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Column: off the record..., vol. 9-414


off the record, from @U2

(Note: most of the links below are YouTube videos, so grab yourself a tasty beverage and snack so you can sit back, relax and fully enjoy this week's OTR. I apologize in advance if YouTube has blocked some of the videos from being accessible outside of the country.)

Olé! Olé! Olé! Olé! I seem to have a bad case of World Cup Fever. It helps being married to a Brit who challenges me with football chants, and sadly the only one I can remember is "You couldn’t score in a brothel." That was the first one I was taught on one of my first dates with him. I should have seen it coming years ago.

When it comes to music and this year's World Cup, U2 fans have much to be happy about. ESPN is playing their music behind almost every preview match as well as interjecting the band at various points of their programming promos. Their ads leading up to the World Cup included "Get On Your Boots," three different versions of "City of Blinding Lights," two different versions of "Where the Streets Have No Name," "Twilight," "Beautiful Day,"  "Magnificent," "Out of Control," and "Desire."

The spots were written not by the band, but by copywriter Nicholas Sonderup. As m2 blogged, Sonderup said, "I remember saying in the edit room, 'People are going to think Bono wrote those words,' and I was one of those people who swore it was indeed Bono who write them."  I believe that Bono now has a backup speech writer should he need one.

What is mind blowing to me is seeing how South Africa has been working hard to redefine itself. Seeing Archbishop Desmond Tutu dancing in the stands when South Africa scored their first goal on Friday put the exclamation mark on it. Children today can see South Africa differently than I did at their age back in the '80s. One of the first research papers I wrote for school was on apartheid, inspired by the Artists United Against Apartheid movement. Bono wrote "Silver and Gold" for their cause, and as he said in Rattle and Hum, "This is a song written about a man in a shanty town outside of Johannesburg. A man who's sick of looking down the barrel of white South Africa. A man who is at the point where he is ready to take up arms against his oppressor. A man who has lost faith in the peacemakers of the west while they argue and while they fail to support a man like bishop Tutu and his request for economic sanctions against South Africa." Fast forward a few decades later and now we have the archbishop dancing in the stands in Johannesburg and all it represents. I can understand why U2, and especially Bono, would want to be supporting this World Cup.

But it's not just Bono's relationship with "The Arch," it's also his relationship with Nelson Mandela. Putting aside the philanthropic and activist roles, musically Mandela has served as a great resource for Bono. From collaborating with Joe Strummer on "46664 Long Walk to Freedom,"  to dragging Edge along with him to perform both at the 46664 concert in 2003 and again in 2008 with the video link at Mandela's 90th birthday celebration concert, music has served to strengthen their relationship with each other. I doubt Bono would have been so jovial in his impersonation of Mandela had their friendship not been as strong.

When looking at U2, however, it would appear that no one is as passionate about football as Larry. He's the only one who co-wrote and co-produced a song for the occasion. “Put 'Em Under Pressure” was Ireland's World Cup anthem for Italia '90.

Even if my home team doesn't win it all, I will continue to be plagued by World Cup fever for the entirety of the tournament, and I believe the only cure for this fever is more cowbell.

For those of you who ordered the Artificial Horizon triple vinyl, the orders are starting to arrive. According to Live Nation, the shipping is via "standard international" and "the transit time for this method takes about 6 to 24 business days." Reports are coming in that fans in the U.K. have begun receiving them; however, fans in other countries are still waiting. One person reported that you have to hold the vinyl up to the light to see the purple, so don't expect that the vinyl is a prominent purple color.

If you're not into the World Cup and looking for something U2-ey to pass the time, why not check out the RTE Libraries and Archives on U2? Thirty years of audio and video archives are sure to help pass the time before the U2 360 Tour resumes in Turin.

And finally...some rehearsal footage from backstage at the 2003 46664 concert courtesy of Dave Stewart.

Have a great week!

© @U2/Lawrence, 2010.