U2 are currently camped out at Mt. Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, rehearsing for their upcoming ten-date tour of Australia and New Zealand, which features special guest Jay-Z. (Watch the band perform “Sunday Bloody Sunday” with Jay in the video above.) According to fan site u2gigs.com, the band has rehearsed much of their standard set list in addition to the 1981 rarity “Scarlet,” The Joshua Tree deep cut “One Tree Hill” and “Boy Falls From The Sky,” from Bono and The Edge’s soundtrack to the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.
The heavily gospel-influenced “Scarlet” has only been played live once before, at a September 1981 BBC taping. With the occasional exception of “Gloria,” the group almost never plays songs from October — which many in the group claim is their weakest album. Less surprising is the possible return of “One Tree Hill.” It was written about New Zealand native Greg Carroll, who was Bono’s assistant and close friend until he died of a motorcycle accident 24 years ago. The band often revives the song when they play Carroll’s home country, and the title refers to a volcanic peak in Auckland that used to have a single tree on top of it.
The resumption of their world tour comes at a stressful time for Bono and The Edge. They spent much of the last month in New York helping out at rehearsals for Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. According to The New York Times , Bono and The Edge left for New Zealand before they had a chance to see a single complete run-through of the show. The first previews are scheduled to begin this Sunday.
It’s common for U2’s opening act to join them for a song at some point during the tour. It’s been reported that one rehearsal of “Scarlet” featured a guest rap by Jay-Z. On October the song features nothing but the word “rejoice” repeated over and over, so that would give him plenty of freedom to improvise a verse.