"I want U2 to be a band that takes risks. I hate this idea of U2 as a nice safe band. . . . The rock rebel thing is very phony."
Column: off the record..., vol. 9-436
November 14, 2010
I wonder how much U2 may change things up given the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. It's remarkable to have a day like we did on Saturday, where activists around the world could feel like they played a role in her release. I feel like my involvement with Amnesty International worked, and it encourages me to continue the fight for the other 2000+ prisoners of conscience being held unjustly. We all still need to "Walk On."
As Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark previews have been moved a fortnight, it's allowing their marketing team to start kicking into high gear. They are combating the negative "shock-and-ouch" publicity of actors' broken wrists and feet with photo stills of rehearsals, turning it into shock-and-awe. Starting with their Twitter feed, @SpideyOnBway, they have been quite active over the past week responding to disappointed ticket holders as well as posting photos from rehearsals with promises of more exclusive photos coming soon. They have also teamed up with the cable channel SyFy to get the word out to 95 million others. It helps to find out that Oprah sat in on last Sunday's rehearsal with Bono.
The idea of bringing Spider-Man to Broadway was conceived in 2002 when Marvel Entertainment started shopping around the stage rights for the character. Over the next eight years, the rollercoaster known as Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark would make anyone believe in if there's a will, there's a way. The Dec. 2010 issue of Chicago Magazine tells the tale of the show's birth through the eyes of the original producer, David Garfinkle, with such depth. It's a must-read for anyone who has followed Bono and Edge's involvement with this production. Understanding the obstacles that have plagued the show, having to wait a couple more weeks isn't bad.Â
Through it all, I must give credit to Live Nation and Ticketmaster as they have been coping with the rescheduling and refunds. The fact that they offered full refunds, inclusive of all fees, and honored discounts for certain preview performances after tickets were already purchased spoke volumes to me. I actually received a handwritten note from their customer service department in the mail! That is unheard of. They have also been very active through Twitter in trying to help customers. I do hope that this level of customer service continues, but I also hope I never have to deal with that side of Ticketmaster or Live Nation again.
My next OTR column is slated for Nov. Â 28, and I will be dedicating the entirety of the column to the first preview performance of Spider-Man. So, as the saying goes, watch this space.
I asked on Twitter earlier this week for suggestions for this week's column. Our loyal @U2 readers did not disappoint. @JamesmotleyUK asked "What is the point of U2.com? Would u subscribe if it weren't for the priority tix."
This is a conundrum fans have been trying to figure out for years. To me, the point of U2.com is to have an official affinity and connection directly with them. The key here is official. I have been a part of their official fan club for over 21 years now, and through it all, the old-fashioned part of me still feels like I want to say that I'm a part of a band's official fan club. That mileage may vary, especially given the amount of unofficial sites available, ours included.
U2.com is still the only place where you can get Willie's Diary. It's also improved its streaming content. Just this week, they launched streaming B-sides as they move to put U2's complete catalog online for streaming to paid subscribers. Yes, they are promising the whole back catalog. I like that convenience.Â For the audiophiles out there, our friend Aaron at U2wanderer.org has done a fantasticÂ reviewÂ of the streaming B-side audio content on U2.com, and has found that "The quality of these tracks is impressive, and they sound good to the ear, at least those ripped from CD." The earliest songs were most likely recorded from vinyl, so their quality may be a little lower.
Add to the streaming content the members' subscription gift and the 25 percent discount for merchandise in their shop, and I feel that a U2.com membership has its value. Also with tour starting again, it's fun to follow along with their subscriber-only video updates.
As with anything, it's what you do with it. I still feel $40/$50 is a bit steep, but it is what it is.
Besides enjoying a Broadway show with Oprah, Bono and Edge had much on their New York City social calendar over the past week or so. On Nov. 5, they both were spotted at Anton Corbijn's "Inwards and Onwards" exhibit opening at Stellan Holm Gallery on Madison Avenue. On Nov. 8, Bono spoke at a dinner hosted by Malaria No More. Edge was able to leave New York City toÂ make it back to Dublin in time to catch the first performance of his wife's work in Cold Dream Colour.
For our Twitter followers, this is old news, as all of these stories were shared via our @atu2 Twitter feed. Our site doesn't get updated as quickly as our tweets do, so we encourage you to follow us on Twitter.
Recently my husband brought to my attention during dinner that Wide Awake in America was a misleading EP title as none of the tracks were actually recorded in America. The upcoming Record Store Day vinyl release of Wide Awake in Europe is more truthful as all of the tracks were indeed recorded in Europe. This is precisely the reason why I'm glad I married a U2 fan.
And finally --- for those out there like fellow @U2 reader and Twitter follower @ST_U2 who feel there isn't enough PopMart in the world, here's something to get in the mood for the restart of the U2 360 tour in a couple of weeks. It's the 1998 PopMart special broadcast from Perth. (Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4). Enjoy!
Have a great week!
Â© @U2/Lawrence, 2010