Sunday, April 28, 2013

Let us in the sound. My U2 conference paper

Some really positive, engaged, thoughtful response to my U2 conference paper this morning.

My argument is that U2 concerts act as corporate memory makers. I used as a theoretical conversation partner Paul Connerton’s How Societies Remember, (whom I blogged about in another context here). He suggests three categories, calendar repetition, verbal repetition, gestural repetition. I applied these to the U360 under three headings

  • Concert-rical repetition, an adaptation of Connerton
  • Verbal repetition, in which I looked at the different between album lyrics and live performance, using the U22 album. This data generated a corporate memory making around remembering the local, remembering the concert history and remembering people past.
  • Gestural repetition, in which I looked at Bono’s gestures, drawing on photos of live performance in From the Ground Up, the official photobook of the U2  360 tour.

All of which seemed to generate, as I said, some really rich conversation. So it looks like it has the legs to turn into a publication, either in Journal of Religion and Popular Culture or in the book that is intended from this conference, and which will accompany Exploring U2, the book that emerged from the first conference.

Posted by steve at 05:21 AM


  1. This is a great idea. I still remember things Bonn said in concert in 1987 that aided my connection to music to the show. I wonder about Bono’s development of what to say. I assume to start with he just learnt by trial and error, but some where he must of become more aware and deliberate ?
    Also cool t shirt from the conference.

    Comment by Tony M — May 2, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

  2. I wanted to show that Herald picture of you in the front row of those early concerts! As a great eg of fans memory making.

    Alas, couldn’t find it online.

    I’d also love to interview Bono whether he learnt the craft or intuitive. They did work with choreographers at one stage, so I suspect he was intuitive, then watched himself on video with Morleigh and co pointed out improvements


    Comment by steve — May 3, 2013 @ 10:59 pm

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