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"One of the reasons we wrote our own songs was because we couldn't play other peoples'. We were worse than your average wedding band. But we could do our thing better than anyone else in the world." — Bono

Column: off the record…, vol. 12-503


off the record, from @U2

It was five leap years ago when Zoo TV began its broadcast in Lakeland, Fla. In 1992, it served as a reflection of society, unreliable transportation, and a way for an Irish rock band to sell its wares to the masses. The Zoo TV platform far surpassed expectations, and served the age just as much as it mocked it. Zoo TV brought us through a presidential election in the United States, ethnic cleansing and civil war in Sarajevo, and the nuclear dangers in places like Sellafield, England.

We still need Zoo TV in 2012. It's as if I'm watching reruns, only instead of Sarajevo it's Syria. Instead of England, it's Japan. And in the United States, it’s the same old debate.

It pains me to say "How long to sing this song?" but if U2 still don't believe in their relevancy in 2012, their message is still as strong today as it was decades ago. But, this isn't very rock 'n' roll, so next...

Paid U2.com subscribers who renewed for 2012 were given another special gift in their account info profile page this past week. As we still patiently await U22, we were given another track from the fan club release, "One Tree Hill." These tracks have been popping up with very little fanfare -- as if subscribers are suddenly finding buried treasure. U2.com did make a more formal announcement a few days later about the track's availability. I've been finding out through fans tweeting about it showing up. I don't know if more tracks are set to be released in this way, but it might be beneficial to check the account info profile page more often. It would be more fun if they posted the tracks that didn't make U22 instead of those that did, however.

Special congratulations go out to Steve Lillywhite as he was honored by Queen Elizabeth II as a "Commander of the Order of the British Empire" during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace this past week. He shared a photo post-ceremony on Twitter, and it appears he's grown into his CBE designation. This adds to his 2012 Joe Meek Legacy Award from the Music Producer's Guild. Well done!

It would appear that Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is still aiming to be taken on the road at some point in the future. Earlier this month, Patrick Healy at The New York Times reported a settlement was made between the show's producers and Julie Taymor over unpaid royalties for her contributions to the show. Healy wrote, "The producers also agreed to pay undisclosed amounts to Ms. Taymor if subsequent productions of Spider-Man are mounted or on tour outside of New York, according to statements on Thursday from both camps."

In case you were wondering, Taymor's receiving $9,750 a week in royalties throughout its stay in New York, and has deferred her additional collaborator royalties ($4,000 a week) until the show has repaid all of its investors.

Given those figures, Bono and Edge's musical royalties should keep them going for a while.

And finally ... In honor of the anniversary of the Zoo TV tour, here are some performances from Lakeland's rehearsals on Feb. 27, 1992. Have a great Leap Year Day!

"Zoo Station"
"Even Better Than The Real Thing"
"I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For"
Practicing the encore phone call
"Love Is Blindness"

©@U2, Lawrence, 2012.