Thursday, December 02, 2010

Rejoice! U2 are back in town. U2 360 Melbourne concert review

They came with new songs – Return of the Stingray Guitar and Mercy – suggesting a band still enjoying the simple pleasure of being creative.

They came with old, playing songs from 10 of their albums. (There is nothing from Zooropa or Pop, but a fantastic Bono performance of Miss Sarejevo, a reminder of just how wide remains the span of his vocal range). Streets and With or Without You were standouts.

They also came with old songs new. In countless concerts over the last decade, Bono has invited prayer for the release of Aung San Suu Ky. With her recent freedom, U2 have turned to Scarlet, a song from their 1981 album, October. Never before has it been played live in concert. Suddenly the lyrics, “rejoice” become remarkably poignant, with the gathered crowd invited to give thanks for answered prayer.

Despite the songs, the take home memory remains the “claw.” Brilliantly lit, it manages through state of the art video and sound to bring a sense of intimacy to stadium rock. As if Bono needed any help to loom larger than life!

The theme is time, with constant ticking visual reminders, supported by video footage from back in time: U2 archival material from the Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby. It ensures the entire show has an overall theme, that of the invitation to walk on in time.

Not all was perfect. U2 are skilled at employing call and response to generate connection between band and audience. This ensures some remarkable moments – 60,000 Australians singing of Amazing Grace and confessing “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” It also ensures some glitches, with some of Bono’s calls simply too complicated for a corporate sung response.

The opening bracket lacked cohesion. Despite a promising start – “Gidday” in perfect Australian before winding the crowd into Beautiful Day – the opening grouping of songs seemed to stutter. This has been a constant struggle in this 360 tour. (For my review of their Raleigh concert, see here). In Melbourne, Magnificent felt too early, a beat starting to slow before the audience had been effectively gathered.

This lack was overcome by the meditative middle three of Bad, In A Little While and Miss Sarajevo, accentuating the spectacular burst into City of Blinding Lights and Vertigo. Offering the chance to simply rejoice, U2 are back in town.

Posted by steve at 12:09 PM

Thursday, May 27, 2010

u2 360 downunder early in 2011

I think when he could no longer walk, that he needed to go to the doctor. The Edge here.

In a move akin to Lazarus, within days of Bono having emergency back surgery, rumours are circulating of a downunder U2 360 tour early in 2011.  This is according to U2Chile. To quote

Live Nation has contacted concert promoters on several continents and has blocked out the following as a possible itinerary:

Early February: Japan and South Korea (Asia)
Late February: Australia and New Zealand (Oceania)
March: Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru (South America)
April-May: Mexico, USA, Canada (North America)

Having already been financially stung by a U2 postponement, I’m happy to simply being praying Walk on.

Posted by steve at 04:17 PM