to promote the east end rapper to the headline slot after such an incredible 12 months.   Although Gorillaz are far superior in terms of occasion, musical depth and exclusivity!   It just goes to show how much Damon has rekindled his desire for the spotlight and to reignite his inner showman.   I expect him and his band to seize the moment and steal the festival?

May 26, 2010

U2 cancel Glastonbury!!

The news that U2 have pulled out of their Friday headlining spot has probably reached the far-flung corners of the world by now! With Bono needing emergency back surgery over the weekend it would have been asking a little too much of him to perform in just over a months time – even Bono couldn’t manage that?   Tragic as it may sound, Glastonbury has had to cope with this type of set back on many occasions.

The most famous Glastonbury no-show is now part of Glastonbury folklore; The Stone Roses cancelled in 1995 due to John Squire breaking his collar-bone riding his BMX, replacement band Pulp seized the moment with a showstopping performance that catapulted them to massive popularity, and the rest his history.   The most recent high-profile cancellation was Kylie Minogue in 2004 – she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer! – Basement Jaxx filled the spot with divided opinion –  and unlike Pulp failed to capitalise on their elevated status.  2004 also saw The Libertines pull out (not much of surprise given their chequered history!) to be replaced on the main stage by festival favourites, Supergrass.

1997 saw a double blow on the Sunday night.  Most people only remember 97 for the mud and Radiohead’s groundbreaking performance, but both the top acts for the Sunday night pulled out for personal reasons – Neil Young who was replaced by the anti-climatic Kula Shaker, and headliner Steve Winwood, who was replaced by indie stalwarts Ash, who failed to deliver a career-defining performance!  Another notable absentee from the Glastonbury main stage was Morrissey in 1992 – during his flag waiving, race provoking hey day – could have been a Glastonbury moment? – replaced by a safe pair of hands – James.   Even Pink Floyd pulled out in 1971 because they couldn’t get all their stage equipment on to the site!

Glastonbury isn’t the only festival to encounter last-minute cancellations, Reading has had its fair share of injuries and legal ramifications.  The biggest no-show in the history of the Reading festival and on a par with the current U2 crises has to be Eminem pulling out of the headling slot on the sunday night, this was due to legal reasons and an impending court case.  He was replaced by the MOR Stereophonics, there would have been a few disappointed punters that night!  Jack White’s – The White Stripes pulled out in 2003 due to a motorcycle accident, which left Jack with a damaged guitar hand!  Ironically it was the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club who replaced him! Jay Z also cancelled that same year with the markedly different, The Darkness taking his spot!

Oasis infamously cancelled last year’s V Festival due to Liam’s throat!  Probably had nothing to do with the brothers falling out?  Too late to call a last-minute replacement – Snow Patrol moved up a slot.

There will be many rumors circulating as to who will fill the mighty gap of U2.  No doubt Emily and Micheal will be frantically ringing around to call in a favour or two – they probably have one of the biggest address books in the business, so if anyone can?  One thing that history has taught us though, most replacements are much less significant than the original, and very few (Pulp aside) actually seize their big moment.  Although that still won’t stop the wild speculation!

March 23, 2010

Fan club members get first choice on Gorillaz tickets

Tickets went on sale today for the long anticipated London Gorillaz gigs, the first in the capital for 9 years!   The only trouble is you need to be a paid-up member to purchase one!   Becoming a member of the Gorillaz G club isn’t really the problem – its paying the £25 fee that feels a bit too much like daylight robbery – sure you get a free Gorillaz toy and a few unreleased tracks that weren’t good enough to make the album, but the real and only incentive is to have priority booking surely!  This type of inclusivity feels a little bit like a tier system that favours the more affluent.

I’ve tried to think of many reasons why Albarn would generate such a corporately flavoured ticket scheme?  Maybe he sees it as a way of creating clans among music fans , creating a type of fan loyalty – in a world full of music fragmentation, unlimited access and decreasing musical tribes.   Maybe this is his idea of reconnecting with the teenage sub-cultures that were once seen roaming the record stores in Blur’s early years.  Although Gorillaz are very much a band of the pop mainstream, a band that straddle genres and epitomise modern-day eclecticism.

Maybe Albarn feels that Gorillaz have been a victim of these tough unit shifting times.  He may feel that due to a lack of touring commitment over the last ten years that they’ve lost they’re revenue potential and that he needs to recoup some of the lost funds!   However, looking at Gorillaz CD sales for the first two albums it is hard to see where they fell short?  7 million and 12 million worldwide sales for the albums respectively are not too bad for a so-called side project.  With Plastic Beach hitting the top spot in many countries it is unlikely that it will fail to follow in the footsteps – this of course generates royalties-a-plenty for the Gorillaz gang – a collective where no one is short of a bob or two?

So why the G fan club for what is already a massively succesful formula?  Is it a need to provide and guarantee for the most committed fan?  Even though Albarn is a constant advocate of musical independence and diversity?

Something around here has the faint smell of corporate bullshit!  The same kind of stench that is often found lingering around the corporate behemoths of U2 and The Rolling Stones.   It would be somewhat forgivable if the desperate EMI (Gorillaz record company) were behind this cynical idea and not the liberal, idealist Albarn!

November 23, 2009

U2 to finally play Glastonbury

Michael Eavis has finally got his wish!    For years he’s been trying to entice the Irish super-group to Worthy Farm with little effect, now he’s finally landed the deal in conjunction with Glastonbury’s 40th anniversary.    Great timing and an excellent result for both parties in more ways than one…….this is the ultimate collision of the music super-brand – most famous, commercially succesful music festival in the world teams up with the biggest, most globally recognised band in the world…….Well not quite…..Since U2 released ‘No line on the horizon’ they’ve seen their world domination falter and diminish quite rapidly – the album has been their slowest selling  in the last decade, even with all the blanket publicity and exposure it received.    As a live draw their massive popularity has frayed around the edges – Wembley Stadium failed to sell out both nights until a few weeks before the concert and tickets were selling on ebay for less than their face value!   This never happened to Muse or The Foo Fighters at Wembley…..Muse recently sold out their latest show at Wembley in 12 minutes.
Maybe the public feel U2 publicity fatigue – or maybe the younger, more relevant bands around have stolen their thunder and their marketing ideas. Whatever the case Glastonbury 2010 feels like the perfect opportunity to remind everyone that they’re still here!

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