"[I]n America stadium shows are reserved seating. And you don't necessarily get the most enthusiastic people up the front. You get the people who reserved those seats."
Column: off the record ..., vol. 16-709
February 08, 2016
Please accept my apologies on the delay in posting this week's OTR column. I'd love to tell you that I was knee-deep this past weekend in working on an update to the big U2 Fan Survey that we'll be launching soon, or helping the Tours crew with their ongoing work on our U2 Tours site ... but neither of those would be true, sadly.
I was working all day Sunday on stuff related to my day job, not @U2 stuff. As the editor-in-chief of two marketing-related websites, you can probably imagine how important Super Bowl Sunday is for us, what with all the attention on the commercials, YouTube viewing, social buzz and so forth. It's pretty much the biggest day of the year and I worked right through my normal OTR writing slot on Sunday evening until almost 1:00 am PT Monday. Even now, it's almost midnight Monday night and I've just finished more Super Bowl-related marketing coverage for tomorrow and finally have some time to think and write about U2. Yay!
Or about Coldplay, if that's okay. Because I think what happened to them during Sunday's Super Bowl halftime show was awful. They've been billed as the halftime entertainment for months, and then in the last week or two (I think) word leaked out that there'd be special guests including Beyonce and Bruno Mars. Okay, fair enough, I thought ... I suppose they can help Coldplay sing a Coldplay song or two and it should turn out okay.
But what ended up happening, as you probably know by now, is that Coldplay rushed through a medley of three of its hits, condensing them into maybe five minutes of music. And then the special guests came on and basically took over the whole halftime show. There was a point where it seemed like Coldplay disappeared for a good 3-4 minutes, which is ridiculous for what was supposed to be the primary halftime performer. I turned to my son at one point and asked him, "Is Coldplay even on stage anymore?" I like Coldplay and was looking forward to seeing them play for 12 minutes, but the whole thing was a mess.
The Hollywood Reporter said that "Pepsi and the NFL set Coldplay up for failure." Agreed. Yahoo's headline said "Coldplay left in the cold." Yep. In the Chicago Tribune, the headline says "Beyonce reduces Coldplay to appetizer...." Agreed. I could go on and on with links to articles saying the same thing, but you get the point. The halftime show, which could've been a vehicle for Coldplay to get in front of a massive audience before it does a North American stadium tour this summer, turned into a commercial for Beyonce's new song, which she performed, and tour, which was announced on TV as soon as the performance ended. It just wasn't right. I feel bad for Coldplay. They deserved better.
And to bring this back on-topic: There's not a chance in hell that U2 -- especially a Paul McGuinness-managed U2 -- would've ever agreed to share its Super Bowl halftime performance with any other artists. No way, no how. (Yes, I know they shared their stage with Eagles Of Death Metal in Paris two months ago; different situation altogether.) But I'm not going to fault Coldplay for what happened. I think they deserve credit for giving their best in what must've been a different experience than what they originally expected. I hope someday there's a Coldplay book or something that gives the real behind-the-scenes story of how that halftime show went from a Coldplay performance to what it ended up being.
(Note to Chris: Yes, I know I didn't "save it for the podcast," but we can still talk about it next time.) :-)
Huge congrats to our very own Sherry Lawrence, who was featured Monday on U2.com as the latest contributor to their ongoing "U2 Playlist" series. In the piece, Sherry shares more than a dozen of her favorite U2 songs and explains why these songs have a significant meaning in her life. And the really cool thing for me is that, even though I've known Sherry since the PopMart tour, I still learned a lot of new stuff about her and her fave U2 songs!
The article is behind the U2.com members-only paywall, so I'm hoping Sherry will eventually take the text of the article and post it somewhere else online so everyone can read it. (hint, hint)
Speaking of our podcast as I did above, we're back from our holiday/vacation hiatus and episode 23 was posted late last week. But heads up that we've decided, since U2 is kind of on a hiatus of its own, that we're going record new episodes every other week rather than weekly, at least for the rest of this month. Once we get the big Fan Survey launched and the results start coming in, we'll end up with a ton of stuff to talk about, and we'll probably go back to weekly podcasts then. But for now, expect to get a new episode every other week. And as always, thanks for listening!
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, 2016.