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"I hope that if people do find the Joshua tree they won't cut it down and take it home and stick it to the wall — or bring it to a gig." — Bono

Column: off the Record..., vol. 9-417

@U2

off the record, from @U2

Happy Independence Day to all our U.S. readers! For some reason, it feels strange to have the holiday on a Sunday; I know some companies who took a holiday on Friday and others who are closed tomorrow. Me? Neither, really. But that's okay, because...


I had something resembling a holiday last week. It was actually a business trip to the Cleveland area, where I was speaking at a marketing workshop for small businesses. But I added some time to the trip in order to see some friends and local sights. The Pro Football Hall of Fame down in Canton was super cool, but even better was spending last Thursday at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum with a couple @U2ers (Scott C. and Angela P.) and friends (Mary C. and Todd R., who you probably know as the hosts of the annual WBWC radio U2 marathon, and Dave B., who attended the U2 Academic Conference last October).

It was my second visit to the Rock Hall; the first was way back in 2003 when @U2 co-presented a U2 Fan Celebration during the hall's U2 exhibit. For those who didn't follow along as I tweeted all day on @U2's Twitter account, here's a recap of a great U2-filled day last week:

Zoo TV at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum

When you enter the Rock Hall, you immediately walk under four Trabants that U2 used as stage props on the Zoo TV Tour in 1992-93; the Zoo TV neon sign is also hung on a wall nearby. I spent a bunch of time in this main lobby area shooting photos, which you can see in this photo set in our Flickr account.

Down on the lower level, there's a nice U2 display in the main exhibit hall. Photos aren't allowed, but they actually have signs encouraging you to tweet about your visit, so I did plenty of that. The display has U2's "Lemon" outfits from the Zoo TV Tour, Bono's first guitar and one of his Irish Falcon guitars, one of Edge's electric guitars from the '80s, Adam's yellow PopMart bass, Larry's original U2 t-shirt, Bono's "Fly" outfit, some record company rejection letters, and some of Bono's original lyrics.

One of the latter was a sheet with the original lyrics to "Bad." I don't recall seeing this in 2003, but it was probably part of that exhibit. In any case, I had no idea that the original opening lines were

If you run and hide this way
Truly I cannot survive this way

Off to the right was a lyric that, I presume, Bono never found a place to fit into the song:

If I could bend straight lines and curve the air

How awesome is that? Love it. What also stood out for me is that a lot of the "fade away"s that Bono sings were originally "sail away." In the lower right of the sheet, Bono had written a variety of rhymed words -- most of which aren't used in the song, but were there perhaps as a sort of Plan B if he needed to change anything. We had a great time analyzing the lyrics and just enjoying the whole U2 display.

After lunch, we headed up to the 4th floor and the new Foster Theater to watch U2 3D. It's not a huge theater, but I don't think I've ever heard better sound anywhere -- including the big IMAX theaters I've been in. Wow. If you get a chance to see U2 3D here, don't pass it up. I'd forgotten how great the movie is. Fans in South America: YOU ROCK. I'd love to see a show with you someday in your homeland(s). U2 3D includes a few of U2's "old, tired warhorses" (to borrow a popular critic's phrase from the Vertigo Tour) like "Bullet the Blue Sky" and "Pride," and it was nice to hear those songs live again. I remember thinking to myself on Thursday, U2's old warhorse songs that so many fans complain about are still light years better than most any other song by any other band.

After the movie, I grabbed a couple souvenirs for my kids, said a sad goodbye to the rest of the gang, and headed to the airport. The Rock Hall has a little store inside the Cleveland airport, and one of the TVs on the outside wall just happened to be showing a familiar movie as I walked by:

Rock Hall at Cleveland Airport

On the long flight home, I found a copy of the YouTube broadcast of last year's Pasadena concert on my laptop, and watched that. It capped off a really great U2 day, one that reminded me of two things:

  1. I picked the right band way back when.
  2. I'm blessed to have met and made some great friends thanks to U2.

It also reminded me that I need to get my son to see the Rock Hall, too. He'll love it. Anyone up for a big @U2 event there someday? I'm ready to go back right now.


One little note before I wrap up this week's column: If you're planning to see a lot of shows this summer on the European tour, or even just a couple, and want to help @U2/U2tours.com post the set lists live (on Twitter, U2tours.com, etc.) as the shows happen, please send me an email.

 

See you soon!

(c) @U2, 2010.