NEW YORK – U2 is returning 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. is on the injured list.
The band offered a hint about its reemergence on the biggest stage possible — in a commercial that aired during the Super Bowl on Sunday — and announced it would play a series of shows this fall to open the new MSG Sphere venue in Las Vegas.
The concerts will be focused on the band's 1991 album, “Achtung Baby.”
“We need to get back on stage and see the faces of our fans again,” band members Bono, the Edge and Adam Clayton said in a statement Sunday.
No other dates were announced beyond Las Vegas, although it's unlikely a show will be built for just one city. In 2017 and 2019, the band did a worldwide concert tour based on its “Joshua Tree” album.
Mullen is arguably the band's founder; the four members met in his Dublin kitchen to answer an ad he had placed on a high school bulletin board seeking musicians. U2 wouldn't detail his health concerns, but a report in The Washington Post in November said the drummer had issues with his neck and elbows that needed surgery.
Only twice before has the band taken stage without all four members — when Clayton missed a gig in Australia for health reasons in 1993, and after Mullen broke his foot 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 is planning to release the disc “Songs of Surrender,” featuring re-recorded and re-imagined versions of 40 songs from its catalog.
The Edge said he was impressed by 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.