I’ve given myself a few days to calm down after reading on U2.com that the only gig in the UK and Ireland U2 will be doing in 2010 is the Glastonbury festival. Now I’ve been a fan since 1983, I can read shite like this from Ian McCulloch and know it’s more sour grapes than truth, I’ve been angry with U2 over various things over the years but this has taken the biscuit for me (what a strange phrase that is!).
1. First off everyone was encouraged to re-subscribe early (five months early in my case) in order to get new presales for the 2010 tour. This made U2.com seems more like a ticket agency than anything else, I thought we paid a sub for the fan club of which a presale allocation was a possible perk? To me this was clearly a way to add to the coffers by getting expensive subscriptions early, and in a time of real financial hardship for most ordinary fans, I felt that was out of order. I didn’t re-sub and will not be doing so in March when it is due, bye bye U2.com.
2. So then there’s the announcement of Glastonbury, great (though I think it will be a tricky gig for them) but all the tickets sold out when released in October. So no U2 fans who didn’t already have Glasto tickets will be able to see U2 play there.
3. And then there’s the announcement that there will be no other gigs in the UK or Ireland. Some people say well we shouldn’t expect them to play, I don’t feel that way, I’ve always said I expect good albums and good gigs from U2, that’s their job. And when other countries the band played this year (Germany, Spain, France, USA, Canada) get more gigs in 2010 I expect that for the UK and Ireland too. They may go back on this and play at least in Ireland, I hope they do, Larry mentioned looking for somewhere in Northern Ireland to play and there were rumours of the tour finishing in Ireland. Bono often talks about his “tribe” being there, maybe the band should remember they are Irish a bit more often!
4. So what about all the fans in the UK and Ireland who resubscribed just so they would get presales for shows in their country? Well they are left pretty much high and dry, all presales for European shows except two have gone ahead and only a handful of dates have not sold out (and I’m pretty sure what’s left will be the most expensive tickets). So even if they were able to afford to travel, they are restricted to two gigs where they can use their presales to purchases tickets. Maybe more shows will be added to the tour, I hope so for the fans’ sakes.
5. A friend of mine has said she feels she is “losing” the U2 she’s loved for as long as I have and I know what she means. I’m still a fan, but my relationship with the band is being tested. I read this on @U2 and at times it touched on some of the things I feel too. I felt they were often speaking for me, they inspired me and I respected a lot of things they stood for. I still feel those things, but the latter is fast being eroded as the corporate side of U2 becomes ever more obvious.
6. The U2 Organisation has become all powerful and seems to be driven mainly by commercial values now. Don’t get me wrong the band needs to make money and profits, and needs an organisation behind them, but now that seems to be becoming more important than anything else. Bono once said that you have to be careful that in order to to defeat the monster you don’t become a monster. I think the U2 organisation (and by default U2 themselves as what it does is in their name) has now become that monster and there’s a danger that it will swallow U2 and all the special things that makes the band unique.