Jim Carroll

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Why are there so many tickets still on sale for U2′s upcoming tour?

Sluggish ticket sales for U2′s upcoming tour dates in the United States

Hello lads

Wed, Apr 22, 2015, 18:57


There may be no shows listed for the 15,000 capacity Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver until May 20 but you can sure there’s some sweating and swearing going on within its walls at the moment. This is the venue that U2 are reported to have hired for a few weeks to prepare for their forthcoming Innocence + Experience tour, which begins in the city’s Rogers Arena on May 14.

One of the matters which may be exercising the minds within the building could be the sluggish sales for the band’s forthcoming tour. Sherry Lawrence from U2 fansite AtU2 has done a spell of forensic data mining to show that there are plenty of tickets still on sale for the band’s forthcoming tour.

She also dived into radio airplay metrics to show that the performance of tracks from “Songs Of Innocence” suck the big one. One example Lawrence gives is St Patrick’s Day, “typically a day that U2 is a radio station’s “go-to” band”. However, when she examined the logs for various stations who have supported the band in the past, she found that stations were reaching for the greatest hits compilation if anything. “Boston’s WMJX played Maroon 5 about once an hour”, Lawrence reports, “while U2 had three total songs played, all from “The Joshua Tree”.”

It’s a really strong piece of reporting by Lawrence based on data she’s found online. While the lack of radio play for “Songs Of Innocence” is not totally unexpected – let’s be honest, the album is not very good, like everything else released by the band in the last few years – the slow ticket sales are another matter entirely. U2 are a band who have been a live tour-de-force during much of their nearly 40 year career. That they’re now heading into a big tour with spare inventory flying around rather than fully sold out shows will come as a huge surprise to long-time U2 watchers – and probably promoter and U2 partner Live Nation as well.

Of course, there are still weeks to go until the tour rolls out and the mainstream press give the first shows on the tour rave reviews (they’re contractually obliged to) so those spare tickets will probably sell on the back of that. But this is U2 we’re talking about and those tickets went on sale last December. Are we seeing a backlash here? Have even the hardcore fans said no thanks to “Songs Of Innocence”? Is the lack of info around the tour’s setlist and set-up putting fans off?

Are fans really, as long suspected, just after the greatest hits and don’t want to sit through a bunch of filler and crap from recent albums? Have U2 event gig fans, as Lawrence speculates in her piece, “crossed U2 off their concert bucket list’ and the 360 experience is what the concertgoer wants as a lasting memory?” Interesting times ahead for the most efficient band in the world when it comes to tax management.