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"It's ugly — the guy's hand is virtually coming out of the television set." — Bono, on televangelists



by Kumar Ramanathan

WHAT IS FORM?

U2 fans have often complained about the band's reluctance to change their setlists. A case in point example is for the past five nights they have been playing the same songs. Without question, this has made many U2 fans angry (even me), but we must pause and think about this one U2 fans.

Picture a person giving a presentation and he has to give that same presentation over and over again. What teachers of performance will often preach is that it is imperative that the speaker gets inside his or her words and find a form that will excite an audience. This is what U2 does, day in and day out. They don't change their setlists because they want to piss people off, rather they are giving a presentation of music bringing a certain form to a concert that no other band has come close to touching in recent memory. When the band is inside the music, this is when U2 often connects with their audience. Yes, we would all love to hear songs like One Tree Hill, A Sort of Homecoming, Acrobat, and Gloria, but would we rather have U2 play perfect versions of songs or imperfect versions of songs. I vote for the earlier. U2 fans: It is the form of U2 concerts that bring people back over and over again, and the connection that millions of U2 fans experience deals directly with the form and presentation of the music. We all just have to hope that the lead man who communicates the form is on, and I am sorry, I have seen much better from Bono than what I witnessed in Boston on the first night.

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