I recently had a short break in London with my family, where we made a spur-of-the-moment decision to watch a West End show. We chose We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre, the hugely successful musical written by Ben Elton that features the songs of Queen. The show has been playing night after night at the same venue to packed houses of more than 2,000 patrons since 2002, which is hardly surprising as the show is quite brilliant, with a truly amazing performance by cast and crew alike.
I have never been a huge fan of Queen, even after I saw them play live in 1986, but the show highlighted the huge catalogue of their magnificent songs that are totally suited to adaption for the stage, such as "Killer Queen," "Play The Game" and "I Want To Break Free."
During the interval I noted in the program that U2 associates Willie Williams and Mark Fisher were responsible for lighting and video production, and it made me think: How would U2's songs work in a similar musical with a strong, vibrant story line? Songs as majestic as "New Year's Day," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Beautiful Day" alone would be enough to create an epic story line for a surefire musical. With U2 still a successful and relevant rock act, it may be a little premature to expect such a production, but I think it might be only a matter of time? In the meantime, I will look forward to seeing Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark when I visit the Big Apple later this year with my family, which in the future looks to be touring in other major cities.
Recent news on U2 has been quiet, but one event in the music industry has quietly slipped under the radar. Earlier this month it was announced that U2's music label, Mercury Records, has been consolidated to an imprint label in name only, and is now merged within the newly formed Virgin EMI division as part of the Universal family, following recent music industry acquisitions and mergers. Of note, Jason Iley has left Mercury Records and set up his own business. When Iley left Island Records in 2005 to swap ships to sister label Mercury, it was the principal reason U2 left Island Records the following year to join him, as widely reported at the time. It will be interesting to see how this affects U2's relationship with Universal in the immediate future, with a new album due to be released in the final quarter of 2013, as revealed in a candid interview with Adam Clayton in the Irish music magazine Hot Press.
Another piece of news that might affect U2 comes from China. After nearly 35 years of touring and playing to more than 1,500 paying audiences in almost 40 countries, one territory the band has yet to play in is China. And if the latest reports from Chinese authorities are true, U2 might never play there.
In recent days, the legendary and influential German band Kraftwerk has been prevented from playing the Strawberry Festival that will take place in Beijing from April 29 to May 1. The reason? They were due to play the Tibetan Freedom Concert in 1998 in Washington, D.C. As it turns out, they never actually played, due to adverse weather conditions, but the fact that they were even on the announced lineup goes against Chinese policy, which does not allow acts that support Tibetan independence to play in China.
Logically, this means that a long list of bands will not be allowed to play in China, including U2, who played the 1997 Tibetan Freedom Concert in Randall's Island, N.Y. Let's hope this is not the case?
And finally, I hope you all have a wonderful Easter with your families and friends. For those fortunate enough to receive a visit from the Easter Bunny, and even those who have not, let me share these wonderful U2-related, calorie-free Easter Eggs!
Hope you enjoy!!! See you next time!
(c) @U2, 2013.