R&R in Tokyo

I know many fans are curious to know what the band have been doing in Japan when not performing or doing media interviews. Larry Mullen spent some time shopping in Gwen Stefani’s favorite area of Tokyo, Harajuku. He shopped at Kiddy Land, a famous toy store, presumably for gifts for his children…Adam Clayton visited with Eric Clapton, who is also touring in Japan now and staying in the same hotel as U2…Bono enjoyed a traditional Japanese meal at Gonpachi with his friends Gavin and Guggi. Kanye West was also seen at the same restaurant. Rumour has it that Kanye will perform with U2 for the final show in Japan on Monday…Edge, the zen master, has been keeping a low profile, meditating and such.

All band members have been generously signing autographs and posing for photos with Japanese fans around the city. The band seem to be truly enjoying their visit to Japan.

‘Window in the Skies’ premieres in Japan

U2’s first Vertigo tour show in Japan was so special that the band actually took Promo Bono’s advice and performed “Window in the Skies” for the first time live. My human counterpart introduced the song by telling the audience, “If this doesn’t sound good, blame Edge.” The warning turned out to be completely unnecessary, as the song and the Edge sounded fantastic.

City of Blinding Lights
Vertigo (She Loves You snippet)
I Will Follow
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Beautiful Day (Sgt. Pepper’s & Blackbird snippets)
Window in the Skies
Walk On (Acoustic — dedicated to the oldest Japanese fan club)
Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own
Bad (40 snippet)
Sunday Bloody Sunday (Rock the Casbah snippet)
Bullet the Blue Sky
Miss Sarajevo
Pride (In the Name of Love)
Where the Streets Have No Name

The Fly (Satisfaction snippet)
Mysterious Ways
With or Without You
The Saints Are Coming
Angel of Harlem
One Tree Hill

Japan welcomes U2

Hi, Promo Bono here. After being stuck in a box on a shelf in Vertigo Air for God-knows-forever, I’ve managed to sneak my way into Japan via Adam Clayton’s man purse. It’s time for Promo Bono to get in on some Vertigo tour fun!

The band and I arrived in Tokyo on Monday and were greeted by Japanese fans at Haneda Airport. The band, whose last visit to the country was in March 1998 during the PopMart tour, were warmly welcomed. I snapped this pic of The Edge at the airport from inside a pocket in Adam’s purse:

Looking good, yes?

The band will perform the first of three shows at Saitama Super Arena tonight. Because entrance into the venue is in numeric order, fans have been instructed not to show up at the venue before 6 pm when doors open. The show will begin at 7 pm without an opening act.

On Friday, U2 will appear on Japanese television to perform two songs, “Window in the Skies” and “Vertigo.”

I intend to (secretly) run around in Japan with the band as much as my little Promo Bono legs will allow me, so come back to read about our adventures.

Vertigo tour tickets can still be found

U2log.com has learned about ticket availability to some of the rescheduled Vertigo tour shows.

“Vertigo tour? What’s that?” you ask.

Well, it’s this thing where four guys stand on an elliptical stage and make a lot of noise. You want tickets to see it, right?

If you answered “yes” to that question, you may be wondering about where to find tickets, aside from vermin scalpers. U2log.com suggests that fans turn to each other first for tickets. Check for ticket trades and sales at fan forums. U2log.com has created a ticket trade group on Google. U2tours.com also has a popular ticket trading forum.

If you have no luck finding tickets from other fans, consider using OTX, the tour and travel operator designated by TNA, the promoter of the Vertigo tour. OTX has just announced that it has a new block of general admission floor tickets for the sold-out shows scheduled in Auckland, New Zealand. OTX has also recently put its packages for the shows in Japan on sale.

Speaking of Japan…our friends at U2japan.com tell us that general admission tickets to the three shows at Saitama Arena were not easy to obtain when they went on public sale in September. Fans had to compete with ticket brokers, which are numerous and very popular in Japan, to get the best tickets.

Image courtesy of U2japan.com

General admission will be handled differently in Japan than anywhere else on the tour. General admission at Saitama Arena will be divided into three blocks: Blocks A, BL, and BR. In addition to a block number, all GA tickets include a position number — from 1 to 4,000. Fans will be granted entrance into the blocks in numerical order. The system sounds a bit crazy, but it does work to keep fans from rushing and crushing.

We’d hate to be the schmuck who has to call out the numbers.

How to see U2 in Japan

Ticket PIA, Japan’s version of Ticketmaster, has arranged a ticket purchasing service for fans who are NOT residents of Japan. Beginning today, fans may sign up for a lottery to purchase up to four tickets to the U2 concert in Yokohama on April 4. The lottery application period ends on February 8. On February 14, those who have applied to the lottery will be informed if their ticket order will be processed.

Because of safety laws in Japan, the general admission area at Nissan Stadium will be divided into sections (see map above). Fans may only specify a request of general admission, lower-level stands, and upper-level stands in their ticket order, not a section number. Seating and section assignments will be specified with the confirmed order. U2japan.com reports that U2.com members ordering general admission tickets in the pre-sale last week were given section “SS” in front of the stage.

Fans who find a lottery system too complicated or risky should consider one of the ticket packages for the Yokohoma concert being offered by ETS, the official tour and travel operator.

Vertigo tour to visit Japan in April

Our friends at U2japan.com report that Japan’s largest ticket service, Ticket PIA, has announced ticket purchase details for U2’s yet-to-be-officially-announced tour date in Japan. Ticket PIA lists the U2 concert as being scheduled for April 4 at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama. Tickets, priced at 12,000 yen (US$100), will go on sale on February 18.

Update: U2 have officially announced the April 4 concert in Yokohama, as well as confirmed ticket prices. GAs and upper-level stands will be 10,000 yen; lower-level stands will be 15,000 yen. Tickets will go on sale on January 21 at midnight.

U2’s fabulous year

Billboard has published Paul McGuinness’ reflections on 2005:

“This was such a great year for U2. A No. 1 album in 20 countries, 110 shows all sold out, 3.3 million tickets sold, 100% of the tickets we put on sale. Nine million-plus sold of the current record, 3 million catalog, 2 million DVDs. U2 have never been bigger or better. Next year after Mexico, South America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, we will end the Vertigo tour in Honolulu.”

We’d say that was a pretty good year too, full of many numbers.