"Maybe that is the step forward on this record, to be able to have the freedom to have humour sitting alongside songs that are deadly earnest, and the two actually balance out each other."
-- Edge, on All That You Can't Leave Behind
Column: off the record..., vol. 13-558
March 17, 2013
Twitter was all a-flitter earlier this week when a fan attending a Killers concert bumped into Stuart Morgan, Adam’s guitar tech, and asked him when the next U2 tour was slated. The tweet stated plans were for spring 2014 starting with arenas in the U.S. The timing seems right, and the venue selection seems to match the sentiment Bono shared about wanting to go smaller.
In other news, it would appear that our favorite vegetarian drummer was spotted at The Sea Fire Grill last week ordering porterhouse for two (and a whole lot of seafood). It was interesting to see the response from fans, ranging from “He was right around the corner from me - Far away, so close” to “I thought he was vegetarian!” Our own M2 even suggested this might be good material for a future Achtoon Baby. While it wasn’t reported who was in Larry’s dining party or who ate what, it certainly raised a few eyebrows.
“I’m ready for St. Patrick. I’m ready to shake that snake.” – Bono, Boston, Mass. 3/17/92
I embarked on my first U2 tour pilgrimage 21 years ago. I was a freshman in college and much like ZooTV, I had no idea what I was about to get myself into. It was four concerts over six days: Hartford, Worcester, Providence and Boston. Every year since I take a trip down memory lane during this week in March to remind myself of the immense fun I had, the insane emotional high I felt, and the intensity a U2 audience has. Magical doesn’t even come close to describing how it felt to be one of only 50 fans allowed in for sound check, and then standing in the front row at Boston Garden for St. Patrick’s Day. That one day cemented my devotion and commitment to these four men hailing from Ireland. Adding to the atmosphere that night, a group of bagpipers went through the arena. It was a decade later when I found out that Bono likes to send bagpipers as a calling card to say hello.
To share in this memory, here are the first three songs from the Boston Garden show, courtesy of YouTube:
In the U.S., St. Patrick’s Day usually means that everyone claims to be Irish in order to enjoy the green beer and Irish music that just about every bar is serving up. Irish music has had considerable impact on American music, especially in the bluegrass genre. Typically, local PBS stations will air their Irish-inspired programming like Celtic Women or the Irish Tenors. In the early ‘90s, they aired a phenomenal program called “Sound And Vision – The Influence Of Irish Music.” You may know it better as “Bringing It All Back Home.” It was during this program that “Wild Irish Rose” made its debut. This still formally unreleased gem should have been on The Joshua Tree re-release as it was written around that time. I believe this is the most traditionally Irish song Bono and Edge have created as it features that typical mix of lilt, longing and melancholy.
You can also find Bono on the music documentary Music Of Ireland.
While on the topic of traditional Irish songs, here are a few that have been performed by Bono and Co. over the years:
“Molly Malone” during Bad in 2001
Bono and Glen Hansard performing “The Auld Triangle”
“Dirty Old Town” from Boston on St. Patrick’s Day in 1992
In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, here’s more U2 video goodness marking the occasion:
MTV Happy St. Patrick’s Day from U2
And finally … I couldn’t resist more from that St. Patrick’s Day show in Boston: