The old songs prove the best as U2 on course for world’s most profitable tour

From the Times

Bono and The Edge have entertained millions of fans and will play Croke Park on Saturday KEVIN MAZUR/WIREIMAGE

U2 are on course to have the biggest-selling global tour of the year, with the first leg of The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 already generating more than €1 million.

The band sold 1,043,414 tickets for 20 stadium shows in North America from May 12 to July 1, which grossed $123.7 million (€107.4 million), according to Billboard magazine.

The tour, which is shaping up to be one of U2’s most successful to date, comes to Dublin on Saturday and continues across Europe for the summer, before returning to the US in September and taking in South America. It winds up at the end of October.

The band are expected to have sold 2.4 million tickets by the end, making it the biggest-selling tour of 2017.

Tickets for the Croke Park show went on sale in January and sold out in six minutes. The stadium has capacity for 78,000 fans. The shows have been a money-spinner for those outside the band as well — some music fans paid as much as €430 for hospitality packages organised by the GAA, which include a three-course meal.

The Croke Park show is the only Irish date currently listed for the tour, and features support by Noel Gallagher, the former Oasis songwriter, and his band High Flying Birds.

The Joshua Tree Tour revisits the band’s 1987 album, which turned them into global superstars. It is one of the biggest selling rock records of all time and has sold 25 million copies to date.

The Joshua Tree was their fifth album and contained the singles With or Without You, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For and Where The Streets Have No Name. The first two songs remain the band’s only US number ones. Their next album, Songs of Experience, is expected to be released next year after the band put studio work on hold for The Joshua Tree Tour. Last month Adam Clayton was quoted as saying about the new album: “We’re pretty much done on it. We just want to get this tour out of the way and then we’ll figure out what we’re going to do.”

They kicked off the anniversary tour in Vancouver and played shows across North America, including a two-night stint at Rose Bowl in California, where a crowd of 123,164 people bought $15.7 million (€13.6 million) worth of tickets.

Although playing a setlist based around an album from the 1980s, the band won over a new audience by breaking with their usual tour structure — they played a US festival show for the first time, headlining Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee in June for a reported fee of $3 million (€2.6 million).

Bono, The Edge, Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr appeared alongside the new generation of pop stars such as Chance the Rapper, Lorde, Flume and Major Lazer. Reviews of the band’s American performances from both critics and fans have been largely positive.

Guy Oseary, the band’s manager, said that they had been humbled by the response. “The album has a deeply meaningful place in so many peoples lives, mine as well. To honour that is both challenging and a true privilege,” he said. “I’m appreciative of everyone that has come out to and will be coming out to this tour.”

U2’s most successful tour to date was the 360 Degree tour, in support of their 2009 album No Line on the Horizon. It ran for two years and during it the band played to more than 7.2 million fans, selling $736 million worth of tickets. It remains the biggest tour in rock’n’roll history and broke the record for the highest grossing tour, which was previously held by the Rolling Stones.

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