Tickets go on sale Saturday for U2’s Tour; Foxboro to be closest Stop

Hartford Courant (1997-02-13)

New York — Tickets go on sale Saturday for the two nearest dates in what’s likely to be 1997’s biggest tour.

Attention Kmart shoppers: The U2 Pop Mart tour will stop at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on May 31. The only New England stop will be Foxboro Stadium in Massachusetts on July 1. Additional dates are likely at both sites.

To emphasize the garish mix of shopping carts and guitars that will be emblematic of the “giant, sci-fi disco supermarket setting,” members of U2 announced the dates — and played a song — at a downtown New York City Kmart Wednesday, representing the biggest blue light special the Astor Place store has ever seen.

“We’re here to sell our tour to the world,” guitarist The Edge told the international press corps, set up in the lingerie section. “Where better than at Kmart to do that?”

From a video preview of the stage setup, it looks to be another mega multisensory event, with a huge video screen, a towering Golden Arch and an abundance of glitter balls, including a mammoth glittering lemon from which the Irish band will descend.

“It’s an expensive tour, and we’re prepared to spend on it,” said lead singer Bono in yellow-tinted wraparound sunglasses and black leather jacket with tie. “It costs a fortune to look so trashy.”

The excess on stage is meant to “make fun of playing in places so big,” Bono says. But playing smaller arenas or amphitheaters is not an option, he says. “If we played small venues, we’d be on the road a long time, and a lot of people want to see us play.”

It’s a bit of a gamble to put the tour dates on sale eight months from now, two weeks before the band’s new album is released. But “Discotheque,” the new single, made its debut at No. 10 in America and is No. 1 in England. The band played its flip single, “Holy Joe,” before the Kmart crowd, which also included a few fans.

Bono said the tour will include a number of old U2 songs as well as about eight tunes from the forthcoming album, “Pop,” due out March 4.
The tour starts April 25 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas; Foxboro will be the last stop of the first North American leg. After dates in Europe in the summer and fall, including a Sarajevo stop Sept. 23, the tour returns to North America for dates at the Toronto Skydome Oct. 26 and the Seattle Kingdome Dec. 11. Dates in South America, Australia and the Far East are planned for 1998. There is no word on opening acts for any of the dates.

MTV and VH1 will underwrite the U.S. stops on the 100-date world tour, so tickets will first be available on those networks beginning Friday night. Prices are $52.50 and $37.50, said Michael Cohl, who will be promoting the tour worldwide.

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