The Crystal Ball: A Look Forward

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2022-10-09)

Please note: This article includes information about projects which have not been announced. Until such time there are official announcement, regardless of the sources of the information, we mark these as rumours.

Bono performed at The New Yorker Festival on Friday night, October 7, 2022. Musically he was accompanied by Kate Ellis on cello and Jacknife Lee on percussion and keyboards. Ellis is a Dublin based musician, the artistic director of the Crash Ensemble, and she has worked with Gavin Friday in the past including work on his album Catholic. Jacknife Lee first worked with U2 on 2004’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and has produced many other artists including Taylor Swift, R.E.M., Snow Patrol and currently has his own musical project, Telefis. (Telefis has just released the album A Dó.) The pair will also be touring with Bono for his “Stories of Surrender” tour in November.

During the show in New York the trio performed “Vertigo”, “City of Blinding Lights” and “With or Without You.” They have a number of other songs they are working on for the November shows. The evening in New York gave a small glimpse into what is being developed for Bono’s solo tour. Joe O’Herlihy, U2’s longtime sound guru was present at the event in New York City working in the role of sound man once again.

We are updating information about the “Stories of Surrender” tour, and the related promotional appearances in our Show Archive. We have been asked if we expect additional dates to be added to the book tour. We are not aware of any additional shows that will be added. If you have an extra ticket there are many fans out there who were shut out of buying their own, so please if we can help you get it into hands of a fellow fan, please let us know.

Asked when U2 will be back on the road together, fans were told by various people at the event on Friday that the band’s next appearances will be the Las Vegas shows in 2023.

We are told it is likely these dates at the MSG Sphere will start in September / October and will run for about three months. U2 are expected to be playing multiple shows, but these will not be back-to-back shows on consecutive nights. Early rehearsals for these shows will start in the summer.

If the band do have any plans for bigger venues next year, as has been rumoured in a number of locations, it’s likely some sort of one off appearance, and not part of a bigger tour. Expect dates for the Las Vegas shows to be announced early next year once opening dates can be guaranteed for a building that is still under construction. We expect a full tour of stadiums to follow the next album, which is expected late next year.

The other big news of last week were rumours that U2 may be moving to a new management company. We stress may, as it appears the deal is not final yet with the new company mentioned. The band have been managed by Guy Oseary since 2013. Up until the end of August it appeared that the relationship continued to be quite friendly. The news that they would be moving to a new management company appeared to come quite suddenly.

The management company that U2 are in discussion with is Full Stop Management, chaired by Irving Azoff. Azoff is the former CEO of Ticketmaster and was executive chairman of Live Nation Entertainment. In 2020 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a winner of the Ahmet Ertegun Award. The same year he left Live Nation, but continued to provide consulting services after his departure. Full Stop Management is run with Azoff’s son Jeffrey, and clients include Harry Styles, Lizzo, Mark Ronson, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and Gwen Stefani.

Azoff will not be taking over the relationships U2 has with Univeral Music / Island Records for releasing music, nor their touring relationship with Live Nation. If finalized, the management group would take over the day to day planning and advisement of the group. Azoff is also tied to the MSG Sphere venue in Las Vegas where the band is playing a residency next year. Azoff has a long-term deal with MSG to consult on their properties, and will be involved in booking the new venue.

Bono has a busy month of November planned out with his book tour, but also expect an announcement of U2’s next release, Songs of Surrender. While the focus is on Bono’s book and his tour for the book right now, we expect the album will be announced shortly after the book is published. We are told that the record has been pressed and could appear in stores “at any time”. Jacknife Lee, who will be touring with Bono on the upcoming book tour is one of the producers who is rumoured to have worked on this album of recreated U2 songs. Daniel Lanois, and Howie B are also rumoured to have been involved.

The release is said to have new recordings of all 40 songs that Bono has used for chapter titles in his book. So far we know the following are in the book, “Out of Control”, “11 O’Clock Tick Tock”, “Two Hearts Beat As One”, “Bad”, “One”, “Beautiful Day” and “Iris (Hold Me Close)” – these have been revealed through promotional appearances and reviews of the book.

Some possible titles are also known. “Luminous Times” appears in the text on the back cover of the book, “Another Time, Another Place” was the title on the cover of The New Yorker except of the book. “The Showman”, “Cedarwood Road”, “Stories for Boys” and “October” have all been the focus of a countdown to the book that is being done on U2’s social media channels. “Vertigo”, “City of Blinding Lights” and “With or Without You” were all performed as part of the book event on Friday night. “40” is the other obvious one, there are 40 chapters after all. In New York, Bono mentioned that 40 is a special number to him. Other possibilities? “Moment of Surrender” and “Surrender” are two songs in the band’s back catalog…

Bono spent last week filming and recording press relating to the book which should come out the week of the books release.

We know he spent multiple hours in a private studio at SiriusXM recording material for the station, including some sort of interview, as well as other spoken pieces.

He was also spotted filming with David Letterman while in New York. It is expected that this was for the next season Letterman’s Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. He’s also recorded an interview with Rachel Martin on NPR while in town.

There is also a documentary being filmed to accompany Surrender, and the accompanying “Stories of Surrender” tour. Filming was spotted on Cedarwood Road a few weeks back as Bono visited the house he grew up in. The event Friday night at The New Yorker festival was also captured on film. We are told Bono has also filmed some footage at Webster Hall in New York this week, which used to be the Ritz, where U2 played one of their first concerts in 1980. No information has been released on when this documentary may air, and we are told that it will continue to film through the upcoming book tour.

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