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"I've nothing against synths, contrary to popular belief — it's the machines who play the machines that worry me." — Bono

by Justin Burke

I had been living in a PopMart World since the release of the Pop album. I was elated to hear that "The Boys" would be playing the Kingdome in Seattle, my new home. Honestly, I have to admit that I was a little afraid. I had seen ZOO TV get blown up from the arenas to the football stadiums and felt that the impact of ZOO TV's flash and message was somewhat lost in large venues. PopMart had been billed as another huge extravaganza and when I started tuning into the promotion, my heart sank a little. As I followed the news, I heard of sagging ticket sales and poor reviews. I arrived at the show with low expectations, even wondering how the PopMart material would translate on stage.

I was glad to be pleasantly surprised. First of all, the Kingdome sucked for music. It was like playing in a huge bomb shelter and even though there was considerable throught put into the sound system to accomodate such conditions, you can't realy make a place sound better than it is. You can just hope to deliver the most direct sound to the most people and pray that the reverb of the hall doesn't garble it all up. Kudos to the sound crew for thinking about us people in the cheap seats!

During the set, I quickly felt my reservations disappear. It was the heart rending and emotionally evocotive version of Please that really made my hair stand up on end. I felt that Bono and the band was in fine form (despite hearing that The Edge had the flu!). I never felt overhwelmed by the huge LCD screen, but rather felt that it was used tastefully.

I could tell that the technology had taken it's toll on the band, however. I never had the feeling that PopMart was something they were comfortable with. I was glad to heat them say they'd be coming back in a much more simple vein. I was glad to see that some true with the release of ATYCLB and the Elevation shows.

Can't wait to see "the boys" once more in Austin this November (I'll be behind the stage, so I hope the monitor mix is good!)

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