Tomorrow U-2 releases it’s fifteenth album which is called No Line on the Horizon. Tomorrow morning I intend to stop by Wal-mart at 6:00 A.M. to pick up the C.D. just so I can bug my colleagues at work who are either too old school to care or too young to realize how big U-2 has been for so long. Up to this point I have avoided reading any early reports nor have I downloaded any early releases available on line. Personally, I don’t need to work myself up to buy the latest U-2 C.D. because it has been my experience that U-2 always delivers the goods. So, tomorrow morning at about the crack of dawn I’ll gladly plop down the 10 to 13 bucks and take a leap of faith before fans and critics alike give us their musings on how great, good, or mediocre this latest version of U-2 is. From my end of things it’s hard to imagine that this album could be as good as the last two or three but quite frankly I don’t care because no one can stay on top forever, not even U-2. By tomorrow at this time I hope to be listening to the greatest band since the Beatles but before I crawl into my hobbit hole with my new C.D. I would like to share for public record some of the reasons why I like U-2. So, without any more fanfare here goes.
Reasons I like U-2
1.They are Irish…I admit I am a sucker for almost anything Irish, except for Irish green beer and some of the ridiculous looking popular Saint Patrick Day paraphernalia. I am not sure where or when I developed my fetish for everything Irish but over the years I have developed a real fondness for Irish graphic knot and mythical beast designs, The Book of Kells, almost all forms of Celtic music, and Irish or Scottish films like Millions, Ned Devine, Once, and Braveheart just to mention a few. I am not sure exactly what it is that draws me into the Irish orbit but I suspect it might have something to do with the “eccentric” nature of the Irish or the passion and unique creativity that has become a part of the Irish landscape for centuries. On the other hand, maybe it has something to do with the memorable episode from the t.v. show Bonanza where Hoss Cartwright was chasing Leprechauns around the Ponderosa Ranch. Whatever, the reason, I love the Irish culture.
2.U-2 is a great rock and roll band. Since their appearance on Time magazine back in the 1980’s U-2 has crafted themselves and their live performances like no other band I can think of during my generation. In the early years U-2 relied primarily on youthful energy and the passion of the Irish but since they decided to conquer America in the early 1980’s they have worked very hard as musicians and “performers” to create a “live act” which is second to none. I remember seeing U-2’s Rattle and Hum at the theatre and was throughly impressed by the music, choreography and artistic quality of the production. At the time, some of U-2’s critics suggested Rattle and Hum and subsequent productions of U-2 were the by product of Bono’s narcissistic messianic complex. Be that is it may, messianic or narcissistic, it doesn’t matter to me. The whole act on and off stage is highly entertaining and they are in the entertainment business after all. For me, U-2’s genius climaxed with their ZOO T.V. tour. I have never seen live and in person but I have watched the DVD version many, many, times and I believe it is one the most entertaining and creative acts ever in rock history.
3.Team chemistry. U-2 has been together as a band since high school. I don’t pretend to know what goes on behind the scenes but on stage and in their public appearances the various band members seem to get along and genuinely like working together which is no small feat for any band that has been together for 25 years now. While Bono is the ultimate alpha dog on stage and off, Larry, Adam, and the Edge appear to relish their own roles and each has established a particular niche which suits their personality and specific talent. Can anyone imagine U-2 not being together or Bono going solo? I can’t. So, together they stand or together they fall. They have been standing together pretty strong for two plus decades now and I predict they will ride off into the Irish sunset someday but hopefully not before I get a chance to see them live and hopefully it won’t be at the local fair where many bands go before they die.
4.Can you say, serious, fun, inspirational and exhilarating all at the same time? U-2 has produced some very serious, thought provoking, and inspiring songs like Sunday, Bloody, Sunday, Pride, When I look at the World, and I Still Havent’ Found What I am looking For. Four years ago I purchased a large screen HD T.V. so I could watch movies but since I caught U-2 concert acts live on DVD I now prefer to watch concerts over movies, thanks to the influence of U-2. There is nothing more exhilarating than watching Bono move along the “run way” belting out a line from It’s a Beautiful Day or Vertigo. I have never attended a U-2 concert live but if it is as great as some of my acquaintances say it is, then it is probably best I never go because I can barely hold myself together watching U-2 on my television in my humble hobbit home. Some of my favorites include An Cat Dubh/Into The Heart and City of Blinding Lights from the Vertigo Tour, New Years Day from Go Home: Live from Slane Castle and Bad from the movie Rattle and Hum. While Bono may not be able to match the energy or passion of “The Boss” U-2 live performances will go down in Rock and Roll lore as perhaps the most entertaining, exhilarating and favorite concert performances of our time.