As you’re probably well aware by now, U2 announced details of their upcoming world tour, “U2360,” on Monday. It’s going to last for the guts of two years, so there should be plenty of opportunity for fans to catch them live.

The hometown crowd in Dublin is part of the European itinerary that kicks off at the end of June in Barcelona; Croke Park will provide the setting for what promises to be a great show on Friday, July 24.  It seems a sure thing that the band will add extra Irish dates to deal with a sure to be humungous demand, as the next show on the schedule doesn’t take place until a week later.

Here stateside, several stadium shows are confirmed – all the shows on the tour will be played in stadiums as opposed to arenas – starting with Soldier Field in Chicago on Saturday, September 12.  We’ll see them in Boston at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, September 20, and in New York at Giants Stadium on the 24th.

Other stops during September and October include Atlanta, Charlottes-ville, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.  After the U.S. leg ends the band will turn around and do it all again next year with more stadium shows here and in Europe.

The show will be staged in the round, utilizing all kinds of techno wizardry in the process.  And the tickets are definitely reasonably priced.

“U2 has always been at their best when surrounded by their audience, this staging takes a giant leap forward. With 85% of the tickets priced at less than *95 ($119.40), general admission floor tickets priced at *55 ($69.12) and at least 10,000 tickets at every venue priced at around *30 (37.70), we have worked very hard to ensure that U2 fans can purchase a great priced ticket with a guaranteed great view,” said U2 manager Paul McGuinness.

“U2360” will be sponsored by Research in Motion, makers of the BlackBerry.  The sponsorship deal is somewhat surprising seeing that U2 and Apple have always had a great relationship; U2 provided the launch pad for a new line of iPods a few years back during their “Vertigo” tour, and Apple responded in kind, offering a specially branded U2 iPod to fans.

But that was then, and this is now.  Bono is a big stakeholder in a firm, Elevation Partners, that owns a big steak in Palm . . . which is releasing a competitor to the iPhone in the near future.  That could provide one tantalizing clue as to why Apple and U2 are no longer.

The partnership, says McGuinness, will “lead to new and innovative ways to enhance the mobile music experience on the BlackBerry platform.”

“We look forward to sharing more details as the relationship unfolds,” he added.

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