Veteran Rolling Stone writer David Fricke caught up with Bono two days after U2 opened their European summer tour in Turin, Italy. Bono conducted the interview at his home in Nice, France, discussing getting back onstage after back surgery and U2’s future tour plans.
“I woke up on the morning of the show with a certain anxiety,” he tells Fricke. “I asked, ‘Can I hit those notes? Have I got it inside of me? Have we got what it takes to make this experience one that people will remember for the rest of their lives? Or is it going to be four over-rewarded musicians playing in a football stadium?’
“It's an unusual place to make magic. I was very nervous -- very, very nervous. We had done a rehearsal two nights previous. And I was okay. I got through it. But I'm used to total immersion. I'm not used to the feeling (of restraint) I had. I didn't like it.”
Bono also discussed with Fricke his feelings about the creative triumph and commercial disappointment of No Line on the Horizon, the band’s CD released last year.
“Having listened to it the other day, I can understand that. It's not very accessible, lyrically or musically,” he says.
“I don't know why we needed a record that intense. I like music to be joyous. But you're only in charge of a certain amount of what you're doing.
“So we put out a really difficult record. I would have to admit that. If I was a teenager, it would be like a European movie -- it's art house.”
There is light at the end of the horizon for Bono. He reports that fans are finally embracing the punk rock ethos of "Get On Your Boots,” the first single from Horizon that didn’t exactly set the world on fire.
The band is working on a flurry of songs and projects. By Bono’s estimation, they have enough music for a club record, an ambient collection and another rock album in the works. That doesn’t include the music from the Spider-man musical that is set to hit Broadway later this year.
U2 has debuted two songs on the European tour, "Return of the Sting Ray Guitar" and "Glastonbury."
“There are 25-30 songs,” he reports. “Now we have to decide how we go about releasing them. Do we release them in their groups? Chris Martin (of Coldplay) called me and said, ‘I hear you've got all these albums going. I have a great idea. Why not just pick the best songs from all of them and put them out now?’ And I'm like, ‘Hmm . . . ‘ (strokes his chin).
“By the time we hit America next year that's going to be great. Those people are going to have tickets to a whole new show with new songs. It's going to be very exciting next year.”
I know there are a lot of disappointed folks out there that are still holding onto tickets from the Giants Stadium concert that was cancelled in July. It looks as though we will be rewarded with a spiffy new show in 2011!