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Saturday, 29 December 2012

#69: Me Juan, Inspired by U2 — Part Four

Confident they’d now reached a level where going retro wouldn’t be a backward step, the band threw caution to the wind for their 2005/2006 Vertigo Tour – to promote How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb – including songs which hadn’t seen the light of day since the early ’80s.

The crowds lapped up the revamped show, featuring the most diverse range of U2 tracks so far – and at least one from each of their currently released albums. The VT was a massive commercial success. And soon, another four castles were owned by Irish rock stars.

HTDAAB and its singles also won Grammy Awards in all eight categories in which U2 were nominated.

It was arguably overdue, but in 2005 The Boss himself – Mr. Bruce Springsteen – inducted U2 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He also said the band were due another pay rise and vowed to get right on that.

A 3-D concert film, U2 3D, encompassing footage from nine concerts during the Latin American and Australian legs of the Vertigo Tour was released in January 2008, and proved another terrific moneyspinner. Even curing fans who had vertigo.

Minor controversy struck the band in August 2006 when it stamped the Inc. on its publishing business in Holland, after the Irish artists' tax exemption was capped at €250,000.

The move was criticized in the Irish Parliament, where politicians reportedly spat-sprayed mouthfuls of tea in disgust upon hearing the news, covering Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern in Earl Grey.

U2 retorted that the criticism was unfair, stating roughly 95.9785% of their business took place outside of Ireland, that they were taxed globally as a result – and that they were all “personal investors and employers” in the Emerald Isle.

To which the Irish Parliament replied: “Boo! Hiss! Blah-blah-blah! Random incoherent noise! Blah-blah!”

In March 2008, U2 signed a 12-year deal with Live Nation, the American entertainment company, worth an estimated $100 million (£50 million). Live Nation took control of the band's merchandise, sponsoring, and their official website – leaving U2 to focus on cranking out more iconic rock anthems.

The band's 12th album, No Line on the Horizon, hit retail store shelves in February 2009. Early material crafted with producer Rick Rubin made way for new, fresher tunes created during sessions with Eno and Lanois – who’d expertly produced All That You Can’t Leave Behind.

Eno and Lanois also joined forces with U2 as songwriters this time, and the band explored North African music – with some of the album’s recording taking place in Fez, Morocco, as well as the U.S., UK and Ireland. The Edge experimented by wearing a fez for a couple of gigs. Fans didn't notice the difference.

To read the rest of this column, check out BC Johnny's upcoming book: Chilled Almonds.


Nancy T said...

Well-researched and enthusiastic! Obviously the work of a very dedicated fan.

BC Johnny said...

Thanks Nancy! Yes, I richly admire Bono & the boys. When you look at everything they've achieved... pretty staggering!