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U2 Ready to "Bomb" World

With the Dubliner’s new album, How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, hitting stores on Nov. 23 and their tunes already featured in everything from iPod commercials to episodes of CSI and The O.C., the group is now making plans to blanket the globe.

Billboard reports that U2-which last rocked North America four years ago on their mega-successful Elevation trek in support of the 2000 release All That You Can’t Leave Behind -will kick off their jaunt March 1 in Florida.

“We’ll play approximate 35 shows in the arenas in the spring in the U.S.,” the group’s longtime manager Paul McGuninness tells Billboard.

U2 will then head over to Europe to headline another 30-plus concerts this summer before returning to the States in the fall for another 35-date arena run. The band will wrap up the year with a series of gigs in Australia and Japan.

No official word yet on an opening act, but U2 is rumored to be mulling fellow Irish outfit Snow Patrol or quirky American new wavers the Scissor Sisters.

“We love Snow Patrol. Their producer, Jacknife Lee, also worked on U2’s album and they’re Irish. There’s a close connection,” McGuinness tells Billboard.

Although All That You Can’t Leave Behind was a critical and commercial success, selling over 4 million copies, winning seven Grammys and grossing nearly $110 million on tour, it only generated one hit tune, “A Beautiful Day.”

This time around, Bono and the boys are pulling out all the stops to make sure no one forgets they are the reigning “world’s most popular rock ‘n’ roll band.”

To that end, the band has been crafting a promotional plan that began with the release of the first single, “Vertigo,” on Apple’s iTunes Music Store. The band followed up with a video/commercial for the iPod and iTunes that has been in heavy rotation for the past month. The group has also partnered with Apple to release their own special-edition black iPod.

Meanwhile, the band is rolling out new music on episodes of The O.C. and CSI during the current November sweeps and will cap their TV run with a Saturday Night Live gig this weekend.

And when an Internet leak of Atomic Bomb threatened to upend the carefully orchestrated marketing campaign, the band managed to turn around and get yet more publicity by streaming the new album on MTV.com and VH1.com beginning today.

Aside from the new album and tour onslaught, U2 is a shoo-in for enshrinement in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when the new class is announced next month.

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