From the Ritz to the Rubble

Will DeLannoy

Surprise, surprise … U2 opens big

Last week saw 2009’s best week for album sales so far, with U2’s “No Line on the Horizon” unsurprisingly taking the No. 1 spot.

The band is currently readying a stadium tour to hit the United States in September. The U2 tour will feature a stage in the center of each stadium with no backdrop, allowing fans to see the band from every part of the arena. An enormous curved television will be hung above Bono and company, making it even easier for fans to see all of the action. Although ticket prices for the American dates haven’t yet been announced, the band is promising cheaper tickets than offered for previous tours. Still, nothing Bono can say will stop resale websites from jacking upthose prices.

Phish phans get phunky

Though city officials deemed the weekend a success, three days of Phish concerts in Hampton, VA yielded 194 arrests and the seizure of more than $1.2 million worth of drugs.

Police were quick to point out that the vast majority of the nearly 17,000 fans, many of whom didn’t have tickets and just wandered outside the venue, didn’t cause trouble for authorities.

While 194 arrests and $1.2 million in drugs seem like a lot, police noted that this Phish reunion went better than previous shows. In 2004, the last time the band played a show at the Hampton Coliseum, police arrested more than 100 people in one night.

The Beatles beat out Van Halen … even in virtual reality

Rumors have sprung up that Van Halen will be the next featured Guitar Hero band.

If the rumors are true, it would be the third band to have its own specific Guitar Hero game, coming after Aerosmith and the soon to be released Metallica version.

The news may have made a greater stir had the makers of Rock Band not announced that “The Beatles: Rock Band” will hit shelves Sept. 9. The makers of Guitar Hero can’t possibly hope to trump what is sure to be a ridiculously hyped release but perhaps are banking that David Lee Roth and company can attract their own loyal fans.

Winehouse can’t perform (again)

In a shocking turn of events, Amy Winehouse was forced to cancel her scheduled Coachella performance due to problems attaining her visa.

According to the U.S. Department of State, any person “who is determined (in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services) to be a drug abuser or addict, is inadmissible.”

Coachella managed to add a few acts to fill the gap, but did anybody planning the festival bother to check visa requirements?

“White” Supremacy

Despite their recent performance on the final episode of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” the White Stripes have not announced plans to end their hiatus with another album or tour.

Of course, that doesn’t mean Jack White isn’t keeping himself busy.

Not content with just two hit bands (the other being the Brendan Benson co-fronted Raconteurs), White recently announced the debut album of a third act: the Dead Weather. This new band has White switching from the lead guitar/vocalist position he holds in both the White Stripes and the Raconteurs to playing drums behind lead vocalist Alison Mosshart (of the Kills), guitarist Dean Fertita (of Queens of the Stone Age) and Raconteur Jack Lawrence on bass.

The band’s debut album “Horehound” will be released on White’s Third Man record label in June.