Thank god the U2 tour sales are nearly over and I won't have to deal with U2.com's staggering incompetence any more. It is quite possibly the most inept official website I have ever encountered, and you truly have to wonder how such a wealthy, famous band cannot manage to hire competent website maintainers. It sure makes life difficult for those of us running fansites, and as much as I like to work through other sources, it's always best to wait until something official happens. Past experiences (though fortunately not personal experiences) have taught me well that if you post something before the official announcement and then details get changed or it doesn't happen exactly as your source said it would, petty members of the U2 fandom are going to cause a pathetic uproar. I can't speak for anybody else, but I've kept information largely to myself this year (most of it proved accurate, though none of it was anything particularly mindblowing). The tossers on Interference and elsewhere ruin it for everyone, and I quite simply won't stake my reputation or that of the site on circulating rumours.
Anyway, U2.com. Back on 9 March, they announced the 360 Tour and posted the list of initial dates in Europe and North America - then quickly and without a word took down all but the first four North American dates, plus Gelsenkirchen. Not a whisper of communication explaining where the dates went - it was as if they were never posted. Meanwhile, forums exploded with people naturally fretting over it. U2.com then slowly released these dates in dribs and drabs, often simply putting them up on their tour page without so much as a news article to alert people that maybe they should take a look at the dates list. The worst part is that presales would begin within a couple of days of these shows quietly being restored. I'm sure plenty of fans who don't daily refresh U2.com's tour page missed out (I sure don't refresh the tour page for other bands I like daily). Perhaps the worst example was the Dutch presale, when notification of the presale was sent out just six hours or so before it began - meaning that most people in the Netherlands would have already gone to bed for the night, and lots of people don't check their computer before going to work in the morning. We were lucky in getting Amsterdam tickets since Australia's timezone meant it was the afternoon here when that news came out.
The piecemeal way in which the North American dates were announced was particularly aggravating. I feel sorry for those people torn between two markets. Do you go for tickets to the Charlottesville show that has been confirmed by U2.com, or do you sit around and hope the Raleigh show originally listed on 9 March and subsequently moved will be restored? Not a decision I would have liked to make if I'd been in the position of only being able to attend one gig. Finally, though, all the shows have been announced and presales/general sales will finish in the coming week or so. The sale dates have been another infuriating case of U2.com sluggishly posting dates or posting wrong dates, and of course, never notifying people about anything. When the Tampa show quietly reappeared, its on-sale date was listed as 18 April. It was in fact 6 April, as I pointed out on U2gigs; a day or so later, I noticed U2.com had changed it, but did they actually make an attempt to alert anybody to this change? No prizes for guessing that communication is not their strong suit.
For Christ's sake, U2.com, what do you think the news section of your mainpage is for? Use it for a change. I thought it was hilarious in early March when they tried to notify members to ensure their details are correct. Did they actually put anything prominent on their mainpage or attempt to contact members by e-mail? Of course not. They had something posted on their messageboard (which not all U2.com members use or even check regularly), and urged fansites to distribute the information. Fuck off, U2.com.
Anyway, now that sales are almost over, we can move on a bit. I can write some feature pieces to keep the mainpage ticking until the tour begins, then we get to do what (I hope) we do best. Can't wait for the tour. U2.com will of course get things wrong like they always do, unless they hurry up and hire some people who have a clue. Meanwhile, I think the rest of us will have an awesome time. I've purchased my plane tickets to Europe and it's all coming together nicely for one hell of a time. I'll even hopefully be doing a live set on the site while I'm in Liechtenstein. Imagine the temptation to say the band have relocated the concert from the Olympic Stadium in Berlin to the Kunstmuseum in Vaduz ...!
Oh yeah, and it's Easter. Who cares? Easter's worse by the year.