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Old 11-16-2009, 10:48 PM   #1
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Reminiscing about Popmart Vancouver show

Listening back to the bootleg from this show bono's voice is very poor, however 6 days earlier in Mexico it wasn't quite so bad. I recall hearing about his basically losing his voice during this tour sometime and Edge having to sing a lot. Can someone remind me of the details of this and when exactly his voice got so bad? Maybe he was suffering from a cold.... poor guy sounds miserable. I don't remember at the time, since it was my first u2 concert and i was too enthralled!
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:12 PM   #2
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It was some combination of allergies, overuse, and cigarette smoking, really. I would say that his voice on PopMart was generally better than it was on Elevation (I literally can't make it through the Boston DVD because of his voice), but it had its ups and downs. Mexico City was a really good night as far as the tour went. The opening night in Vegas, his voice was going crazy... at some points, it was brilliant, and at other points, it was abhorrent. The Las Vegas air and heat really screwed with him.

Sarajevo was by far the most interesting point of the tour, which makes the concert all the more special. Bono woke up that day sick, and without a voice. He drugged himself up at the start of the show, and sounded fine at first. The amount of power he put into Gone was incredible... then Real Thing came, and he seemed to blow his voice out doing some insane falsetto work on the "take me higher" part. Things started to fall apart in LNOE. By the time they got to Pride, Bono just mumbled out the verses, and let Edge belt out the chorus. Bono apparently got himself drugged back up after that to patch through, but his voice was still pretty awful through the show. He couldn't manage the chorus of Streets, so he sang it much lower than usual, while Edge sang it normally. Edge and Eno had to patch him through Miss Sarajevo, which was a total disaster for more reasons than that. I read somewhere that they were actually planning a full-band SBS that night, but Bono couldn't handle it, so Edge came up with his solo version right there, but I'm not sure if it was true. And then there was the beautiful version of One... Bono apologizes for his voice, gives a really nice speech about Sarajevo being the "city of the future", and sings the Hear Us Coming verse much lower than usual... all of which seems to add to the song.
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:23 PM   #3
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wow, thanks for such a detailed explanation!! I'm sure Bono felt so sorry for us fans but he definitly tried his hardest.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:49 AM   #4
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If you're interested in such things (Bono's voice in the crapper that is) check out the first Tempe '87 gig.
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Old 11-17-2009, 03:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by digitize View Post
I would say that his voice on PopMart was generally better than it was on Elevation (I literally can't make it through the Boston DVD because of his voice).
I'd agree with this. Although Bono had his fair share of rough nights during Popmart when he was 'on', he sounded fantastic, just check out the Rotterdam, Leeds and Santiago boots if you want proof.

I know Elevation is considered a return to form but I actually find it to be somewhat uninspired and lacking in genuine spontaneity. I really enjoy Bono's vocals on ATYCLB but on tour they sound very strained and shaky.

But yeah, he knew something was up with his voice pretty much as soon as they started recording Pop and these problems continued throughout 97-98. Thank heavens he's in much better shape today. I was just listening to the Berlin version of Ultraviolet and he sounds tremendous.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:55 PM   #6
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i recall hearing on the local news back then that bono had the flu that day in vancouver and the show was that close to being postponed...
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Old 11-18-2009, 10:54 PM   #7
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i recall hearing on the local news back then that bono had the flu that day in vancouver and the show was that close to being postponed...
Well he does sound tired and just plain weak as well, so its very possible he did.

I agree though that many shows on Popmart sound VERY good. He seemed to be a bit more careful though. The Popheart EP with the few Rotterdamn songs seems to highlight how gentle he was singing. It's still very full of emotion, but he doesn't seem to be pushing so hard.

I was also quite amazed at how well Bono did this tour. A lot of the songs on NLOTH have him singing in such a high register using a chest voice. When i heard the album i honestly didn't think he'd be able to pull off songs like Breathe and Magnificent night after night without ruining what is left of his voice, but he did a surprising job of it.
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Old 11-21-2009, 09:46 AM   #8
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He may have been more consistent on Popmart but it felt like Bono on helium, I prefer Elevation where he finally learned how to work with his post Zoo TV voice (or lack thereof). The one area he was definitely better at - still is, compared to 01, 05 and 09 - inin 1997 was the falsetto.
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