U2 Trade in Raleigh Concert for Louisville on Joshua Tree Tour 2017?

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2017-03-03)

On Friday January 6, 2017, the Friday before the dates were to be announced for the Joshua Tree 2017 Tour, a rumoured schedule of tour dates was shared with us from a reputable source. That advance schedule had a date in place for U2 in Raleigh, North Carolina. However, when the dates were finally announced on Monday of that week there was no longer any mention of the Raleigh concert, nor was there any show scheduled for that particular date. The rumour shared with us had Raleigh scheduled for a June 16, 2017 concert. Every other city mentioned on that initial list of shows was announced on January 9th when the tour was announced.

That date went unannounced for several weeks, but on January 30, 2017, it was announced that U2 would be playing Louisville, KY, and that date was set for June 16, 2017. That was the same date initially listed for Raleigh in the schedule shared in early January.

Now there is further confirmation about U2’s possible plans to play Raleigh, NC. In an article with BizJournals.com, North Carolina State University athletics director Debbie Yow explains that the so called “Bathroom Law” in North Carolina has had an impact on their budget:

“It has already hurt us,” she says. “We had a concert lined up that would have been here in June. And they passed on us and went to Louisville. We were in negotiations with them and as part of the negotiations, they finally got around to talking about HB2 and decided they didn’t want to bite this off.”

What is the only concert showing up on the schedule thus far for Louisville? U2.

Yow did not confirm that the concert was U2, however “Biz has confirmed it was U2.”

House Bill 2 is the bill that has been quite controversial, and has caused other acts to avoid North Carolina. Last April Bruce Springsteen canceled a show in Greensboro show over the same legislation, Ringo Starr has also canceled appearances in North Carolina. The state has also lost a 400-job expansion by PayPal, lost a number of conferences, and also lost the 2017 NBA All Star Game. It now seems like U2 is part of that list of lost opportunities.

The bill requires that transgender people in government buildings use bathrooms that match the sex on their birth certificate, and prevents local governments from taking steps to ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in employment and public accommodations.

U2 have been a supporter of gay rights in the past. Most recently, during the early stages of the Innocence and Experience tour, Bono spoke on several occasions in advance of Ireland’s Marriage Equality Referendum. “Marriage is nearly impossible. Wherever it is occurs it should be encouraged.” he said in Vancouver. In the lead up to the referendum, U2 posted an image on their Instagram account that said “In the name of Love…#vote yes”. After Ireland voted yes, U2 adopted “People Have the Power” as an opening song for each concert for the remainder of the tour. Bono also welcomed the so called “Queen of Ireland” onstage, prominant LGBT-rights activist Panti Bliss onto the #U2ieTour stage when the tour returned to Dublin that fall.

It’s not the first time U2 have missed a show in Raleigh. Twenty years ago on May 29, 1997, U2 were due to play a concert at Carter-Finley Stadium and it didn’t happen. The concert had to be cancelled due to weather damage to the screen on the PopMart tour sustained at the previous concert. The date was not rescheduled, and instead refunds were given. U2’s only concert in Raleigh, October 3, 2009, during the U2360 Tour also had some issues after traffic problems caused many fans to miss the opening of the show.

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