A one-two punch from the legendary rock band U2 may be in the works during the coming year.
Larry Mullen, Jr., U2's drummer, spilled the beans this past week when he announced the band's tentative plans to do a short tour of the U.S. and Europe next year, immediately followed by a trip back into the studio for another new album.
Also, the grand stadium rock opera stagings of ZOO-TV and PopMart may be a thing of the past as U2 stokes up the engines for the tour in support of their October release, All That You Can't Leave Behind.
Mullen confirmed reports the new tour will focus on indoor arenas rather than outdoor stadiums (there are, however, rumors of one notable exception: a gig at Slane Castle in Dublin). The plan at the moment is to kick off the tour in late April or early May, spending a few months in America and a few months in Europe.
"We're just going to see how we feel and how we're getting on," Mullen said. "We've got a lot of songs and we've got some ideas about maybe going back into the studio quickly and doing another record. I think that'll be kind of nice."
Following the logistical and technical juggernauts of U2's last two world tours, the band wants to take things in yet another direction. "We just felt we had enough art, we had enough big concepts," Bono explained. "This was just going to be about tunes and songs that, when played on the radio, might change the temperature of the room a little bit."
The scaled-down tour also plays into the band's desire to be closer to the fans. "We don't want to be in that situation that rock stars find themselves in where they see the world through the plate glass window," Bono said.
With the heavily choreographed antics of acts such as 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys dominating the market, many question the ability of more straightforward rock music to top the charts. In a stab at musical diplomacy, Bono said he does like pop music and acknowledges there is some innovative music out there, particularly in rhythm and blues.
"I just don't want to see them running the pop charts for the rest of our lives," Bono said of the boy bands. "We are the men, they are the boys, move over. Thank you very much," Bono told VH-1's audience at the premiere of the band's video for their new single, Beautiful Day.
A new energy and buzz is surrounding the band, in part because they've taken what they've learned from the progressive, techno endeavors of Achtung Baby, Zooropa, and Pop and have, as Bono has described, advanced "toward a stripped-down sound."
"We went into the record like it was Tamla-Motown," Mullen said, referring to the Motown tradition of preparing the songs, rehearsing, and working out the kinks upfront, so less time is required recording in the studio. "It was an exciting record to make, and it should be exciting to take on the road."
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