U2’s last tour, 360, was the highest-grossing tour of all time with 7.2 million tickets bringing in $736 million in sales.
But while that tour took place in stadiums filled with up to 80,000 to 90,000 people a night, the group’s new tour, iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE, which begins in Vancouver on Thursday, will be a series of intimate indoor gigs playing to around 20,000 people a night.
One issue that hangs over the tour is Bono’s health. The frontman suffered a serious cycling injury last November in Central Park in New York. The frontman broke his arm in six places and fractured his eye socket, hand and shoulder blade.
The Irish Times reports that he can’t bend two of the fingers on his left hand and his injuries are so bad he may never play guitar again.
Concert-goers will see the band’s most stripped-down show yet. A single light bulb is the opening image of the performance in Vancouver on May 14th. The show is narrative-driven, focusing on the band’s “innocence” for the first half and in the second half, as U2 moves from the main stage via a giant walkway to the opposite end of the arena, the “experience” stage.
While last year’s album "Songs of Innocence" focused largely on the band’s early Dublin days, the next album "Songs of Experience" is expected to explore the group’s experiences in the 1980s, such as the Live Aid concert and the "Joshua Tree" album. U2 is traveling with a movie recording unit, so they can finish "Songs of Experience" while on tour.
Running until August in North America and from September until November in Europe, the tour involves 70 dates in 20 cities. It has already sold 98 percent of its 1.2 million tickets, including six nights in a row at Madison Square Garden, in New York. The band is expected to play in Dublin but no dates have been confirmed.
No dates have been announced beyond November this year, but it is possible the tour will go outdoors into stadiums in 2016, with a return to the U.S., more European dates, and perhaps dates in South America and Australasia, the Irish Times reports.