There seems to be a perception that what is being said here is u2 don't want to do it LN are making them....that isn't what is being said.
There is quite a difference between LN requesting they get out and do something and u2 going 'yeah agreed' and LN saying 'get out and do something' and u2 doing it against their will...
What I believe is the case is LN have requested they get out and do something and u2 because of the big payday they got and because of the agreement they signed happily agreed to do something because they realised there was an expectation for them to do/earn 'x' amount.....
I would imagine the deal with LN is one u2 probably want to renew one more time at least and of course with even more money involved and they don't want to fall out with LN so are therefore happy to deliver for them with these shows as a compromise for not being ready to go out with the new record.
That scenario is quite different to the 'they'd walk away' 'they can afford to tell LN to stick it' 'nobody tells u2 what to do' etc. type comments being made here.
U2 signed a big deal...LN expect a big return...I believe U2 have probably been pushed a little as they have hardly been prolific during the period of this deal and LN probably expected the SOE tour/record this year....what we have with this jaunt around their main market is a quick fix that keeps all parties happy.
None of that means that said jaunt can't end up being a great experience for band and fans and be great shows etc....But for me these shows would simply not be happening if it wasn't for the deal that is in place.
The thing is, a lot of people ARE acting as if U2 have been forced to go out and tour this year. Maybe not you, but it's been a common comment posted here ever since TJT tour was rumored/announced. People are acting as if LN held a gun to U2's head and said "tour this year or we sue you to oblivion." And I'm saying I do not think that is the case, I think U2 wanted to tour this year (given the very short I&E tour...how much longer do they have and do they really want to take so long between tours?) but aren't confident enough in the new album. TJT just happens to be turning 30 this year and it's the perfect compromise. They get to play an album that is critically acclaimed to sold out or near sold out audiences in stadiums, they fulfill the LN contract, and they have the option to test out some of the new songs without the pressure of a full-on tour for the new album. It's a win-win-win from that perspective.
I think it'll be interesting to see if they continue the I&E early next year and if they release SoE later this year. I think if they DO release SoE later this year, they have to tour it fairly close to the release date which would be early next year. You could consider TJT tour as a sort of warm up to a multiple leg tour concluding I&E in 2018.
There can be different motivations. In the case of Springsteen doing The River 2016/17 Tour, he told us in so many words why: #1, the new album he has ready is not a 'band album', meaning the next tour wouldn't be with the ESB. #2, he didn't want to go several years without touring with the ESB, because time is beginning creep up on them. So, he could either go out and tour behind some kind of archival release, or simply do an untitled 'greatest hits' tour.
When artists get older, they have less and less to say. It is only natural. Bono cannot possibly as full of lyrics and melodies as he was at age 25. So, are U2 limited to two tours a decade when they have 24 releasable songs?
Personally, I don't care why U2 tours, as long as they aren't using it as a pure, straight-up cash grab, and I don't believe that's the situation now, nor has it ever been. So, they can tour TJT, Boy, the 34th anniversary of Red Rocks, ZooTV, whatever. I. Don't. Care. They owe me nothing, and they have been to good to all of us over the years for us to start questioning their motives, if you remember what ELSE Larry said during the Vertigo ticketing flap. The idea that any of that was pulled by the band in order to rip us off? That idea didn't sit well.
These are great points. I hadn't heard that about Springsteen, but it makes sense. Still can't wrap my head around the fact that he is close to 70 and still playing the shows he plays.
Regarding older artists having less and less to say...that's definitely true in a lot of cases. I don't know if it necessarily is with Bono since we have no idea what sort of lyrics he's writing to songs that will likely never end up seeing the light of day. For instance, we know the guys tend to have 30-40 songs written for any album, then that ends up narrowed down to the best 10-14. I'm going to assume Bono writes lyrics for each of those at least partially, if not fully. It's possible songs containing his best lyrics are being scrapped because they're musically boring or just not a good fit. I think he still has it in him to write some great lyrics. In fact, I remember seeing lyrics to one of their new songs on the U2 blog recently and thinking "well, that's more interesting than anything he's written the last decade."
I'm just saying, don't rule him out yet. I would think that as he sees more of the world (and gets further involved in his charities) he may get more ideas for songs. He may especially draw inspiration from the current state of the world. Songwriting is sort of unpredictable--you never know what's going to end up inspiring you.
I agree with you about touring. Look, the guys are ridiculously wealthy (or at least Bono is from his investments). They do not need to tour to make money like, say, Bon Jovi might. They could have literally walked away 10 years ago and never toured or made another album again and they (plus their kids and grandkids) would still be really rich. I've heard nothing to indicate that any of them are hurting for money or that they've made stupid financial choices like many musicians have. For instance, I know Leonard Cohen was touring well into his 70s because he needed the money after someone close to him embezzled millions. I don't think that has nor will ever be the case for U2.
Being a relatively young fan of the band and having only saw them twice, I'm eager for them to tour as much as they want to. I don't care if they tour to celebrate the 15th anniversary of HTDAAB in 2019, I'd still go to the show. I am hoping that if they go the nostalgia route again, they do another Zoo TV because AB/Zooropa deserve to be played in their entirety (or most of the 2 albums, anyway). But that's just wishful thinking on my part.
U2 have already put out a lot of great music. I'm not counting on them to release new music that is as good as or better than the old stuff. At this point, any new album they put out is just a bonus.