- 15 Mar 21
U2 are marking St. Patrick’s Day 2021, with a new, updated version of the concert film of their legendary Slane gigs in 2001 – one of four special YouTube shows lined-up, in what they are calling U2: The Virtual Road. And the band are joined by support acts that include current Irish hotshots, Dermot Kennedy and Fontaines D.C.
YouTube, Island Records, Interscope, UMe, and UMC have announced 'U2: The Virtual Road', a series of four concerts broadcast for the first time exclusively on the band’s YouTube channel for 48 hours only.
'U2: The Virtual Road' marks the first time that three of these concerts – Slane, Red Rocks and Mexico – have been made available digitally. Each gig will feeature enhanced visuals and remastered audio, alongside all-new opening act performances from Dermot Kennedy, Fontaines D.C., Carla Morrison and Feu! Chatterton.
Acknowledged as one of the best live acts in the world, U2 have released 14 studio albums and have over 157 million sales under their belt, alongside 22 Grammy Awards.
The first concert will broadcast on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, 2021. 'U2 Go Home: Live From Slane Castle' celebrates the band’s return to the legendary Irish concert site on September 1st, 2001 for their first performance on the banks of the River Boyne in over twenty years. This is the same Slane Castle that is home to the Slane Distillery – from which Hot Press broadcast the first of the Slane Sessions on Saturday night, featuring THUMPER, with special guest Damien Dempsey – in what proved to be a marvellously incendiary 34-minute extravaganza.
In an exclusive YouTube performance, the new Hot Press cover star Dermot Kennedy will open the show with a solo performance recorded last week outside Los Angeles.
On March 25th, fans can tune in to see 'U2: Live At Red Rocks' recorded on June 5th, 1983 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, United States on the band’s War Tour. A career defining show, the rain-soaked performance at the iconic venue helped establish U2’s reputation as one of the greatest live acts in the world.
Another Grammy-nominated Dublin band, Fontaines D.C. will open the Colorado show with a performance recorded in their hometown last year.
The PopMart Tour stormed into Mexico City in December 1997 for a memorable show at the Foro Sol Stadium and April 1st will see Carla Morrison open for the band - only on YouTube - for a very special one-off performance ahead of 'Popmart: Live From Mexico City'.
In December 2015, U2 returned to Paris less than a month after the November 13th terrorist attacks on the city for two rescheduled shows. 'iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE: Live in Paris' marked the final performance on the tour, an unforgettable evening which included an emotional performance of Patti Smith’s ‘People Have The Power’. On April 10th, YouTube will broadcast the show for the very first time, with French band Feu! Chatterton on support.
"Every show is memorable for us but these four particularly so… It’s exciting to be on the road again… Embracing all the wonder of the virtual road...And especially exciting to be joined by such a brilliant line-up of fellow travellers in Dermot Kennedy, Fontaines D.C., Carla Morrison and Feu! Chatterton," U2's Bono, The Edge, Adam and Larry said in a press statement.
Dan Chalmers, Director of YouTube Music for EMEA, expressed his excitement for U2's new virtual gigs.
“It's fantastic that YouTube is partnering with U2 for this exclusive broadcast. The four concerts featured in The Virtual Road are the most memorable and iconic in the band’s history, and indeed rock history at large."
"As one of the world’s best-selling music artists, U2 have been at the top of the global rock scene for the past four decades," Chalmers added. "When they perform, the world takes notice - their performances are always a landmark moment for music lovers around the world. We’re proud to be providing the platform for an artist that has come to embody the definitive live music experience.”
In September 2020, YouTube, Island Records, Interscope, UMe, and UMC announced the relaunch of U2’s Official YouTube Channel with weekly releases of the band’s most iconic music videos and never before seen content on YouTube; all remastered at the highest possible standard. 2021 will see the band’s music video catalogue remastered in HD and launched exclusively on YouTube.
“One of the reasons U2 remain one of the greatest and most interesting bands in music is their desire to always break new ground," Sam Lunn, Head of Campaign Strategy at Island Records said of the iconic band.
"No band has managed to combine emotion, ambition, innovation and spectacle to produce such consistently brilliant live shows. With the announcement of The Virtual Road, and this hugely exciting partnership with YouTube, U2 are once again leading the way with this incredibly exciting virtual concert series.”
U2’s 14th studio album Songs Of Experience – the companion release to 2014’s Songs Of Innocence - was released in December 2017 and includes tracks ‘Get Out Of Your Own Way’ and ‘You’re The Best Thing About Me’. In 2018, the band hit the road with the eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour, an arena production which saw U2 continue to push the creative boundaries of technology and engineering.
U2 has consistently been known for their unparalleled creative vision and artistry when bringing their music to life on screen. As new and remastered content is added over the next year, their YouTube channel will evolve as a hub to celebrate the band’s 40-year legacy and the evolution of their approach to video.
Highlights will include previously unreleased live, behind the scenes, and remixed content, and some of their best-known music videos upgraded to HD for the first time ever, up to 4K quality whenever possible. The project will result in hundreds of new and upgraded videos being added to the channel, and a curated experience for fans to be able to explore the depth of the catalogue.
Watch the virtual gigs exclusively on the band's YouTube channel here. Check out the full list of U2's Virtual Road tour dates below:
March 17th - St Patrick’s Day: U2 Go Home: Live From Slane Castle - IRELAND 2001
March 25th - U2: Live At Red Rocks, Denver, Colorado - USA 1983
April 1st - Popmart: Live From Mexico City - MEXICO 1997
April 10th - iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE: Live in Paris - FRANCE 2015