@U2 Home Page - U2 News, Lyrics, Tour Dates & more       https://www.atu2.com
[Skip to Content]

"I don't partake in the spanking of the Yank. That's more of an English thing." — Bono



U2 make their bid to be best band in the world

- February 09, 2001

by David Cheal

MADONNA did it last year. David Bowie and Paul McCartney did it in 1999. Now U2 have joined the small-is-big bandwagon by playing a one-off show, for competition winners, fan club members and invited guests, at a venue one-twentieth the size of the stadiums and arenas where they usually appear.

And why? In U2's case, it was partly as a warming up exercise before their imminent North American tour, but it was also a statement of intent. "We're back, re-applying for the job," said lead singer Bono mid-way through this 80-minute blur of a show. Long pause. "And the job is best band in the world."

In support of their application, the Irish group delivered a compelling set of songs from throughout their 20-odd-year career, beginning with emphasis on last year's All That You Can't Leave Behind album - Elevation, Beautiful Day, New York - but going on to relive past glories such as Desire and Bad. Musically, they displayed all their celebrated cohesion, while Bono demonstrated that his range and power as a vocalist remain undiminished.

He also went off on some intriguing little musical diversions, "sampling" an eclectic selection of songs including Stepping Stone, Ruby Tuesday, Unchained Melody and Craig David's Walking Away. As well as being a tight musical unit, U2 are a tight-knit bunch of friends. When Bono introduced the rest of the band, he called them "the family".

Up in the balcony, a man who might be described as a member of their extended family - Salman Rushdie, who wrote the lyrics for a song on the new album - could be seen drumming his hands with enthusiasm. Meanwhile, downstairs on the dance floor where the competition winners were gathered, the crowd was a restless sea.

So will U2 get the job? Well, they've certainly reached the shortlist. The Red Hot Chili Peppers may have more torque and Radiohead more invention, but given the songs that were left out of tonight's show - Pride (In the Name of Love), Where the Streets Have No Name and With or Without You - their case will be strengthened on the forthcoming tour.

In the meantime, this was a show that proved one thing: that no one does the big, solid, soaring, epic, twangy guitar rock thing better than U2.

2001, The Telegraph.

Return to previous page | Post a Review of this show!