YouTube, Island Records, Interscope, UMe, and UMC have announced a series of archival concerts collectively titled U2: The Virtual Road. The four shows will be hosted on the band’s official YouTube channel with full, remastered footage from some of their unforgettable world tours. Each will be available for 48 hours only.
The shows will begin on Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day (17) with the U2 Go Home: Live From Slane Castle show of 2001. Three of the four concerts in the series – the one from Slane, plus those at Red Rocks and in Mexico City – have never before been available digitally.
The banks of the Boyne
The Go Home show commemorated U2’s return to Slane Castle on September 1, 2001, when they played the historic location on the banks of the River Boyne for the first time in over 20 years. Interscope’s Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy will open the show in a newly-filmed, exclusive YouTube solo performance, recorded last week outside Los Angeles.
U2: Live At Red Rocks will follow on March 25, captured on June 5, 1983 at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado as part of the War Tour. A true staging post in the band’s career, the rain-soaked performance confirmed U2 as one of the world’s great live acts. Grammy-nominated Dublin outfit Fontaines D.C. will open the YouTube event, with a performance recorded in their home town in 2020.
On April 1, U2 will share their memorable show at the Foro Sol Stadium in Mexico City in December 1997, during the PopMart tour. Mexican artist Carla Morrison will open the YouTube broadcast with a one-off performance. The series ends with the April 10 screening of iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE: Live in Paris, the emotional final performance on that tour from December 2015. That was when U2 returned to Paris less than a month after the terrorist attacks on the city for two rescheduled shows. The set features a stirring version of Patti Smith’s “People Have The Power.” French band Feu! Chatterton will support.
The wonder of the virtual road
Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. said: “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.”
Dan Chalmers, director of YouTube Music for EMEA, noted: “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. 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.”
Sam Lunn, head of campaign strategy at Island Records, added: “One of the reasons U2 remain one of the greatest and most interesting bands in music is their desire to always break new ground. 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.”
In September 2020, U2’s official YouTube channel was relaunched by YouTube, Island, Interscope, UMe, and UMC. Weekly releases of the band’s most-loves videos are augmented by previously unseen content on YouTube, all remastered to the highest possible standard. During the coming year, U2’s video catalog will be remastered in HD and launched exclusively on YouTube. Unseen live, behind the scenes, and remixed footage will be available alongside HD upgrades of some of their best-known videos.