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"If you're close enough to see the tattoo you're too close." — Larry, answering a question about his tattoo



by Zoofly

I have not read one review about the Innocence and Experience Tour, either from a fan or the media.  I purposely didn't search out the set lists of shows they recently played.  I wanted as little information as possible for one reason.  I wanted to believe this tour would be like no other tour they have ever done.  I believed U2 were serious about exploring their past, like their new CD does.  Their reasons for why they HAD to play rock and roll would now become visual and visceral in the new show.

I wanted to believe U2 would finally chuck the same basic set list they’ve used since the Elevation Tour (which by the way was their best tour behind Zoo TV) and truly try something new.

With the current tour, they finally fell into the hole of irrelevance.  U2 speaks of staying relevant to the point where they have become irrelevant.  The new CD didn’t catch on, and I love the new CD, so what do they do?  They take these excellent songs and dilute them, and hold them up against their "war horse" songs like “With Or Without You” or “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and hope what?  They hope to be relevant?  They are practically drawing a caricature of themselves in front of 20,000 people. 

They didn't finish the work they set out to do when they wrote these new songs, which was to stay relevant.  U2 needed to go out and SELL these new songs.  And they could have put them up against and next to a bunch of great cover songs.   The Ramones, The Clash, Television, Iggy Pop...   Hell, they were playing these artists on the pre show music as I'm sitting there waiting for the show to begin.  

The Show:

They already had me hooked and they hadn’t played a note yet.  This tour was going to be something new.  Something exciting.  Something relevant.

Lights go down, it's dark...  and the show begins.  

“Miracle of Joey Ramone.”  Perfect.  Here we go.  

2nd song is “Electric Co.”  Okay, okay it's an early song.  Almost punk in a way.  I am still with the band.  I get why this song is there.  

Third song.  “Vertigo.”  Hmmm... no time to think about it.  This is still making sense.  We've jump cut back to the recent past.  Okay, but you made me think.

“I Will Follow.”  I'm now getting mildly suspicious that this seems contrived, but in a bad way.  

By the fifth or sixth song I was thinking more about how I hope this show is going to take off instead of being taken off by the music.

I'm sorry.  U2 blew it.  It's a nice show, I sang along, I watched U2 do the same thing they have been doing repeatedly since the Elevation Tour.  That was an excellent tour.  Vertigo tour was great.  360 was good.  Innocence and Experience Tour...  a massive let down.  

I would rather have heard a cover of "See No Evil" by Television with Bono throwing in snippets of U2 songs rather than “Pride.”  Or a cover of "Clampdown" as Bono walks through that bridge thingy, video of bands from the late 70‘s flashing across the massive screen.  Show me all the dirt and pavement of those early days with a version of “Lust For Life” then rip into "Volcano".  Back to a cover of "Psycho Killer."  Followed by “Raised By Wolves”  And on and on.  Tell a story.

My point is they still write relevant music.  They just don’t know what to do with this kryptonite any longer.  They’ve forgotten how to package the new songs because they’re so overwhelmed by the old ones. 

U2 would argue their older songs are played because the audience enjoys them and all the great memories associated to them.  

I get that.  That’s why you play old songs from your past,  but not YOUR old songs from the past.  Allow your new songs to become associated with great songs without the burden of comparing U2 to U2.  

Well it makes sense to me...

I still love U2.  I’m grateful to have grown up with them since I was too young to have grown up with the Beatles.  U2 is still relevant to me because they are part of who I am.  And I'm still going to believe. 

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