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"As a performer, I understand it takes a picture of me with the Pope or a president to get debt cancellation onto the front pages. Otherwise it's just too obscure a melody line."

-- Bono

@U2 home page

Column: off the record..., vol. 13-569

@U2, June 02, 2013
By: Matt McGee


off the record, from @U2

Can you imagine what we'd do without Twitter? And Instagram? And social media in general?

This weekend was another reminder of how much things have changed since this site launched almost 20 years ago. We used to feel lucky to get news days or weeks after it happened. Now we get live reports from staffers, friends and other fans within seconds of something happening, and the news spreads around the world instantly. Just look at the three articles we posted this weekend about U2's work at Electric Lady Studios (here, here and here) and they're filled with info and photos via Twitter, Instagram and social media.

You young whippersnappers might not understand the big deal, but for us old farts that used to walk uphill in the snow (both ways!) to school every day, thinking about the way technology has changed can be pretty amazing.

Speaking of technology ... you know that thing where you're at a U2 concert and Bono walks out toward the fans and all of a sudden there are 500 iPhones, Androids and maybe even a couple iPads up in the air so people can take photos or shoot video? Well, that happens at most concerts these days and some artists are starting to get pissed off.

On Saturday night, I was over in Portland to see a small club gig by a band called The Boxer Rebellion. If you don't know them, they're really worth looking into. They'd be a perfect opening act on U2's next tour.

I'll get back to the show in a second. First, have you heard of Google Glass? It's like a wearable computer. You wear it like glasses and you can do Google searches, get Gmail emails, send text messages, make phone calls, get directions and shoot photos or video.

Well, I'm one of the early beta testers and have had Glass for about a month now. I wore it during the Boxer Rebellion show last night -- my first concert with it. And wow, this could be a game-changer.

I've uploaded seven photos from the gig (taken with Google Glass) in my Flickr account. But more impressive to me are the two videos that I shot with Glass. This thing has a tiny little microphone and I was certain that it would never be able to handle a loud sound system inside a small club, but listen for yourself:

The cool thing is that I didn't have to hold up a camera or a smartphone to shoot those photos and videos. My head became the camera because I was wearing it like a pair of glasses. So I wasn't blocking anyone's view, wasn't distracting the artist, wasn't distracting myself, etc.

The video is a bit shaky here and there (especially in the second song, because it's a favorite of mine) since I couldn't resist grooving to the songs, but probably no more shaky than most hand-held videos, right?

Google Glass isn't available to the public yet, but there's a chance it will be by the time U2 tours again. If so, it looks like it could be a great way to shoot some photos and videos while still enjoying the show (and not blocking anyone's view). And maybe that'll keep the artists happy, too.

And finally, from amazing technology to not-so-amazing (and unofficial) U2 paraphernalia ... via @U2 reader Jeff E. comes this link to a Bono caricature shot glass. Limited edition!


Until next time....

(c) @U2, 2013.

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