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The U2 Portal

U2 performing on 17 May 2005. From left to right: The Edge, Bono, Larry Mullen Jr., and Adam Clayton.
U2, Vertigo Tour, 2005.

U2 are a rock band from Dublin, Ireland. The band consists of Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar), and Larry Mullen Jr. (drums and percussion). U2 have been one of the most popular acts in the world since the mid-1980s. The band has sold upwards of 170 million albums worldwide, and they have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other rock band.

U2 formed in 1976 when the members were teenagers with limited musical proficiency. By the mid-1980s, however, the band had become a top international act, noted for its anthemic sound, Bono's impassioned vocals, and The Edge's textural guitar playing. Their success as a live act was greater than as a record-selling act until their 1987 album, The Joshua Tree, brought them mega-stardom. Their alternative rock/dance-infused 1991 album Achtung Baby and the accompanying Zoo TV Tour were part of a significant reinvention for the band; it was a response to their own sense of musical stagnation, the dance and alternative music revolutions, and criticism of their image. This experimentation continued for the rest of the 1990s.

In the early years of the 21st century, U2 have pursued a more traditional sound while maintaining influences from their previous musical explorations. They continue to enjoy the highest level of commercial and critical success. The band is active in human rights, international development, and social justice causes, such as Amnesty International, Make Poverty History, the ONE Campaign, Live Aid, Live 8, Bono's DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade in Africa) campaign, and Music Rising.


Selected article

The stage was surrounded by the audience and featured a claw-like supporting rig.
The U2 360° Tour was a worldwide concert tour by rock band U2. Launched in support of the group's 2009 album No Line on the Horizon, the tour visited stadiums from 2009 through 2011. It was named for a stage configuration that allowed the audience to almost completely surround the stage. To accommodate this, a massive four-legged structure nicknamed "The Claw" was built above the stage, with the sound system and a cylindrical, expanding video screen on top of it. U2 claimed that the tour would be "the first time a band has toured in stadiums with such a unique and original structure."

In an era of declining music sales, analysts expected U2 360° to be a major source of income for the band. Every date of the tour sold out, many within minutes of tickets going on sale. To accommodate the time required to assemble and transport "The Claw" between tour dates, three separate stage structures were required on tour. The 360-degree production increased the capacity of venues by up to 25%, leading to attendance records at over 60 venues. Various themes were incorporated into the shows; portions of the concerts featured outer space themes, due to "The Claw's" resemblance to a spaceship. Pre-recorded messages from the International Space Station were displayed during the shows, as were sociopolitical statements from Desmond Tutu and Aung San Suu Kyi. The setlists were adjusted for each year of the tour; for the 2010 shows, unreleased songs were debuted live, while for 2011 legs, the group performed more 1990s songs to mark the 20th anniversary of the release of Achtung Baby.

The tour was generally well received by critics and fans. By its conclusion, U2 360° had set records for the highest-grossing concert tour with $736 million in ticket sales, and for the highest-attended tour with over 7.2 million tickets sold.


Selected picture

U2 360° Tour stage seen from above
Credit: Carlos Correa Loyola
U2 360° Tour stage in Barcelona. The video screen is above the band in a large black container directly above the band. Four silver legs with that hold the container are curving downwards into the audience; these are what contain the speakers and lighting devices. Five circular orange lights are dotted along the top of each leg. The round stage is surrounded by a catwalk which can be reached by crossing one of two rotating bridges. The audience surrounds the band on all sides of the stage.

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Selected biography

Larry Mullen, Jr. at the Barnes & Noble store in Union Square, New York City, 26 September 2006
Laurence Joseph "Larry" Mullen, Jr. (born 31 October 1961) is an Irish musician and the drummer for the Irish rock band U2. One of the four original founders of U2, he would relate that he described the band as "'The Larry Mullen Band' for about ten minutes, then Bono walked in and blew any chance I had of being in charge."

He has worked on numerous side projects during his career, including a collaboration with Michael Stipe and Mike Mills of R.E.M. to form Automatic Baby in 1993 and working with bandmate Adam Clayton on the re-recording of the theme to Mission: Impossible, in 1996. He has been awarded, both as part of U2 and in his own right, 22 Grammy awards.

He attended the School of Music in Chatham Row to learn piano at the age of eight and then, began drumming in 1971, at the age of 9, under the instruction of Irish drummer Joe Bonnie. In the early days of U2, his contributions to the band were often limited to fills and drum rolls, but he became more involved in the writing of the songs later, particularly in conjunction with Adam Clayton, his partner in the rhythm section. He was placed at # 21 in Stylus Magazine '​s list of the 50 Greatest Rock Drummers. Although he occasionally plays keyboards and synthesiser in concerts, Mullen rarely sings during performances.



  • "I don't know, I don't know which side I'm on. / I don't know my right from left or my right from wrong. / They say I'm a fool, they say I'm nothing / But if I'm a fool for you oh, that's something." —"Two Hearts Beat as One" (U2), War (1983)
  • "And if You look, / You look through Me. / And when You talk, / You talk at Me. / And when I touch You, / You don't feel anything" —"Stay (Faraway, So Close!)" (Bono), Zooropa (1993)
  • "You're on the road but you've got no destination / You're in the mud, in the maze of her imagination / You love this town even if it doesn't ring true / You've been all over and it's been all over you" —"Beautiful Day" (Bono), All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000)
  • "I really remember John Lennon's “Imagine”. I guess I'm twelve; that's one of my first albums. That really set fire to me. It was like he was whispering in your ear — his ideas of what's possible. Different ways of seeing the world." —Bono, Rolling Stone's interview (3 November 2005)


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