Sunday, October 04, 2009

u2 conference: keynote Anthony Decurtis

“Welcome to planet earth. There is so much for you to do.” Bono

“The job of artists is to help us understand our time.” Decurtis.

Nuance belongs in papers, in bar conversations. Keynote needs “meta.” We are here to celebrate our pleasure. To not take our pleasure for granted.

U2 walk the line. They are aware you can’t be clean in this world, but they are refreshingly pure.

How much has been written about this band. A recurring theme, U2 regularly bringing themselves to crossroads. Some of this is rock journalist posturing. Some of this is Bono’s enthusiasm. Some of this is reality, that U2 have reinvented themselves.

Crisis 1: Living up to scale of ambitions. Before Boy, U2 wanted to be a “great” group, aligning themselves with Rolling Stone, Who etc. It does force you to be noticed.

Crisis 2: War. How to address Northern Irish situation? Yet in US, did fans really care? “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” REM vs U2. Bono as U2’s frontman and the band’s job to give him that platform. Why avoid the big stage?

Crisis 3: Working with Eno and Lanois. 25 years later, still working together. Muscular rock changing to moody The Unforgetable Fire. Fans would continue to be alienated. Achtung Baby the pinnacle of U2. Ability to change music and style. So rare to get better as it got bigger. “Fun, smart and entirely exhilerating.” Pop over the top. Was irony and detachment really the reward for faith and optimism? Pop unfinished, although Bono still maintains “the songs were finished on the road.”

Crisis 4: All that you can’t leave behind. From indulgence, to essence. Restored faith in U2 and was perfect for a nation going through trauma of September 11. Walking the line. Would scrolling the names be exploitative? The risk. They had the moral and emotional standing to speak to city’s pain.

U2 has done some great work in this decade. “Top hits:2000 and 2010” will stand. We need their belief that divides can be bridged by rhetoric and vision. We need their belief in action. For this band their is “no line” between who we are and who we aspire to be. Bono’s gift to Curtis’s daughter (Peter and the Wolf) it says so much about him and the band: “Welcome to planet earth. There is so much for you to do.”

Decurtis had some great responses to questions: “The job of artists is to help us understand our time.” “Artists need to be big enough to have a stage, before they can comment on issues.” “U2’s great gifts is to reach across so many generations.” “Find the language to swing it your way … they unite people who come to them.” “I like it when artists try things (with reference to their movies).” “If you don’t try things you never find yourself. An artistic person can transfer.”

For other posts on U2 conference go here.

Posted by steve at 02:17 AM


  1. The job of artists is to find/create some beauty that elevates above the ugliness of our time. But how many achieve that? Or even want to? And if they do, they are not the ones you hear of.

    Comment by Ingrid — October 4, 2009 @ 4:12 am

  2. I love one of the song lyrics from Bono; “grace finds beauty in ugly things.” Do you think “graced ones” ie Christians can do that? I am sure there are limits, but do wonder about that challenge,


    Comment by steve — October 6, 2009 @ 3:08 am

  3. GRACE:…”Grace makes beauty out of ugly things…Grace finds beauty in everything…Grace finds goodness in everything” (U2 acc. to internet)…….To me, probably their most beautiful song, but I have not heard too many)

    Comment by Ingrid — October 6, 2009 @ 10:03 am

  4. Just came across this.

    Comment by Ingrid — October 7, 2009 @ 10:47 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.