U2 Live Now vs. Then, Bono's Voice, Hello All

Kelly Simpson ([email protected])
Fri, 17 Jul 1998 12:54:48 PDT

    Hello, this is my first post to Wire although I've lurked for about
a year now.
    I've been reading this debate about U2's live performances now vs.
then (Joshua Tree) and I had to say something because I thought some
really silly thereoies were being expoused.
     First off, is U2 tighter now than then? The answer is yes, of
course they are. First off on the JT tour they didn't have to play with
a giant screen behind them. They have fairly set set lists now because
every song they do has to work with the screen. They can't just pull
out People Get Ready or Springhill Minning Disaster or some other cover
without working it out with the techies who run the screen a few days
before hand. Musically they are tighter because they now the songs by
now. They've only been playing the JT material for a decade+ so of
course they have a better grasp of it musically. Some are saying that
being tight is a bad thing. I don't know, I play in a concert band
(clarinets is what I play) and I tend to find that we as a band want to
be tight, it is a sign of a group of good musicians.
       Now I'm not sure if this loseness you are talking about is Bono's
tendancy to make impropto speeches during the pre-Zoo TV tours. But I
know they've made a concious decision to try to cut back on that sort of
thing for various reasons.
      As to Bono's voice, yes he is getting old and it might not be as
strong as it was on Boy or JT or whatever. But he is also rich now so
he can afford a vocal coach and I think we see that on a number of songs
where his voice reaches places it couldn't before.
       As to the creativity thing of Pop and it being a commercial
record where U2 tried to write 12 stadium songs. Get a life. Really,
seriously. For those who want to see them experiment they did the
Passangers. That was them doing weird stuff and streching their musical
boundaries. But U2 felt (as vocalized mainly by Larry) that they have a
pact with their fans and that they have to put out kickass music and not
do overindulgent art projects and pass them off on us. For the record I
loved the Passangers, but really weren't we all listening to it after
buying it and saying to ourselves, "I can't wait till their real album
comes out." And U2 still push boundaries, Pop was extremly adventurous.
Seriously if someone like the Prodigy or Trent Reznor had released it
they'd be hailed as visionaries. U2 just got a bad rap for jumping on
the techno bandwagon. And yes they wrote their songs with the idea that
they would be played live. Because we the fans who they realize that
they have a pact with want to see them live.
     They could quit touring like Blur says they have, so they could
produce songs that could never be performed live. But I don't want
that, do you?
     And I'm sure this will be refuted by some obscure reference to a
long lost B-side or a cover at a concert that I haven't heard or
something like that. Sure, then if that's what makes you happy. But
those are just instances where I'm wrong, but generally I'm right.
    Anyway I'm sure I'm going to get flamed, one of the reasons I've
never written to Wire is that I'm afraid of some how starting a flame
war, but who cares.

                  "Fossils will be the death of us"
                               - Kelly Simpson

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