By Jaylan Boyle, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Although cyberspace rumors persist, indications are that Cariocas will have to make do with memories of the previous U2 tour to visit these shores back in 2000. The band looks to have forsaken the entire continent this time around, concentrating their current ‘360 degrees’ show in Europe and North America.
Late last year a groundswell of speculation seemed to signal that one of those badly kept secrets was about to come to pass, but the confirmation never came. Plenty of self-proclaimed ‘insiders’ were confidently predicting an April U2 touchdown in Rio, though there remained sufficient disagreement on exactly where and when the gig would take place to pour water on the idea.
U2’s current tour has been rolling around the globe since June of last year. As is the norm for Bono and company, all manner of records are being set: this time around the show includes the largest stage prop the world has ever seen.
The date that so-called insiders have penciled in for the band’s appearance here was April 15th, however, a number of rumor columnists also ‘revealed’ that the band is scheduled for a New Year’s Eve 2010-11 appearance on the sands of Copacabana. Hosting a reportedly US$12 million live show for free on a beach again seems a little far-fetched.
The band’s official website continues to make no mention of any forthcoming Brazilian concerts. In fact, at this stage the 360 Degrees tour itinerary appears not to include any gigs in the South American continent at all.
On the other side of the ledger however, management and Universal records have conspicuously not seen fit to outright deny the rumors, and as late as February, dates were still being finalized, albeit for the European continent, at which point the band will have already concluded the North American segment of the tour.
Given the proximity of the rumored gig, any hope that U2 might make a stopover in Rio are fading fast. Rearranging the schedule of the behemoth show for which the band are famous, would be a logistical impossibility – just packing the show up after a concert reportedly takes more than 3 days.
If the event does come to pass, U2 can no doubt rely on a crowd of mind-blowing size, as has been the norm for their concerts here and in Sao Paulo in the past, and in fact most of what may be called today’s ‘super-groups’ have enjoyed record-breaking crowds in this country.
In 2006 the Rolling Stones played a free concert on Rio’s Copacabana beach to a crowd approaching two million, one of the largest audience gatherings ever seen on the planet, while Rod Stewart reportedly attracted 3.5million for his New Year’s Eve show at the same location in 1994.