U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2019
· Bono's Madrid setlist, 28/11/22
· Bono's Paris setlist, 25/11/22
· Bono's Berlin setlist, 23/11/22
· Bono's Dublin setlist, 21/11/22
· Bono's Manchester setlist, 19/11/22
· Bono's Glasgow setlist, 17/11/22
· Bono's London setlist, 16/11/22
· Bono's Los Angeles setlist, 13/11/22
· Bono's San Francisco setlist, 12/11/22
· Bono's Nashville setlist, 09/11/22
U2 is a band of the people, even at $130 a pop|
Posted on Sunday, May 27 @ 15:57:59 CEST by Macphisto
(National Post) -- Jordan Zivitz / The Gazette
I can't remember where I was when Kurt Cobain died -- or even when Joey Ramone died, for that matter -- but I can still recall the first time I heard U2.
The details are mundane: 13 years old, home from school, turned on MuchMusic. So went almost every day of my Grade 8 life. But the buzz I felt hearing Angel of Harlem was like finding religion.
I was barely aware of U2's existence before then, and looking back, my initial exposure to the band wasn't its finest moment. Still, sandwiched as it was between New Kids on the Block and whatever Rick Astley song was big at the time, I remember thinking that this was a group that was so much more ... real than its competitors for the top of the pops. It wasn't just that the music meant something -- U2 was more earthy and human than anything else out there.
I'd wager that most fans had a similar reaction when they first chanced upon U2. The earthiness eventually gave way to various degrees of gaudiness, but fashion is fleeting. No matter how they dressed themselves up in rock-star guises (and they certainly did that in the past decade), the members of the Irish supergroup have seldom masked the populist sincerity and everyman spiritual questing at the heart of their music. This is a people's band, first and foremost.
Granted, that argument would be easier to make if it wasn't for that blasted disco-ball lemon. U2 has overreached itself on more than one occasion, but has been saved by its charisma, sense of purpose and rock-solid songwriting.
The sanctimony of the late 1980s was difficult to swallow at times. Regardless of the power of his convictions, there was enough righteousness in Bono's sermons to embarrass the hosts of 100 Huntley Street. But there was a message behind the self-importance of the "Am I bugging you?" anti-apartheid diatribe on Rattle and Hum. It was an obvious one, driven home with a sledgehammer, but it was still refreshing to hear a band trying to engage its audience rather than talking above their heads.
The excess of the Pop era is more problematic. Having spent the better part of a decade deconstructing its po-faced demeanour and learning to laugh at itself, U2 took the joke too far and came as close as it ever has to losing touch with its audience. But as overblown as the Pop tour was, U2 is incapable of completely subverting its human touch. Anyone who has seen U2 live can attest to a symbiotic energy between band and fans that can power small cities, and even in small doses it's a transcendence that's well worth almost any admission price.
Few bands operate at U2's level of popularity and showmanship. Not counting acts like the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync that are built for instant obsolescence, the list is probably limited to the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Celine Dion. U2 has more soul than all of them combined.
OK, so that's not saying much, but U2 has proven that it's possible to make an intimate connection in an atmosphere whose sheer size discourages meaningful bonds. The Pop tour was a disappointment not so much because the kitsch obscured the band, but because U2 doesn't need technical wizardry to captivate an audience. Its emotional alchemy is more potent than any special effect. In that sense, U2 is the anti-Pink Floyd -- a group that can rely on purely intrinsic values to communicate, rather than insane set pieces and art design.
In my youth, I camped out for concert tickets more times than I would like to admit. The three times I waited in line for U2 tickets, however, rate among the best times I've ever had. Yeah, I know I need to get out more, but the experience of trading U2 tales, listening to strangers serenading the queue with One and Where the Streets Have No Name, and enjoying general bonhomie made a lasting impression. Everything about U2 -- the music, relationships between fans -- is about solidarity.
Which is the only reason why U2's reputation as a populist band will survive the ticket pricing for its current tour. Band, management and promoters can pat themselves on the backs all they want for dispensing with the tyranny of floor seats and charging a relative bargain of $45 for the general admission tickets that will bring fans closest to the stage. The crux of the matter is that the $130 and $85 hosings for reserved seating ensure a healthy mix of orthodontists and lawyers. Meanwhile, countless true-blue fans console themselves by spinning All That You Can't Leave Behind on the home stereo.
But as the band has demonstrated by ditching that glitterball fruit, it's the music that matters, and few acts with billion-dollar bank accounts can connect with the common man as convincingly as U2.