Fresh from taping “Saturday Night Live” here over the weekend, U2 stuck around New York today (Nov. 22) to usher in its new Interscope album, “How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,” in typically grand fashion. The Irish rock act drove through Manhattan performing on a flatbed truck as stunned passerby looked on, culminating in an hour-plus free concert on the Brooklyn side of the East River for thousands of lucky fans.
Highlights from the gig will air Dec. 8 on MTV, while other footage from the day will be used in a video for the power-chord laden album track “All Because of You.”
The group kicked things off at dusk with the new album’s first single, “Vertigo,” which has spent four weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart. Frontman Bono proclaimed “All Because of You” to be “a love song to the Who,” and saluted the band’s paraplegic childhood friend Christopher Nolan prior to the emotive “Miracle Drug.”
Before “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own,” Bono paid tribute to his late father Bob, who he recalled “conducting the stereo with my mom’s knitting needles.” With a gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline behind it, the group then stormed through “City of Blinding Lights,” one of the best tracks on the new album.
Bono handled guitar duties while the Edge played piano on “Original of the Species,” which got a huge roar from the crowd beforehand. “How do you know this sh*t?,” the vocalist wryly asked the crowd, a reference to the unknown fate of the CD of unfinished new tracks that went missing this summer.
The folksy “She’s a Mystery to Me,” penned by U2 around the time of “The Joshua Tree” but eventually recorded by Roy Orbison, was followed by thunderous renditions of “Beautiful Day” and the classic “I Will Follow,” which found the audience shouting along with every word. The encore sported an even older item, U2’s first single, “Out of Control,” plus a second pass at “Vertigo.”
“How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” will be released tomorrow in North America. Along with a standard CD, it will also be available on vinyl, as well as two CD editions with a bonus DVD featuring footage of U2 in the studio plus performances of three songs. The deluxe version will house the CD and DVD in a 48-page hardbound book.
U2 will kick off a world tour March 1 in Miami.