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Old 09-20-2010, 04:07 PM   #121
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I agree inasmuch as I like Bono's vocal on AMAAW but I don't think it is 'pretty incredible' to define Bono's post-97 voice as 'thin', given how lived-in it has sounded. A debating point, maybe, but 'incredible', no.
You've said you have much respect for me, and that respect is returned. Believe me. I always like to read your posts.

I just find it hard to understand how there could be a Bono voice era of 1997-present. It just can't be lumped together like that. His voice has been leaps and bounds better since 2004 than it was between 1997 and 2004.
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Old 09-20-2010, 04:11 PM   #122
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The newer ones are somewhat better but I don't think the difference is that much. Also, Boston and Slane are known to be relatively weak vocal performances by Bono - even compared to other shows in 2001 - 2002. He was going through rough times then with his father dying and all. So I think those comparisons speak more to how he was having a really bad period then more than saying that he has a really great voice now.
This would be a good point about Bono's father if Pride was played any better at other Elevation shows. It wasn't.

Boston was DVD night, so they were on their game, and it was during the 1st leg of the tour before Bono's father died.

Its a reach to call this cherry picking non representative examples.

Pride, Bad, WOWY, IWF, SBS all had consistently weak vocal performances on Elevation.

Its well known that Bono's voice has improved consistently and dramatically since.
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Old 09-20-2010, 09:30 PM   #123
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This would be a good point about Bono's father if Pride was played any better at other Elevation shows. It wasn't.

Boston was DVD night, so they were on their game, and it was during the 1st leg of the tour before Bono's father died.

Its a reach to call this cherry picking non representative examples.

Pride, Bad, WOWY, IWF, SBS all had consistently weak vocal performances on Elevation.

Its well known that Bono's voice has improved consistently and dramatically since.
Well, if this is true it just means his 01-02 voice was really weak relative to the '80s and that now it's still pretty weak relative to the 80s but not as bad. I just don't see hear his voice as being real strong these days, maybe a bit stronger than around 2001 but still much weaker than the 80s. I know he is 50 but many singers his age or older have stronger voices yet few had a voice as powerful as Bono had in his early to mid 20s.
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:23 AM   #124
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Well, if this is true it just means his 01-02 voice was really weak relative to the '80s and that now it's still pretty weak relative to the 80s but not as bad. I just don't see hear his voice as being real strong these days, maybe a bit stronger than around 2001 but still much weaker than the 80s. I know he is 50 but many singers his age or older have stronger voices yet few had a voice as powerful as Bono had in his early to mid 20s.
I don't know about that. Some singers do have a fine voice in their 50's - and those are inherently better vocalists. Even Bono said that he's, at best, a good vocalist, not a great one. I agree. It's the passion he brings - along with some sky-rocketing notes - that made me a huge fan of his vocals. In terms of passion, Bono wins almost always.

However, when I look at other singers around that age (including a few that have since passed away), they can be great - in a very narrow range. If Bono stayed within a certain range, he'd be fine. But that might limit his passion and limits what U2 can do.

The loss of his range and power is clearly due to smoking, IMO. The TUF Bono was young and rarely had issues. By JT, though, some nights he simply wasn't able to hit notes or a falsetto. The effects became a bit more pronounced for Love Town when shows were cancelled. He was smoking and pushing his voice hard. For AB and ZOO TV, Bono's style changed, allowing the appearance of solid vocals, but it's the change in style, less straining on AB songs (where a few were almost "spoken") that helped. Plus, there were some ZOO TV shows where clearly his voice is failing (I recall a Fox TV special and he sounded horrible on "Mysterious Ways" - his voice was gone by then). By PopMart, the breakdown of his voice due to smoking was more obvious. With Elevation, there were moments of recovery and moments of some of his worst vocals ever. Either he quit smoking or decreased it tremendously, because this current Bono is the best I've heard since ZOO TV. Is it as good as that Bono? No, but it is close. And at times, he has the power to match the JT/Lovetown era Bono (see "Miss Sarajevo" performances, especially on the "Vertigo" tour).

Lesson? Sorry to all the smokers out there, but don't smoke, especially if you are a vocalist.
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:27 AM   #125
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Obviously, smoking causes a lot of damage to one's voice. But I wouldn't chalk it up entirely to that (sorry if I misread you, and you weren't saying it was).

I think years of screaming and "improper" singing technique wore on his voice and caused a lot of the problems as well. Of course, combined with the smoking, it's just not a good thing.

And then didn't he have nodes removed from his vocal cords as well? That throat surgery in the early '00s - wasn't that the need? I know some singers who've had those, and they can be caused by years of wear and tear on the voice as well, including too long singing with poor technique.
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:35 AM   #126
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And then didn't he have nodes removed from his vocal cords as well? That throat surgery in the early '00s - wasn't that the need?
This keeps popping up as fact but in I think U2 by U2 he states that it was just a scare. I believe that there was a fear that he needed surgery for throat cancer. He got tested and it was discovered to be an allergy or something in his diet. He had a scare, but no surgery on his throat.
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:38 AM   #127
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Oh, gotcha. Thanks.

Well, the rest of my post still stands.
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:20 AM   #128
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To me, there's pre-1997 and post-1997, and they are two completely different voices. The 80s voice grows into the 90s voice - its an evolutionary development. Then he clearly struggles on Popmart, and whether it was a pre-existing issue, or something he did to himself before or during that tour, it directly lead into that operation in 1998-99, and then out the other side of that operation is a dramatically different voice. He clearly didn't have it figured out on Elevation, got vocal training after that tour, started to show massive improvement on Vertigo, which has continued on into 360.

But it's different. It's not the same voice at all. It's lost all the detail and nuance, variety and range. The little mixing desk inside him that used to have two dozen knobs and buttons that could be pushed up a little here, turned up a little there, pulled back on a little here, slid forward a little there, add this effect here - was clearly decimated then. The range - range in style and variety, not scale range - is pretty much entirely gone. What's left are one big fuck off Power lever, and one big fuck off Volume knob, and all he really has is the ability to swing those up and down.

So given that, it doesn't surprise me that people who judge his singing purely by how he handles a "Wiiiide awake" or "In the naaaame" line think he's as good or better than ever, because the changes effect the other 95% of his singing.

I think he's done well lately with the new voice, both on record and on tour. I think he did a lot better on No Line than on Atomic Bomb, vocally. I think he had his training going into Atomic Bomb and he was impressed with his new found or rediscovered power, which meant that he unfortunately belted almost the entire album, and despite having more control then on Elevation, he overdid it a lot on that tour. There's more range on No Line, and when he is flinging the power/volume up to eleven, it's being used to better effect. Live, he's just handling it better. I miss him actually singing a lot of those songs, and I hate it when he does still overdo the power/volume stuff, but he's reigned a lot of that in now.

But yeah, no comparison between the two. They are not the same thing. He simply can not sing like that anymore, that voice doesn't exist.
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:23 AM   #129
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This keeps popping up as fact but in I think U2 by U2 he states that it was just a scare. I believe that there was a fear that he needed surgery for throat cancer. He got tested and it was discovered to be an allergy or something in his diet. He had a scare, but no surgery on his throat.
Really? I didn't know that. Thought he did actually have surgery. Either way, I don't think it's a natural shift from 90s into 00s. Something got busted up at the end of the 90s, and that voice was gone come the 00s.
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:15 PM   #130
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Reference: U2 by U2 page 287 (time period late 1998):

It wasn't nodes and it wasn't throat surgery in the normal sense, it was exploratory surgery to determine if a biopsy was necessary. It appears that when he woke up the doctor said that he was ok.
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Old 09-22-2010, 12:26 PM   #131
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I don't know about that. Some singers do have a fine voice in their 50's - and those are inherently better vocalists. Even Bono said that he's, at best, a good vocalist, not a great one. I agree. It's the passion he brings - along with some sky-rocketing notes - that made me a huge fan of his vocals. In terms of passion, Bono wins almost always.

However, when I look at other singers around that age (including a few that have since passed away), they can be great - in a very narrow range. If Bono stayed within a certain range, he'd be fine. But that might limit his passion and limits what U2 can do.

The loss of his range and power is clearly due to smoking, IMO. The TUF Bono was young and rarely had issues. By JT, though, some nights he simply wasn't able to hit notes or a falsetto. The effects became a bit more pronounced for Love Town when shows were cancelled. He was smoking and pushing his voice hard. For AB and ZOO TV, Bono's style changed, allowing the appearance of solid vocals, but it's the change in style, less straining on AB songs (where a few were almost "spoken") that helped. Plus, there were some ZOO TV shows where clearly his voice is failing (I recall a Fox TV special and he sounded horrible on "Mysterious Ways" - his voice was gone by then). By PopMart, the breakdown of his voice due to smoking was more obvious. With Elevation, there were moments of recovery and moments of some of his worst vocals ever. Either he quit smoking or decreased it tremendously, because this current Bono is the best I've heard since ZOO TV. Is it as good as that Bono? No, but it is close. And at times, he has the power to match the JT/Lovetown era Bono (see "Miss Sarajevo" performances, especially on the "Vertigo" tour).

Lesson? Sorry to all the smokers out there, but don't smoke, especially if you are a vocalist.
Good analysis on Bono's vocal eras...I agree that his voice started started showing signs of wear and tear by the JT time period but most fans love that period of U2 so much that they aren't able to see it. While JT may be U2s best album I still think that the UF was Bono at his best. He still had all the raw ability of the 80-83 period but actually sang on most songs as opposed to shouting. It is interesting though that the first song where Bono started sounding like his older self was in the UF era. On "Love Comes Tumbling" he sounds more like late '80s / early 90s Bono. Not sure if this song was recorded a little later (late '84 or early '85) than the rest of TUF. I know the first leg of TUF tour in late '84 was pretty gruelling for them from what I've read.
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:00 PM   #132
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Good analysis on Bono's vocal eras...I agree that his voice started started showing signs of wear and tear by the JT time period but most fans love that period of U2 so much that they aren't able to see it. While JT may be U2s best album I still think that the UF was Bono at his best. He still had all the raw ability of the 80-83 period but actually sang on most songs as opposed to shouting. It is interesting though that the first song where Bono started sounding like his older self was in the UF era. On "Love Comes Tumbling" he sounds more like late '80s / early 90s Bono. Not sure if this song was recorded a little later (late '84 or early '85) than the rest of TUF. I know the first leg of TUF tour in late '84 was pretty gruelling for them from what I've read.
The thing is that on 360 tour its the first time since Uf era Bono got the "young high sound" in his voice. You can hear it in the video below in times:

Need in 1:38
Love in 2:20
Rewind in 3:09
Lie in 4:55
Let The Good Times Roll in 5:27



Listen to those notes, because on JT/LT tour he didnt have this high "young sound". On 360 he has this sound and I think its incredible that a 50 year old can get this sound.
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Old 09-22-2010, 11:02 PM   #133
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The thing is that on 360 tour its the first time since Uf era Bono got the "young high sound" in his voice. You can hear it in the video below in times:

Need in 1:38
Love in 2:20
Rewind in 3:09
Lie in 4:55
Let The Good Times Roll in 5:27



Listen to those notes, because on JT/LT tour he didnt have this high "young sound". On 360 he has this sound and I think its incredible that a 50 year old can get this sound.
Not bad, not bad. But if he's really that good now then why all the snippets from various songs and shows to collect all these highlights ? This was never necessary back when he really had it - you would not have had to work this hard to make this. All you would have needed to do was show me one song from one show.
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:01 AM   #134
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I agree that he reached some sort of live peak on the 1984-85 tour (and the Unforgettable Fire album). A few years ago, there was a YouTube clip of him singing "Bad" in Toronto in (I think) late 1984, just amateur footage on a camcorder or whatever. That was the frickin' best vocal I've ever heard him do, and one of the best I've heard anybody do. He couldn't even sing it like that in 1987, never mind now.

For me, the absolute peak for him is the UF album, the 84-85 tour, the '86 Conspiracy of Hope mini-tour, and the Joshua Tree album sessions (not the tour that followed). In that brief 2.5 year span, he was one of the great rock singers of all time, undoubtedly.

I've always maintained that Bono's performances in the 80s is essentially what "made" U2. His level of performance in the mid-80s was far beyond what any of Larry, Adam, or even Edge were bringing to the stage -- especially back when there were no "frills" onstage to distract audiences from the warts-and-all performance. The rest of the band caught up to Bono's level by the end of the 80s/early 90s, and I think Bono sagged behind the rest a bit on the Pop tour at times. They've all been more in balance, live, since the 80s, but back then it was Bono who really made them go from 'good' to 'very special'.
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Old 09-23-2010, 02:11 AM   #135
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Not bad, not bad. But if he's really that good now then why all the snippets from various songs and shows to collect all these highlights ? This was never necessary back when he really had it - you would not have had to work this hard to make this. All you would have needed to do was show me one song from one show.
Something Bono had more of back in 84 was better stamina, today we got a Bono that smoke, drink and dont care what he eat. But thats not the only reason, he is more careful now because he knows that if he starts to go for it all like he did in 84 he will worn out his voice. So far he havnt had a bad night on the 3rd leg. But the thing is when Bono tries to hit those high notes today he always succeed even if he is tired, if you listen to one show in 84 he fail alot on different notes and some times he hit them. He strained alot in 84, much because he play with his voice alot to see what he could do.
But if you look at him this 3rd leg of the tour he is running, jumping and dancing alot. The only time he moved more was in the 80s, on ZooTV/Popmart he just walked around.

But if I look at the highlight list from 84 it isnt alot of highlight moments there, alot of these snippets from the 360 tour in the video was done bt Bono several times

But todays Bono got some things Uf Bono did not have, more deeper darker voice, able to hold notes longer, opera skills, techniques...
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