"As a performer, I understand it takes a picture of me with the Pope or a president to get debt cancellation onto the front pages. Otherwise it's just too obscure a melody line."
Column: off the record ... vol. 12-542
November 25, 2012
It's Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S., and alongside the turkey dinner, football and Black Friday shopping U2 fans have come to expect something from our favorite Irish band. Traditionally, U2 has been quite busy during the third and fourth weeks of November for at least the past decade. To recap:
So, it was with much anticipation that something surprising was in the works. History has shown that Thanksgiving time has been a busy one for them, especially with the Christmas sales season. While waiting in the U2.com Zootopia live thread (note -- you need to be logged in as a member to view), fans were tossing out ideas of what this strange audio could be. Even the Zootopia moderators didn't know what it was. When the appointed hour arrived, as usual U2 fans brought the band's website to a crashing halt. As M2 reported, this didn't go over too well with our Forum readers. The reaction was the same in Zootopia.
There were several reasons to be disappointed. First, the audio was available earlier that day in U2.com's media player for anyone to listen to, thus making it not an exclusive for members. Second, the mix was also available hours prior on Soundcloud.com, thus making U2.com subscribers not exactly the "first in the world to hear." Third, the "pretty special audio" was a remix of 1984's "Pride (In The Name Of Love)." Sure, Bono changed the lyrics to be historically correct -- "Early evening, April 4" -- however, all I could picture was Psy dancing "Gangnam Style" to it.
Needless to say, to lure me away from my family Thanksgiving gathering for nothing more than a remixed song that fans have been quite vocal about being tired of left me really perplexed. U2.com has taken great strides to be better attuned to what the fans are looking for, and yet "irrelevant" and "waste of time" were tossed out by paid members of their fan club. One fan on Zootopia suggested "North Star" would have been a better one-off Christmas single than the remix, and I agree with the idea.
Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark will celebrate its second year on Broadway on Nov. 28. The show has been consistent in bringing in at least $1 million in ticket sales weekly for the past year, with the exception being the week of Hurricane Sandy. Overall, the show has sold more than $144 million in ticket sales over the past two years, and is still planning on touring arenas in the future.
In related news, playwright Glen Berger, who worked on the show, is publishing a tell-all, Song Of Spider-Man: The Inside Story Of The Most Controversial Musical In Broadway History, slated to be released in 2013 by Simon & Schuster.
The class-action lawsuit against Ticketmaster is still in full swing. In late September, the proposed settlement was rejected by a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge who felt it was not in the best interest of customers. Under the proposal, lawyers would have received $16.5 million while the consumers would have been given $1.50 in coupons. The lawyers met in mid-October to hash out a new plan, which has not been presented yet.
And finally ... Longtime fans of U2 and Willie Williams' diaries may be familiar with animator/illustrator, Run Wrake. His collaboration with U2 began during the PopMart tour and continued right up through the U2 360 tour. He passed away from cancer on Oct. 21 at age 47. I encourage you to visit his site and spend some time in his archives. His creativity and talent moved many fans like myself to tears night after night, providing a power visual statement to U2’s emotional message during their concerts. I am grateful to his family for sharing him with all of us.
Have a great week.