The photo shoot was September 2015 though You are not allowed to view links.
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They had always planned to do a few shows but maybe not this many?
Not necessarily. Think about it. The next album/tour is the Experience side of things. TJT is when they really hit it big, so it makes sense that they'd do an updated photo shoot of that.
Certainly possible that they've been thinking about this for a while, I just doubt that the tour has been planned for that long.
Well anton shot the photo then with them why else would they have been there? This was always planned in some form clearly.
Like I said, it's possible that it was done as a sort of parallel to when they started getting "experienced". We know the Innocence part of the tour focused on their beginning, TJT is when they started to really gain steam as a band (i.e. get experienced). It'd make sense to do such a photo shoot to promote the next leg of the tour, the Experience leg.
I don't buy that one sorry.
And I don't entirely buy that this has been in the works since 2015 (not when they hyped up SoE coming "soon"). Maybe they planned on doing a few special shows, but I very much doubt that they planned this tour. Seems like the tour came about because they realized the lucrativeness of it and because they're not ready to put SoE out (and continue that tour).
It is a pity as this is the first time it genuinely appears that U2 have put money ahead of artistic integrity in creating a live show. Sure, many didn't like the stage for 360, or felt that too many older songs were played as the tour progressed, but they did make an effort to present a new kind of stadium show and play their new album to start with. Doing a show based on TJT and charging such high ticket prices shows very little artistic ambition.
There used to be a lot of debate over whether or not they were ever going to go the nostalgia act route. I once thought no, and if you had said "What if they decided to tour JT again", I think everyone would have sad "Well, of course that would mean they were a nostalgia act". That was when we thought it would never happen. Now that it's actually happening, I'm not going to contort myself to explain how that doesn't count.
Because of this and maybe a few other reasons, for the first time, I'm simply uninterested in them. I'd like to believe that they will blow my mind again some day, but how many of you reading this really feel like that's their priority anymore? It makes me sad, but nothing lasts forever.