The Crystal Ball: What the Future Holds

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2017-06-26)

In case you missed it, as part of the announcement of the final show in Brazil, to be held October 22, 2017, U2.Com included a carefully worded announcement:

A third and final night in Brazil, at Estadio Do Morumbi, has been set for Sunday October 22nd  - and it’s also confirmed that this will be the final date of #U2TheJoshuaTree2017.

Final date. As in the last stop of the tour. That’s a pretty good sign that at this point The Joshua Tree 2017 has reached its end with the shows in Brazil and will not be extended again. It does not however rule out more dates being added before that date, but does suggest none will be added after. Add to that reports from sound engineer Joe O’Herlihy that they will get to Australia for the Songs of Experience tour, and a report by Alan Cross that the band would not be going to South East Asia with the current tour, and it looks like The Joshua Tree tour will not be heading out to further stops.

Alan Cross also reported on a gathering in Toronto for radio people prior to the U2 show:

There was a quiet private gathering of radio people ahead of Friday’s U2 show at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Bono, the Edge and Adam each dropped in on their own to do some schmoozing and to answer some questions. As usual, they were fun, affable and extremely polite–not to mention very complimentary about all things Canadian.

This is one in a series of listening events we have heard about happening at various locations across North America in recent weeks. We’ve been told that The Edge and Adam Clayton were present at one of these radio sessions in Philadelphia, and that Bono was present at a similar session in another location. For those early events we are told they were previewing tracks from Songs of Experience for label executives and radio personalities. We are told they played five to six songs in the earlier sessions, and in Toronto they may have played as many as eight songs from the new album. Sounds to us like the new album is done, and knowing how fast things can change in the USA after the delays due to the election, U2 may push through to get this album out soon after this current tour ends.

Adam Clayton recently told Variety:

[Songs of Experience] has been ready to go for awhile, because it didn’t require a lot of surgery, so to speak — it was a little bit of cosmetic surgery. So we said, “We could put this record out this year, or we could celebrate ‘The Joshua Tree’ and put out the [new] record when all that’s done, and then plan a tour around it and all the things that go along with a new album.” The only spoiler is that ‘The Joshua Tree’ tour has been an enormous, runaway success and we just keep adding dates. So the answer to your question is, [“Songs of Experience”] is ready to go, but at this point I’m not sure when it’s going to go because the tour is still up and running.

We’ve shared some recent rumours that have been shared with us that the album, Songs of Experience, will be ready and will be released for December 1, 2017. Not only is that a Friday, but it is also World AIDS Day, and there may be a bigger plan to tie the album into that. We’ve also been told that there would be two singles in advance, one to mark the start of the European leg of the tour next month, and another one in September just after the third leg begins. We have, however, received a conflicting report that the July single may have been pushed back to September instead. We will continue to update as we have more information. All of the rumours have suggested the new single will not be the new song that U2 is playing live in concert, but will be a different track from the album. Until such time that any of this is confirmed please remember that this is all rumour. But it is shared with us from sources which have been reliable in the past.

It looks like U2 is wrapping up The Joshua Tree 2017 Tour, and getting ready to release Songs of Experience. Bono even announced last night, “We’ve got a new album coming. Is it finished Edge?” to which Edge says its nearly finished, before the band plays “The Little Things That Give You Away” to end the show.

Update: June 30, 2017.

There have been reports of listening sessions for the new album that have been held in both Boston and New Jersey. These sessions, like the ones before were held for people in the radio business. The session in New York included five new songs, including “Red Flag Day”. Reports say that those gathered at these sessions were told the single would arrive in September.

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