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"Thirty years ago, The Joshua Tree found common ground by reaching for the higher ground," explains Bono. "This is a tour for red and blue, the coast and the heartland ... because music can pull people together as surely as politics can pull people apart."

We've got the questions, Bono has the answers.


A tour to celebrate an album from 30 years ago? That’s not like U2. Where’d that idea come from?

Haha, nostalgia is a thing of the past, as Edge is always telling me… and it’s true! As a band we are not known for the rear view mirror… I suppose that changed with the writing of Songs of Innocence. It kind of forced us and me in particular to look back. I began to think that indeed the past is a place worth a visit, even if only a fleeting one, as not to spend any time there can really mess with your ability to deal with the future. Not trying to be clever here, just sometimes, to quote one of my favourite writers – Eminem – you’ve got to go back to tidy your room. The Joshua Tree Tour is a recent idea… it started out as us just doing one or two shows, maybe even a festival for fun, but the more we thought about it, the more excited we got, and the more apt the subject matter of those songs felt for these times.

By the way, a lot of fans in South America, in Australia, in New Zealand, in Japan are asking how come Europe and North America get to see U2 again so soon.

It’s not fair… that’s for sure. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the band feel as disappointed as our fans about taking so long to get to some of our favourite places on earth. All I can say is we are working on it! Thanks for being so patient. 

You were pretty outspoken politically at those two US shows in September and October. Some people didn’t appreciate an Irish band ‘intervening’ in their election? Will we see more of that in the Joshua Tree tour?

In the US election… as an Irish band, we clearly didn’t have a vote but we had a voice and wanted to use it to speak out against what we thought was runaway rhetoric, dangerous stuff … But in a democracy the people get the last word - and that's the way it should be.  I opposed Trump while all the time understanding that many of the people who support him are the kind of people I grew up with, and can see myself in to this day. In my head at least the election result demanded I ask myself several questions:

Am I missing something here? 
Am I out of touch with American values?
Am I out of touch with the American people?  

It's clear a giant constituency in the country felt ignored or patronised… they are fearful of the future, as are a growing number of Europeans.  I understand and respect that, and I want to try and understand those fears better. Against type, I’m a rockstar who doesn’t like to be surrounded by people who agree with me (at least all the time), which is why I joined a band and I’m still married! Haha 

Our audience have always been fiesty, they often disagree with us and each other. I would like to think that everyone who loves their country would feel welcome at a U2 show, however differently they love it. And I think a little humility might be important for me here. I certainly want to understand better what just happened, but I’m going to do that without crossing what are bright lines for me, things like standing against the demonising of immigrants or refugees. I’m Irish for God's sake.  

Edge said the world changed irrevocably whilst we were trying to finish off Songs of Experience and that we needed a moment to take that fact in. I think he’s right. He’s also right when he says the reasons our albums have lasted the test of time is, ironically, that the best of them can find a truth in the moment they were made that’s constant in changing times…

As for the Joshua Tree Tour, my hope is that number 1: it is a transcendent night of rock n roll. Number 2, if I were let to have even more lofty ambitions for this rock show, I would love if it became an opportunity for our audience and ourselves to ask the question - what is it these days to be an American or a European?… Thirty years ago, 'The Joshua Tree' found common ground by reaching for the higher ground. This is a tour for red and blue, the coast and the heartland ... because music can pull people together as surely as politics can pull people apart. It’s a great canvas and it would be amazing if it could still be a high voltage meditation on what’s happening now.

What happened to Songs of Experience? I thought it was finished? Can we expect it in the current century?

Ha, yes… possibly even this decade. The band have forbidden me from talking about deadlines and release dates. I can tell you that Songs of Experience is a very personal album, but that intimacy still needs the frame of a more anxious edgy world because that is where a lot of people are at this moment…

Throw us a bone - give us the title of one of the new songs… and a lyric. Are you going to play some of the new songs on TJTT?

Might. My favourite at the moment is “The Little Things That Give You Away”. Here’s a couple of verses: 

"The night gave you a song,
a light had been turned on, 
You walked out in the world
like you belonged there
As easy as a breeze, 
each heart was yours to tease
Is it only me who sees there’s something wrong here
It’s the little things that give you away
The words you cannot say
Your big mouth in the way
It’s the little things that reveal and betray 
Has the hunter now become the prey
It’s the little things, the little things
That give you away
I saw you on the stairs
You didn’t notice I was there
That’s cos you were busy talking at me
Not to me
You were high above the storm
A hurricane being born
But this freedom, it might cost you your liberty 
It’s the little things that give you away
The words you cannot say 
Your big mouth in the way 
It’s the little things that reveal and betray 
Has the hunter now become the prey 
It’s the little things, the little things that give you away" 

Theres a very big tangent at the end of this this, that’s very revealing – but that’s enough for now.

I heard something about another one-off show this year, with the smallest audience ever known at a U2 show… Just Julia Roberts, was it?

No, there are two different (RED) Omaze experiences – one is tea with myself and Julia Roberts. I feel like I won every competition I ever entered just to be in her company. She’s the real deal. A friend and a comrade for many years. Except she still looks like the first time I met her in the 80s and I, well, I’m happy not to stay in the 80s…
The other prize is the band playing just for you and a friend. Might break our all time record for smallest show, which was in Bristol on our first tour of the UK – 11 people – but we’re happy to break that record for (RED).

COMMENTS

39
garyquintana
12 January, 2017
Truth
My grandmother was a immigrant from Mexico and she started the great life for all my family. We just tired of these politions repressing us as American citizens. The need for an outsider (Trump) is maybe for a good ride. L8
the94dan
12 January, 2017
Single Please?
Can we get a single at least, please? The more you delay and tinker the more that spark of a new song diminishes...
heartsandsoul
12 January, 2017
The power of music
"Because music can pull people together" <--- that's true! Good luck with the TJTT tour (see you in Amsterdam 29/7) and the preparations for the new album! Best regards and lot of love, Marc
Shannon387
12 January, 2017
Hi Bono!
Great to hear from Bono. I'm loving the lyrics so far. I can see that fitting in to life in a number of ways... looking forward to hearing more about SOE. I absolutely cannot wait to see The Joshua Tree 2017 concert! I was too young to attend the original. It means a lot to me that I'm getting the chance now. Can't wait!
yardie
12 January, 2017
Loving the Lyric.
Great lyric. Thanks for sharing.
juttakraus
12 January, 2017
Great interview
Great interview, Bono.... True words and statements. I'm really looking forward to the show in Berlin, got the tickets today. I will be traveling about 600 kilometers to Berlin, but that doesn't matter. See you in Berlin! Lots of love, Jutta
datbear
12 January, 2017
Glorify The Past, When The Future Dries
I'm more interested in a 30th anniversary Dalton Brothers tour
u2freak74
12 January, 2017
oh my..
Thanks for this insight! I can not wait to see my heroes again ... to the Joshua Tree Tour! Oh my ... a dream come true !!!!!!
misspatro
12 January, 2017
Thank you!
Thank you for your massage and giving us an update... We have your back and you have ours! Love from Stockholm x
   Newer comments    31 - 39 of 39    Older comments

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