"If we stay in small clubs, we'll develop small minds, and then we'll start making small music."
Column: off the record ..., vol.17-756
February 13, 2017
Artists have cited dreams as their inspiration for years. Famous people from painter Salvador Dali to poet Edgar Allan Poe have referenced transforming imagery from their sleeping minds into their creations.
As a writer this has happened to me a few times with my own work, but just last week I had a dream about someone else’s art … U2.
I woke up remembering a vivid sequence: I was at the first show of The Joshua Tree Tour 2017. The stadium thundered with applause at the site of the band. Bono surfaced and announced to the crowd, “I’m sorry, we’re not going to play it all in order. I hope you’ll bear with us!” This was met with boos until they quietly began “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” The audience embraced that tune, as they usually do, then something magical happened. They launched seamlessly into “Father Figure” by George Michael. Bono sang it breathy and quiet just like George, and the crowd went wild. Female backup singers emerged from a smoky stage and belted out the “understand me” lyrics right on cue. In my dream, I shivered with the best kinds of magical concert goosebumps. And this was no snippet; he went for it start to finish. Bono disappeared under the stage, and when the lyric If you are the desert/I’ll be the sea/If you ever hunger/Hunger for me/Whatever you ask for/That’s what I’ll be came up, he emerged in his MacPhisto costume. Then I woke up. In tears.
I can’t imagine they’ll use precious setlist real estate to cover an entire song, but I hope they’ll at least consider a snippet of something by George. Bono posted this beautiful tribute to the late pop star the day after his passing.
And for the record: I want U2 to play the album start to finish in order. In fact, I’ll consider it a spiritual sacrilege if they don’t. If they think they need to build up to “Streets,” I would beg them to open with earlier hits like “I Will Follow” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday” then go from there. Springsteen, Roger Waters and (even) Huey Lewis had successful tours where they played one of their hit albums start to finish. U2 could as well.
If you see me using the #StartWithStreets hashtag my colleague Brian dreamed up, now you’ll know why.
As we anticipate The Joshua Tree Tour 2017, it’s our pleasure to share reader stories of their visits to the famous tree in our new series, Joshua Tree Journeys.
In the pieces published, we’ve already seen (from Scotland) a “mini Bono," we’ve heard (from France) about a failed attempt to find the tree, and been introduced to an artist (from America) who paints the desert.
If you’ve been to the tree, or have a story about your journey to find it, we’re still accepting submissions. Details are here.
Never heard one of our atu2 podcasts? Now’s the time to start. Last week, we published an interview that Matt and Chris held with reporter Andy Greene from Rolling Stone. They discussed everything from Greene’s recent chats with band members to his long history of U2 fandom. I enjoyed the episode immensely.
But one particular topic struck a chord with me: the possibility that U2 could never have a radio hit again. As if the chance of another “Beautiful Day” or “Vertigo” was so far out of reach we shouldn’t even try to imagine it.
Of course, I disagree.
Just because they chose the wrong songs to release as singles from No Line On The Horizon and their distribution of Songs Of Innocence overshadowed its superb quality doesn’t mean there weren’t contenders on both records.
If they had chosen “Breathe” instead of “Get On Your Boots,” or even marketed the heartbreaking and wonderful video for “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” more aggressively, No Line may have yielded a hit.
Same with Songs Of Innocence. If they had played up the collaboration with Lykke Li on “The Troubles” or trusted their rock roots enough to lead with the guitar-heavy “Cedarwood Road,” I probably wouldn’t be making this argument right now.
What do you think? Tell us in the forum.
It’s been over a year since the Paris terrorist attacks that killed over 130 people.
In a new documentary Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends), director Colin Hanks follows the band as they return to Paris to finish the show that was interrupted that night.
As many know, U2 was also in Paris at the time of the attacks, set to rehearse for their next show the following night just a few miles away. In the midst of the chaos, U2 reached out to Eagles of Death Metal to offer their support, and months later brought them onstage when they returned to play their postponed shows.
See the promo featuring Bono, who is interviewed in the film, below.
The documentary airs Monday evening on HBO.
Any opinions expressed in this column are those of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of @U2 as a whole.
(c) @U2/Kokkoris, 2017.