Larry Mullen Jr. thinks U2 need to get smaller.

The 53-year-old rocker thinks it would be ''so cool'' if the group took time off to play cover versions for ''fun'' and then shunned their usual stadium shows in favour of intimate club gigs - though he also admits it could lead to the end of the band.

He said: ''When this tour is over, we should set off on a trip where we learn how to play other people's songs for fun and then go back and record an album with what we've learned.

''Just as an experiment. Go back to clubs you were really s***e in and be good in there.

''We actually need to go backwards. Benjamin Button is where we're at. I mean, it could be the end of the band but it would be so cool.''

And frontman Bono hinted the new direction could be a realistic possibility for the band.

He told Q magazine: ''People say, 'You love Neil Young and Radiohead and their intimacies, so why can't you just be privately rather than publicly ambitious? And we'll have to look at it. I am asking a few fundamental questions.

''We've been playing stadiums now for about 30 years. Bit mad.

''This is like being in Arsenal in 1985 and you're still going for the Champions League now. With the same team! But then you get a hint from the universe saying there's a cost.''