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U2 Lace Up Their Dirty "Boots"

Among, you know, a few other things, the past 24 hours have been the start of a very, very big year for the band Rocks Off affectionately refers to as the Best Band Ever. U2 appeared alongside Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, "One" pal Mary J. Blige and many more as Barack Obama's opening acts at yesterday's massive "We are One" concert on the National Mall in Washington D.C.

"Restraint" is not a word normally associated with Bono and the boys, but they showed it yesterday. Not so much in their two-song set of "City of Blinding Lights" and "Pride (In the Name of Love)" - what, did you think they would play "Exit"? - but because the band could well have used the occasion to debut the first single from its forthcoming No Line on the Horizon album (due March 3 in the U.S.), a fuzzy, frenetic little number called "Get on Your Boots."

A sort of apolitical call to arms - Bono's 100-mph lyrics include "The future needs a big kiss...Satan loves a bomb scare but won't scare you... laughter means eternity and joy is real" - "Boots" would have been totally in keeping with the spirit of the occasion, with the added benefit of rocking the 500,000 strong on hand's collective face off. It's very much in line with other red-zone U2 songs like "Vertigo" and "Elevation" without copying either; Rocks Off hears hints of MGMT's dubby cornucopia and Queens of the Stone Age's dirty boogie tossed in among Edge's slashing sheets of guitar. Rocks Off has seen it described elsewhere as "Radiohead covering [the Temptations'] 'Ball of Confusion.'"

Instead, the band chose to hold off and debut "Boots" this morning by sending the mailing list a link to stream the song. Within about an hour of clicking, Rocks Off had already heard the song on Sirius XM radio's Alt Nation channel; since then, they've been spinning it about every 90 minutes or so. Listen to it here.   

Speculation is rampant about what sort of tour U2, fresh off signing one of those super-cush 360 deals with Live Nation, might be putting together for Horizon (above). Rocks Off has heard the words "Reliant Stadium" bandied about more than once, and not exclusively in his own head, either. This would be, to put it mildly, all right by him. Especially if it was some sort of co-headlining jaunt with Springsteen and the E Street Band (imagine that) or with a top-tier support act like Muse or R.E.M.

However it takes shape, expect the band in Houston before the year is out.

Watch "We are One" here.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray