I really can't take U2 (live) anymore - U2 Feedback

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Old 06-17-2017, 08:41 AM   #1
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I really can't take U2 (live) anymore

No, this is not an "I hate U2 thread." I love U2 and still enjoy their new songs and recordings. I thought Songs of Innocence was quite good, and I appreciate it as a very solid recording this late into their career. (I thought No Line on the Horizon was the biggest turkey of their career -- with an amazing number of cringe-worthy moments -- but hey, everybody who's been around for 30 years deserves a mulligan.) No, I still think U2 write (mostly) great songs and are a fine studio band. I'm still excited to hear new recordings by them.

Rather, what I can't stand about them anymore is their public image, and, more particularly, their live stage-show.

The first time I was turned off (along with most North Americans) was the PopMart tour. They started using corporate sponsorship then, and the reasoning seemed to be that previous tours had barely broken even, so now we're going to get corporate sponsorship in order to justify spending the GNP of mid-sized nations on our nightly stage show. Why they thought walking out of giant lemon was worth spending 10 million bucks a night, I'll never know. Okay, so with PopMart they got the nudge-nudge, wink-wink ironic posing out of their systems.

Then, came the grand commercial/American comeback years of 2000-2005. Having not listened to them for several years, I personally got back into them in a big way circa 2001 to 2005. Although I recognized flaws with their recording approach then (basically, "make it as commercial-sound as possible to compete on the charts with Britney Spears"), I still enjoyed those two records and there was certainly a plethora of great songs written and released, in various forms, in those periods. I don't really have any issue with the 2000-2001 tour. Maybe Bono's voice wasn't quite as its best, and maybe there was a bit too much grand-standing for my tastes, but they looked cool, sounded pretty good, and were standing tall, having got the mass-acceptance that they craved back.

I think where they started to "jump the live shark" for me, was the 2005+ period. Here we now have Bono doing 20-minute introductions to "One", a 15-year-old song. The concerts essentially became a backdrop for Bono's humanitarian work. At certain stages of the tour (in the US, at least), Bono donned a ridiculous headband that looked idiotic, while he gyrated around, looking more fat than passionate. His grandstanding was worse than ever in this period. At least the music mostly sounded good, and the stage-show wasn't too exorbitant.

In 2009, all hell broke loose with 'The Claw' or whatever it was called. Not content with having had the biggest stage-shows ever, U2 now felt the need to leave the world's biggest concert carbon-footprint behind after every show. The abomination known as 'the claw' was the most hideous-looking concert venue I've ever seen, the band now seemingly oblivious to how prog-rock and 70s-excess they'd become, a billion-miles away from their no-frills 80s' live value-system, by which they made their names and earned a fanbase. This period was not helped by the weak new songs and Bono's evident tendency to oversing, covering every Edge solo or rhythmic break with "ooh-ooh-oohs!" or "oh-oh-ohs!".

So, then fast-forward to the more recent Glastonbury disappointment, the Apple/iPhone P.R. disaster, the charges of overseas tax-havens, etc. At least they put out a decent (well-produced, at least) album that's true to their roots, I thought. Perhaps this will lead them back to a no-frills, honest, stripped-down live approach that more suits their age, and perhaps they'll give up the hard-sell that accompanies every tour, and just let themselves be themselves again.

Then I heard about TJT retro-tour (gag!). Then I watched some of one of the shows.

Good grief... Did I really see Bono donning the 80's-era hat while singing 80s' songs?

Did I really see Bono and Edge doing the Rattle-and-Hum movie strobe-light re-enactment?

Did I really hear Bono attempting -- and brutally failing -- to hit the (already transposed down) notes of 'Red Hill Mining Town', a song he couldn't handle live when he was 27?

Most bizarrely, did I really see Bono with Donald Trump's hair?


U2 have always been dorks, which was part of their appeal, and I suppose expecting them to be cool at this point is asking too much. But damn, do they have to shoot themselves in the foot every time by making themselves look so stupid?


Anyway, sorry if this comes off as a rant. I am still interested in the group, and I'm always eager to hear their new music.

I just cannot take their public image or their stage-show.
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Old 06-17-2017, 08:49 AM   #2
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lol
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Old 06-17-2017, 08:55 AM   #3
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Damn that's a piping hot take
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Old 06-17-2017, 09:07 AM   #4
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Wow.
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Old 06-17-2017, 09:31 AM   #5
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Damn that's a piping hot take
One might even say steaming.
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Old 06-17-2017, 10:08 AM   #6
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'Sorry if this comes off as a rant' ha ha
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Old 06-17-2017, 11:13 AM   #7
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Hot taek

Bad taek
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Old 06-17-2017, 11:22 AM   #8
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I'm just going to take this opportunity early in the thread to remind everyone to keep it respectful and not turn this into a "let's all make fun of this opinion and the poster who shared it" thread.
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Old 06-17-2017, 11:30 AM   #9
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I agree that they can be embarrassing at times, specifically Bono... But if anything their live show is where they're at their best
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Old 06-17-2017, 11:43 AM   #10
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Panther: I share some of your feelings there. What irritates me the most is their overuse of One, Beautiful Day, Elevation and Vertigo. While I was naive enough to think the current anniversary tour was going to bring surprises, the setlists are proving to be more and more disappointing (they even dropped ASOH, damn it).
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Old 06-17-2017, 12:19 PM   #11
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What irritates me the most is their overuse of One, Beautiful Day, Elevation and Vertigo.
The funny thing about that argument... Elevation wasn't even played at 2/3 of the 2015 shows. One was only played at half of them. Vertigo wasn't played at all on this tour until the past few shows.

Unless someone on here is literally going to every show (and even then, I'd probably be reexamining my life's priorities unless I was a millionaire), it's really not affecting anyone to a huge extent at all. Even if they play such-and-such lesser played song , which they have done even in recent years, a lot of our interaction with it is going to be a smile while reading a set list from the night before, then looking up two minutes of it on YouTube - assuming someone posted it in decent quality - then never watching or listening to it again. Then even if it's just played at one or two shows, there's bound to be some bootleg or whatever that we can come back to and listen.

Re: Panther's arguments in the original post... that's their POV there. If the grandiose or "grand-standing" moments or stages are too much or not to your liking, you always have the choice of not going. Which is cool. Enjoy the music when it's released and if live shows aren't to your liking, then just don't go. Stuff like that has never annoyed me to a large extent, but every band out there has something that can be nit-picked anyway.

As for the shows themselves on this tour, they seemed to go over pretty well with most of the people I was with. I saw the woman next to me start tearing up during the Streets intro even though she had been to a ton of shows by that point and seen it 10-20 times or whatever. Lots of the online comments seem to say how great it was or what moments stood out. In other words, they were just like any other live gig out there. I hate saying this for the billionth time recently, but I'm sure there's plenty of Prince or Soundgarden fans who'd love to see their favorite act still touring now or in the future. Just the fact that they're still out there, making plenty of people happy, is an accomplishment in its own right. For me, that's enough reason to catch them when I can. And if it's not enough for people or just not their thing, then I'm not going to criticize that either.
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Old 06-17-2017, 12:28 PM   #12
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They should show more nipple.

Such a superficial and often incorrect factually bloviation.
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Old 06-17-2017, 01:00 PM   #13
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Yes,yes he had a shirtless user pic back in the day. Maybe stop bringing that up. Who gives a shit?

Well, Panther - think of all the money you'll save on U2 tickets now.
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:37 PM   #14
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There was an astonishing amount of filler in that post and I'm still not sure what the point of it was. Most of the post was about U2 turning into corporate sellouts, but the stuff about the current tour had nothing to do with that at all. More than anything, it was about U2 embarrassing themselves while looking backwards, which was the very thing you seemed to be wishing for.

"U2 haven't put on a show I've liked for 15 years" isn't really threadworthy.
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:58 PM   #15
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Cool. Thanks for sharing.

Bye.
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Old 06-17-2017, 04:01 PM   #16
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So much of this take is why I do like them live. I tend to gravitate to smaller acts/smaller venues, but Bono and the band can fill the space. Few can. And that humanitarian work...I love it. I am going to guess all the Bono rants added together total less than 10 minutes a concert. And the band is, IMO, a better band live today than in the 80s. Bono has lost some voice, but there are a handful of moments every show when he hits some note that causes my hair to stand on end, and I realize he is still there, just conserving so he can still hit those notes.

To me, and it is an oft-used line and certainly not original, but to me...that is church. I have no problem with Bono going reverend. And here is why, in my own mini-rant:

Bono's stage rants always feel personal, even when they are thematically repeated from venue to venue. He is talking to us, individually. I never feel like he is the embodiment of Roger Waters' Pink. And I cannot say that for most big acts. The most recent example I have, and this will no doubt step on some toes, was Green Day. They were musically tight, awesome, just nailing their songs. But the crowd participation stuff, the "this side say "wooo""..."now this side say "wooo"". "Now follow my hand signaling for the intensity of the "woooo"" felt like musical fascism. It turned me off to no end, especially for a band from Gilman, even if they weren't liked there. And I have no problem with bands going big. But it felt like one big goof on his crowd, like he was angry at us for being there, making his band huge, and he just had to take the money to show us how dumb we were. A lot of implied intent there, I know. But it made me run cold at that show, especially after such and honest and ripping set from Against Me. I never feel like Bono is taking it for granted, or treating his audience as anything less than like-minded folk who want to help, or want to feel the emotion he is feeling, etc. Yeah, he is a master of stage-craft...I am not saying he is of some punk ethic of "no stage, no barrier". It is as far opposite from that as you can get. But I have never doubted his resolve or heart. Even when he rambles too much over an Edge solo.

And that, along with the great songs, is what makes him different to me, and why I don't get mad about his more cringe-worthy moments. I never, ever doubt where it comes from with him. And I am selfish enough to not give a shit about his motives when it comes to getting to hear Red Hill Mining Town and side 2 of the Joshua Tree...take my money, please. For the cost of a great meal and drinks, I get to hear that live? Go be rich, dodge taxes, give some to One, whatever...just do that shit. Please.

I can feel your reasoning, because i have felt it about others and turned off. I just disagree in this case.
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Old 06-17-2017, 04:02 PM   #17
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I really can't take U2 (live) anymore

Didn't like PopMart and thought the wearing of fake muscle shirts, hazard masks and Bono as a boxer was downright embarrassing BUT that Lemon was cool!

Elevation was an AMAZING show and other than his running around the stage at the beginning of Streets, it was cool as ice.

Vertigo was way too preachy and the way he butchered the beginning of Streets still pisses me off. His outfit during Zoostation was embarrassing(that hat was dumb) but the concerts were great.

U2360 was awesome. Thought they looked cool, sounded great and it was entertaining as hell. Artists at U2s level charge a lot for tickets and you definitely got what you paid for!

iE tour was good but Bono looks dumb with the sports coat. Not cool at all. He also looked fat! Go watch Gloria from the Chicago show on YouTube. Unreal song and they sounded great...one of the best versions I have ever heard of he song but his belly sticks out bad...lol oh, and the hair style was B-A-D


JT....haven't seen it yet but if they have through back references to the original...I'm cool with that.

As for the glasses that he wears now....they can go into the vault with the muscle shirts, boxers robe, blonde hair style and that bike he smashed in Central Park.
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Old 06-17-2017, 04:38 PM   #18
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Maybe U2 was never super cool...but that's fine by me because I never wanted to be a person who chases after being cool. I'm kind of dorky...my wife loves me anyway. I have been a U2 fan for 30 years, and openly liked them in middle school during the few years between R&H and AB, when it was DEFINITELY not cool to like them (kids were into hip hop, dance, heavy metal, etc.). I want U2 to be themselves, because that's the band I know and love.

If you don't like what they do, there are plenty of other bands out there. It's okay to not like them.
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Old 06-18-2017, 03:04 AM   #19
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There was an astonishing amount of filler in that post and I'm still not sure what the point of it was. Most of the post was about U2 turning into corporate sellouts, but the stuff about the current tour had nothing to do with that at all. More than anything, it was about U2 embarrassing themselves while looking backwards, which was the very thing you seemed to be wishing for.

"U2 haven't put on a show I've liked for 15 years" isn't really threadworthy.
Spot on. In what world is that important enough for starting a thread?
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Old 06-18-2017, 04:36 AM   #20
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Bono looks fat and wears bad glasses.

Fuck, he's me.
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