Column: off the record…, vol. 12-512

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off the record, from @U2

I'm not sure about you, but I feel relieved that all has gone quiet on the U2 promotion front. Over the last few years the number of U2 releases released for our aural and visual pleasure has seemed almost relentless. Since No Line On The Horizon in 2009, there have been several high-profile releases with significant marketing campaigns in support of the live DVD of the 360 tour at the Rose Bowl, the Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark soundtrack release, and not least the massive promotion of the Achtung Baby 20th anniversary multiple editions. I am actually looking forward to at least a year of no U2 releases -- it's been an expensive time for collectors like me!

According to the forums I have recently read it seems that the band is back in the studios, with various sightings at Hanover Quay in Dublin. It's still early days, and it may be the case that the band might be merely creating demos and exploring songwriting at this point, but it is inevitable that there will be a high level of expectation for the next U2 album following the relatively disappointing reaction to No Line On The Horizon from fans and critics alike. I always felt that the performance of some of the songs when played live on the 360 tour didn't connect with the audience, and only two songs from NLOTH made the cut on the "voted by the fans" CD U22.

In addition to the new direction that U2 may take with their next album, it will be interesting to see what they intend to do for their next tour. Following almost 20 years of genuinely innovative tours, what do U2 do to follow that? The peak of creativity and stage engineering has surely hit its peak with the 360 Claw, and I suspect the band may want to go back to basics for the next tour, perhaps keeping to indoor arenas only. The band certainly have nothing more to prove within the live setting -- who knows, they may even want to take a break from touring and follow the route that R.E.M. successfully did in the early '90s and not tour at all in support of album releases.

Certainly over the last three years, the number of CD and DVD releases, as well as the record-breaking 360 tour, has done no harm to the band's wealth. In the U.K., the Sunday Times has published its "Rich List 2012," and despite these times of austerity, U2's position in the Ireland's Top 250 listing has risen to 10 (from 13 in the 2011 listing) with a disclosed wealth of £514m/€619m/$$825m, an increase of 13 percent from the previous year. Accordingly, it is thought that the recent tour generated a profit of £20m. Not bad, eh?

Have a good week everyone! See you next time!

© @U2/Aaron Govern, 2012.

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