Wednesday, July 27, 2011

U2: Not Bad

U2 Comes Full Circle in Pittsburgh

U2 ended their show in Pittsburgh last night by playing an extra-long version of their classic song "Bad" which is best delivered live. Here it is.

The Inky Jukebox was not at the show at Heinz Field, but folks she knows who went say it rocked. The Inky Jukebox has a mixed history of attending U2 concerts. Back when The Inky Jukebox was a mere inky teenager, she saw U2 perform at venues so small the stage they use today would not fit in the building. This was back in the Boy / War era, when U2 were still a local band and were loud, brash and hungry. Heck, this was back when the crowd in front of the stage pogo'ed their way through the set and held up actual lighters with fire coming out. This was back when folks still smoked and needed lighters. Now they wave phones with a concert lighter app. It's all very safe and quiet. No-one fears the drunken dudes in bovver boots.

Then U2 started having hits that were on the charts that people actually knew and they played bigger venues - places like London's Wembley Arena, which I believe held 12,000. For many years that was the loudest concert The Inky Jukebox had ever heard, Adam Clayton's bass literally rising up through the floor to rattle your bones. Bono was in full voice then, and the biggest songs that got the crowd roaring were things like "Sunday Bloody Sunday" because U2 were still pretending to be a punk band.

Then U2 went to America and played on rooftops and sought inspiration in the desert and whatnot and the game was up: you couldn't see them but in a stadium a million miles away from the stage. They were still an ace band, but the big time changed the way they had to play their shows. This was both good and bad; The Zoo TV tour, as evidenced by the footage, was a remarkable audio-visual event that really used the vastness of the venue to their advantage, both in terms of sound and context. The Inky Jukebox missed that show because she kindly gave up her ticket to an out of town guest and has regretted it ever since.

Because of that snafu, The Inky Jukebox eagerly went to see U2 perform at the old Three Rivers Stadium the next time they came to town, only it was on that Gawdawful tour with the giant lemon, and there was a city ordnance limiting the volume of live open air performances lest they wreck havoc on local's ears, so it was just a disaster. The show was a mess, you couldn't see anything (they hadn't figured out how to employ those huge screens yet), and you actually had to strain to hear over the chatter of the people complaining next to you. Thank goodness this was before the days of camera phones, because that footage would be loco.

Thus is is that The Inky Jukebox decided to give this 360 Tour a miss too. That's too bad, because it was BAD. ASS.

Here's some old footage for your enjoyment. Compare and contrast the 26-year gap. (Awesome mullet!!!)

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