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"We can write songs about God and have them right next to songs about girls. I think we weave God, sex and politics together in a way that's very unusual to white music." — Bono

Snakeman Charms All-Comers

- February 08, 2001

by Max Bell

WATCH out for the Waterloo Sunset, in case U2's snake oil-selling
front man, Bono, starts to charm you with a line about his bass
player's appendage, and then refers to his songwriting partner, yer
guitarist 'the Edge', as a 'Zen Presbyterian'. It appears that
bonhomie is abroad in the corporate world of rock music. But hand it
to U2 - when the celebrity chef says that the greasy chips are
halfway down, they deliver.

Last night's Astoria show was the third in a triumvirate of small
theatre events - Paris, New York, London - all drawing music-industry
people, clinging to the Dubliners' hems, and a healthy cross-section
of real-time fans.

They stood by their posts because U2 still encourages that level of
support. Outside, in the wet Soho streets, supplicants begged for

It has to be said, Bono carries a stage-side manner that acknowledges
both camps. The palpable excitement that greeted End Of The World
caused him to fling himself, with fantastic restraint, into the pit.
His easy exit, within seconds, indicated that a few pacts have been
made where U2 is concerned.

But the palpable excitement in the lower decks, coupled with
interested involvement aloft, couldn't account for the brilliant
garage rock of Elevation. Scampering across the Monkees and Jimi
Hendrix references, Bono and Edge switched the agenda sideways to
Stuck In A Moment ... with oblique nods at Michael Hutchence and
Paula Yates.

That's another U2 trait. They pull names out of the bag, and they
have some to mull over.

Bono's boys are always intellectual, but they ain't snobs. After all,
when yR> spirit to bounce back la U2.

An oddball Desire and a dodgy Salman moment aside, the band
translated from the marketed world that all rock business inhabits to
the nitty gritty that inspired One and Discotheque.

When other rock groups are struggling for a following, U2 won't be.

2001, The Evening Standard.

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