U2 needs no introduction, The band has been pumping out critically acclaimed albums for 40 years. The Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby, and All That You Can’t Leave Behind have become the holy trinity of U2 records and have spawned multiple radio staples.
Bono and The Edge have become household names with the band constantly dipping their toes in global events, and rubbing elbows with world leaders. They have done some great things with the RED organization to assist in the fight against AIDS, as well as working with other entities to assist people in need.
The band just announced a world tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree record where they will be playing the album from front to back every night. To celebrate their global trek here are 5 fast facts that you need to know about U2.
1. Super Group Automatic Baby Performed U2’s “One” at Bill Clinton’s Inauguration in 1993
Donald Trump has been having a really hard time finding A list musicians to perform at the various inaugural balls and galas surrounding his inauguration on January 20th. This has not been the case in the past. In 2008, Obama had a ton of those musicians, but in 1993, change was in the air, and huge acts came out of the woodwork to perform for Bill Clinton.
Bill Clinton’s inauguration saw the original Fleetwood Mac reunite to perform Clinton’s campaign theme song “Don’t Stop.” MTV was also more of a heavyweight back then, and as Clinton brought a new energy to the youth of the country, they put together their own inaugural ball featuring Don Henley, En Vogue, Boyz II Men, 10,000 Maniacs and a special performance by Automatic Baby.
Automatic Baby was a supergroup of U2 and REM band members featuring Micheal Stipe, Mike Mills, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. The group’s name was a play on the two bands latest releases REM’s Automatic For the People and U2’s Achtung Baby. They performed the U2 anthem “One.”
2. U2’s 30th Anniversary Joshua Tree Tour sold 1.1 million tickets in 24 hours
U2 recently announced a tour for the 30th anniversary of the release of The Joshua Tree album. Live Nation has reported that 1.1 million tickets for the tour were sold in one single 24 hour period. The 30th anniversary tour will hit select cities in the US and Canada, and then move on to Europe.
Most tickets sold out in Europe on the first day with new shows added to the North American trek in Chicago, LA, and New Jersey due to such high demand. Tickets for general admission to the shows have been selling for $70, and the band is playing 50-100,000 capacity venues. Simple math shows this tour netting well over $100,000,000 for 2017 with U2 most likely being the biggest tour of the year.
The Joshua Tree is one of U2’s most successful records and spawned the singles “With Or Without You”, “Where the Streets Have No Name”, and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”
3. Their Performance at Live Aid, 1985 Cemented Their Entrance into the Global Music Spectrum
Live Aid 1985 was arranged by Bob Geldof and was set forth to raise money for African famine relief. The concert had too many international rock stars to account for, and sounds as if we are reading names straight from the walls of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. There were performances by David Bowie, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Pete Townshend, Paul McCartney, and Phil Collins just to name a few.
However, it was U2’s passionate performance that most people remember and put the band on the map. After their Live Aid performance their first four records charted back on the UK charts, and they established their name in the US, all lending it to the success of The Joshua Tree record two years later. And everyone remembers Bono’s glorious mullet!
4. The Zoo TV Tour Set the Bar for a Touring Rock Band
The Zoo TV tour was a huge process. The band set forth on an elaborate multimedia event for fans that included large video screens showcasing visual effects, video clips from pop culture, and large flashing text phrases across the stage. The tour was meant to provide sensory overload, and was a stark departure from the band’s previously stripped down performances.
Bono took a step away as well giving the limelight to several invented characters including “The Fly”, “Mirror-Ball Man”, and “MacPhisto” who served as ironic chariactures of rock stars. The characters prank phone called President Bush and the United Nations among others. The band also set up live satellite links to Sarajevo stirring up a bit of controversy.
The “Zoo TV Tour” was quite successful with the album Zooropa recorded during breaks in the tour.
5. The Band Released a Record with Brian Eno under the pseudonym Passengers
After the mega hits that were Achtung Baby, Zooropa, and the subsequent Zoo TV tour, the band took a much-needed break. In 1995, the band worked with Brian Eno, as a full partner, in a project titled Passengers. The album is on the more experimental side with Eno writing and performing along with the band.
The album takes the band in a totally new direction and the new name of the band was meant to differentiate the sound from U2. It was met with luke-warm reviews, but the single “Miss Sarajevo”, with Luciano Pavarotti, has been played live multiple times.