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U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2019
· Night 40 setlist for U2:UV at the Sphere, Las Vegas, 2/3/2024
· Night 12 setlist for U2:UV at the Sphere, Las Vegas, 25/10/23
· Night 10 & 11 setlists for U2:UV at the Sphere, Las Vegas, 20/10/23 & 21/10/23
· Night 9 setlist for U2:UV at the Sphere, Las Vegas, 18/10/23
· Night 6, 7, & 8 setlists for U2:UV at the Sphere, Las Vegas, 11/10/23 - 14/10/23
· Night 5 setlist for U2:UV at the Sphere, Las Vegas, 08/10/23
· Night 4 setlist for U2:UV at the Sphere, Las Vegas, 07/10/23
· Night 3 setlist for U2:UV at the Sphere, Las Vegas, 05/10/23
· Night 2 videos for U2:UV at the Sphere, Las Vegas, 30/09/23
· Night 2 setlist for U2:UV at the Sphere, Las Vegas, 30/09/23


Is U2 Irrelevant?

Posted on Thursday, December 14 @ 03:04:42 CET by Macphisto

(Hookedontheoutdoors.com) -- by kurt liebert

I've always wanted to be as rich as a rock star so that I could stop caring about all these things, these rents, these shackles. But I'm tied and bound to this Earth like the bulk of U2's fans.

U2 on the other hand are millionaires and rock stars. They were sent to Earth so that we could live vicariously through them. Which is not to say that Bono, Larry, The Edge and Adam don't feel pain.

They must have felt a lot of it upon the release of their last album "Pop" which was received with nothing but snarls. "Pop" was an adventurous record, a bold failure. Something to be proud of. But failure is a fairly unsettling concept for U2. Or so it seems because this new album is as happy to please as a courtesan meeting his lovers parents for the first time.

U2's seventh studio album "All That You Can't Leave Behind" is pretty good. I don't love it but it's not Britney Spears either, although a song like the placating "Elevation" should have guested the effervescent Ms. Spears. It's just so now and clean sounding, so sparkly and perfect and drecky. So unreal and big and just I wanted to STOP IT.

It got me wondering weather the world still needed U2. Do they still hold my interest? Do they still matter? Put the pieces under the microscope and you've got that voice, that gorgeous voice. I still need that voice. It's one of the best in the business and it only seems to be getting stronger. The years have made it more vulnerable and less na•ve.

And yeah, I still need that chimmy guitar dripping in those lush sheets of delay, so evocative of a rainstorm, a sunset, a memory. That guitar still matters. It still means something. I still need it. But maybe what I don't need is whinning. These guys are millionaires and I'll be damned if they're not whinning on this album.

It's like what do they do all day long? What's the point? In song after song Bono seems to be telling us of the futility of it all; his midlife crisis; his life that's passing by like a kite; his fleeting time. In the tepid "Kite" he asks us point blank "Did I waste it?" And we just don't know. We have no idea do we? We don't know Bono. We don't know what it's like to hang out with Pope's and Kings and the world's power brokers. Why don't you tell us about how special that must feel? Or just tell us about your heros like you used to. Don't get all bored on us. We don't need boredom cause we all got lots of that. I wanted to believe it. Oh man did I want to believe. I wanted to believe that U2 could deliver another masterpiece. I read it somewhere, some discarded newspaper.

I wanted to believe it. I bought it. "All That You Can't Leave Behind". The graphics are beautiful. So beautiful. Promising. I wanted to. So bad. I wanted to be as inspired as the first time I heard "Pride". Wanted to be enveloped in those guitars, that voice that vibe. And the vibe is there. It's present. That feel is there. The chiming guitars are there but Bonos just bored and it made me kind of mad. It's not right. Revolutionaries should not become boring. They should burn out in fabulously embarrassing blazes right before our very eyes.

If nothing else, U2's music is about passion. The passion of believing in a catholic God in a pagan society. The passion of fighting it in the streets. Of supporting the Nicaraguan peasants and singing homage to one's hero's. And, of all of Bono's heroes the most celebrated was Martin Luther King. U2's "Pride" is undisputedly the most beautiful song ever recorded by an Irish rock band about any American Civil Rights leader ever! It's so subversive and sweet it's revolution creeps into your soul like an opiate. You could never be the same again. Never. I was changed.

Driving in a car hearing those words for the first time. "Shot rings out in the open sky. Free at last, they took your life they could not take your Pride".

Nothing as mind bending as that exists on the new post idealism U2. And it's a sad thing but filled with potential nonetheless. I was reminded of Chet Baker. But it's not burned out enough. There's not enough reflection, not enough pathos. Not enough regret and hard living in between. It's like there's too much comfort in this U2 to be passionate. And who can blame them. You can't be passionate all the time.

But then the music has to reflect that. The music should sound melancholy. It should be sad and quite. Yet, strangely, this album is as oddly triumphant as the Joshua Tree. I'd say, if you lose the passion in the lyrics you've got to lose the passion in the music. You can't be passionately singing about fading away. And that's what this album is about. Bono is accepting his mortality. He's singing "I'm not afraid to die. I'm not afraid to live." He's just not afraid of anything anymore. He's got insurance. His place in the hall of fame, what's to worry about? He's accepting and fading and not boring but not thrilling either. Not as thrilling as a man who believes that he has the ability to change the world with his voice.

In all fairness, this album is good. People are going to buy this album and really like it. I did some pretty productive house cleaning to the record. You know, you put this on and clean your house and be fine with it. It's good for that. But doesn't that embarrass U2? I hope so.

Ultimately, All That You Can't Leave Behind" is about Bono missing someone. It sounds like he's missing his wife or perhaps he's missing being passionate. And that's good, after all, most great pop albums are about longing, about missing someone or something. But U2 was always best at being passionate.

So, what's the deal? Is Bono going through some sort of midlife crisis? If so, do I really care? I mean I want to care but I don't. I want Bono to make me care so much that I'm feeling him like I used to feel him.

The albums standout track and arguably the closest thing to perfection on this album is a song entitled "Grace". It's a song that makes you feel like U2 might still be relevant simply because in the eleventh hour they've recognized that they're not what they used to be. A revelation that understands the possibility of U2's irrelevance which is, quite possibly, the most thrilling thing they've sung about in years.

Sure, this album is good and yeah, U2 are still relevant but nonetheless, I can't wait to hear the next album.

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