NEW YORK (AP) — U2 will return to the concert stage later this year for the first time since 2019, but without one of the original quartet, as drummer Larry Mullen Jr. on the injured list.
The band hinted at their reappearance on the biggest stage possible — in a commercial that aired during Super Bowl on Sunday — and announced that they will be playing a series of shows to open the new MSG Sphere venue in Las Vegas this fall.
The concerts will focus on the band’s 1991 album “Achtung Baby”.
“We need to get back on stage and see our fans’ faces again,” band members Bono, The Edge and Adam Clayton said in a statement on Sunday.
No dates other than Las Vegas have been announced, though it’s unlikely the show will be made for just one city. During 2017 and 2019, the band made a world concert tour based on their album “Joshua Tree”.
Mullen is probably the founder of the band; four members met in his kitchen in Dublin to answer an ad he had placed on a high school notice board looking for musicians. U2 wouldn’t go into detail about his health problems, but report in The Washington Post in November he said the drummer had neck and elbow problems that required surgery.
Only twice before had the band taken the stage without all four members – when Clayton missed a show in Australia due to health reasons in 1993 and after Mullen broke his leg in a motorcycle accident in 1978, according to Bono’s book “Surrender.”
Mullen will be replaced in Las Vegas by Dutch drummer Bram van den Berg.
Next month, U2 plans to release a disc called “Songs of Surrender,” featuring re-recorded and reimagined versions of 40 songs from its catalog.
Edge said he was impressed with the state-of-the-art sound and video system being constructed for the MSG Sphere. “We all thought about it and decided we’d be mad not to accept the invitation,” he said.