Am Freitag (24.10.) veranstalteten U2 in Oberhausen ein exklusives Fan-Event, “Unplugged & Talk”. Die Band spielte Stücke live, natürlich auch aus ihrem aktuellen Album “Songs Of Innocence”, und beantwortete Fragen. Unter anderem, warum die vier Musiker noch nie in Düsseldorf aufgetreten sind, zu kommenden Setlists, und ob sie den “Achtung Baby”-Song “Acrobat” jemals live darbieten werden.
U2tour.de haben auf ihrer Website einen kompletten, exklusiven Mitschnitt des von Michael Mittermaier moderierten Gesprächs, das ROLLING STONE mit freundlicher Genehmigung abbilden darf.
Question: [Mittermeier to Bono:] I remember the night of the Electric Burma concert in Dublin two years ago. I was there, it was a great concert and a very long night. And you told me “today we are going to have the first session of writing new songs” and that you had to go there because you promised. Well, I thought this is a good spirit to go writing songs on a night like this ,you know perhaps this was really the start for [..] you know, good energy
[Bono]: Yeah, she was a blessing, Aung San Suu Kyi, she is the best thing, she came to thank Amnesty International and U2 fans for the campaign for her release for years – also throughout the 360° tour you might remember this campaign to release Aung San Suu Kyi. She came to Dublin and thanked us and there was her beautiful spirit in the room, and the holy spirit, and a few Irish whiskeys as spirits also. And we went and we began recording the next day, slightly hoarse, but some great songs have come out of that kind of place.
Question: [Mittermeier:] Do you remember: were you angry when you came there the first day? Were you like “Oh my God”? [laughter] Do you remember the first session at all?
[Edge]: I have to say this was the very very first time Bono was ever late for a recording session [laughter] and the very first time I saw Bono show up when he definitely had a drink too much. One of those strange appearances [laughter]
Question: [Mittermeier] There are a lot of questions from the audience. My assistant Nina is passing the microphone..
[Audience member] Are we ever gonna hear Acrobat played live? [big audience applause]
[Edge]: You know we’ve had a few requests for Acrobat recently so we have to take that one out and learn how to play it. I remember recording that one and it actually came together pretty quickly, so maybe…
[Bono reciting first lines of Acrobat]
Question: [Audience member] My question goes out to Larry. Larry this is the cover of the first CD I’ve ever bought. It was 25 years ago when I was twelve years old. Every member of U2 is on the cover but you. You know I took all the journeys all over Europe, German, to Ireland and I never met you. Would you do accept my request tonight and give me an autograph on this cd cover?
[Larry]: How much cash have you got?[laughter]
[Bono]A bit of a pay. He’s always workin’!
[Mittermeier] Always earning money! [laughter]
Question: [Mittermeier]Was the decision to do unplugged shows made two years ago while you did the 360° tour – it was so beautiful- I saw it many times by the way- or did this idea come up after the concerts or during the beginning of the songwriting process? Or did you maybe decide that just two weeks ago?
[Adam] Uhm, yes. [laughter] We said, after 360 let’s make the 450 [laughter] But yeah, the process of going back and writing songs, for us it was about songs that we could play in this environment, songs that we could add into the set and have a residence and songs we could kinda live with the next ten or 15 years.
[Bono] The future looks good.
Question: [Audience member]: You’ve always been about emotional songs. But these songs are now, are very private and very intimate in many ways. Isn’t it difficult to perform that in front of so many people. I mean you are totally spilling everything that matters do you. Isn’t that hard sometimes?
[Bono]: Yeah, there is a very good reason not to do it [laughter}, many reasons and I often think when I am waking up in the morning and having the horrors, laying there and you ask yourself why would you put yourself through this? But, when I was growing up I’d love those songwriters that spoke like this and John Lennon was the inspiration to me. When I was in my bedroom and see me grow and look out the windows, John Lennon was whispering in my ear in the most intimate songs. These songs were like prayers to his lover or just his confusion. And I kind of made a promise to myself and then I guess to you, to our audience, who has given us so much, to go and not to hold back. It’s strange but some songs are hard to escape once you get in them. They really are. There are a couple of these on this album they are still singing me two hours later and, well, this is a bit mad. It’s our job.
Question: [Audience member]: Hi guys: I am not so sure whether I love more your beautiful music or your beautiful country. I was in Dingle this year, my favourite part of Ireland. And I’d like to know what’s your favourite spot in Ireland if you want to get away from it all?
[Bono]: This is a funny thing. I was in Dingle earlier this year. There are more Germans than Irish people. By the way, the people of Dingle and indeed the people of Ireland are very pleased because there is a deep connection with your love for folk music and the lyric tradition and I think that’s what started people coming to Ireland, the Germans came to Ireland in the 70ies. Nevertheless, I once heard a story from a man who was very heightened [breathing deeply in] because [verstellt Stimme] They are coming here because when the nuclear blast happens, the winds have been proven to avoid West Cork and they are building their bunkers here for when the nuclear blast happens. [Bono voice] When’s the nuclear blast? [verstellt Stimme]Any day now…
Question: [Audience member] Everyone is looking forward to seeing you on tour, I hope next year. Are you coming to Germany and if yes, why have you never played in Duesseldorf?
[Larry] We are not playing in Duesseldorf, are we? Oh you mean in the past, why haven’t we played Duesseldorf. Well that’s a really, really good question [laughter]
[Mittermeier]: Because they performed in Cologne, you know?!Cologne or Duesseldorf, I know. [laughter and a bit of banter]
[Bono] I know, it’s unforgivable. Because if you think of the people who were so important to us that came out of Duesseldorf [laughter] You’re laughing. But the most important characters, Conny Plank, the musical genius, the band Kraftwerk was hugely important for us. The first gift I gave to my now-wife, my then-girlfriend – my lover’s gift was Kraftwerk “Mensch-Maschine” So,I think we should go to Duesseldorf just for Kraftwerk’s reasons.
Question: [Mittermeier] One more question. I recently came across a trailer on the internet for The Walking Dead, my favourite TV Show, having your Song “The Troubles”. Did you decide that or, generally speaking , do you get to know when someone uses your music in a trailer?
[Bono]: Norman Reedus (actor in TWD) is a friend of ours. So we know the people on The Walking Dead and we were like..
[Mittermeier] : It’s a nice line: ‘We know the people in the Walking Dead’ [laughter] Next question from someone?
Question: [Sabine u2tour.de]: Hi, my name is Sabine from u2tour.de, the biggest German website, we were wondering, whether you follow U2 websites worldwide, how much do you read about it and how much do you care?
[Edge]: Well, we really appreciate all the fansites, because they do good service of sharing information and it’s just a great expression or we feel its a great expression in regard that our music is helping. And that means a lot to us and yeah, we do connect, we do listen, read and see what’s going on up there and it’s always fun to see what people are picking up on, the new songs, the new lyrics and the connections being made. I’m always amazed how quick and astute people are, you know we sometimes think “No, they won’t get this” – it’s always amazing how quickly people get those little connections.
[Sabine]: Thank you.
[Bono]: I have a filter. It’s necessary for survival. So I get to see only the really great things, the smart great things and the really smart crap things. And I don’t see the rest. So I will know what’s going on when there is some insight, some ideas that passed around for the concerts or through the websites. I will always check in. But sometimes it’s better for me not to visit such places, as I could get mugged, emotionally.
Question: [Dirk u2tour.de] Thank you for this amazing gig. My question is to Larry. How do you put together the setlists for a new tour? Considering the favorite tunes of the die-hard following fans and the one-time concert goers and also the favorite tunes of each member of U2? How do you put together the setlists?
[Larry]: It’s going to be difficult to put the new setlist together, that’s for sure. I think on this record there are a lot of good songs, and selfishly I’d like to think that a lot of the new songs will replace a lot of the older songs because they can’t be there all the time, so what I’d like to think is if we do three or four shows in the same place that we would change the set for every night completely. [cheering]
[Bono] [Jokingly]: This is kind of news to the others.
[Mittermeier]: This would be my question, did they [the other band members] know?
[Bono]: The three of us would stand in front of Larry and that’s a very heavy foot he has there. I think, I’d be interested to know what setlists would come out of the fansites, that would be really helpful to know what are the favourite songs.
[Sabine]: We can provide that, no problem.
Question: [Mittermeier] Thank you for playing ” Stuck In A Moment”. I remember the moment when I did the support for you in Berlin at the Waldbuehne and the next day you did the shooting of the video “Stuck In A Moment.” And I was really stuck and confused, so thank you for this song, because I didn’t expect this one, because it’s not one of these songs you’d think….
[Bono]: It’s not on the new album is what you’re saying.
[Mittermeier]: No, why this one? What was the decision behind this?
[Edge]: Yes, we thought long and hard. We figured out, it’s the only one we can play. That’s the only reason.
[Mittermeier]: Thank you for being honest. So these five Songs of Innocence are the ones you actually can play.
[Bono]: It helps if you know how to read and write. It’s the lyric. The idea of looking for “…a decent melody / A song that I can sing in my own company”. That was our modus for this whole album, so this seems perfectly in tune. Looking for songs that you can hold on to and that hold on to you, that’s kind of the thing… and that we could play it.
Question: [Croatian audience member] Hi folks. First I have to thank you that you played two shows in my home country Croatia in 2009, great shows. Bono, is it true that you have once hidden Shane McGowan, the singer of The Pogues in your house, because he has had troubles with the Irish tax?
[Bono]: Shane is a very fine man. Many years ago, Shane stayed in our house. When he was moving back to Dublin and before he got his own place. It’s a great thing to me, whenever we meet Shane we feel very blessed, he one of our most sacred talents and he loves all kinds of music and he would always try to be at a U2 show and offer us support. So we love Shane.
[Mittermeier]: We thank you! I think, because it’s a very intimate album, I am not thanking U2 for this concert, but I thank The Edge, Bono, Larry and Adam. It was great. [cheering]