- 14 May 15
And on Same Sex Marriage Referendum, Bono says: “As far as I know, Jesus was never married."
There have been tech controversies, plane mishaps, biking accidents and family bereavements. But still U2’s iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour – in support of their thirteenth studio album Songs of Innocence – is set to kick off in Vancouver’s Rogers Arena later tonight.
The last time U2 played Vancouver was in October 2009, when they finished the first North American leg of 360 in BC Place Stadium. That was the highest-grossing tour of all time, with its 7.2 million tickets bringing in €653 million in sales, as the band played stadium audiences of up to 90,000 all around the world.
Tonight they’ll be playing just across the road in the home of the Vancouver Canucks ice hockey team, the 19,000-capacity Rogers Arena. It follows a deliberate decision on the band’s part to get back to playing smaller venues on this tour: in truth, there is only so much getting bigger that you can do before the whole thing explodes. Now however, the waiting nd the preparation is over. The band are officially about to hit the road...
“We just can’t wait to get going,” bassist Adam Clayton told Hot Press’ Olaf Tyaransen in Vancouver’s Chambar restaurant last night. “After all that’s happened, we just want to get this show on the road.”
If the band are raring to go, things are hotting up too in the hip Canadian city, designated the ideal starting place for the tour. In honour of the band choosing Vancouver to launch iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE this week, Corus Radio Vancouver’s Rock 101 will become U2 101 all day today. From 7 am to 11 pm the station will play back-to-back U2 songs, all in the name of love of the band.
The band made the transition from their base at Pacific Coliseum to Rogers Arena over the weekend. They have been in the city for many weeks, rehearsing at the East Vancouver stadium since mid-April. Reports to date suggest that the staging of the show is typically ambitious; on this score, tonight will surely reveal all...
Across the road from the main entrance to the Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver, the build-up to the opening date of iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour started last Monday, with fans beginning a pre-event vigil.
It’s something akin to people queuing outside Budget Travel looking for a cheap bargain in the Stephen’s Day sales, but the prize for these U2 fans – who all hold general admission tickets – is to be first in to the arena in order to secure seats close to the band.
A handwritten sign on a chain metal fence displays the nationalities present. They have flown in specially from Germany, Hungary, Sweden, Brazil, Mexico, New York, England, etc.
According to Atsuko Nikara from Tokyo, Japan: “We want to be as close as possible to the band. We love U2!”
Meanwhile Doolin’s Irish Pub on Nelson Street played host to almost 200 U2 fans who congregated there last night in advance of tonight’s show.
Bono meanwhile spoke briefly to journalists who congregated in Chambar’s with the band. I asked him for his views on the upcoming same sex marriage referendum, which takes place in Ireland on May 22.
“Trying to co-opt the word ‘marriage’ is like trying to co-opt the word ‘love’,” he told me. "You can’t own this. You can’t own it. Marriage is now an idea that transcends religion. It’s owned by the people. They can decide what defines it. It’s not a religious institution. As far as I know, Jesus was never married – and neither are most priests that talk about it.
“So it’s not a religious idea, necessarily. Marriage is one of the most impossible human traits… the hardest to hold on to. The idea that one community can own this, and another can’t, seems wrong to me.”
The countdown is on – in more ways than one...