Surely this is the big one.
(Always interesting when a music tour is announced in Forbes.)
Many of my friends already have their tickets, and I’m excited for them.
However, I’m pretty reticent about going, and mostly because (ironically enough) of the very words Mr. Bono wrote on a song that came out soon after the Joshua Tree.
They went something like this:
“I don’t believe in the 60s // the golden age of pop
You glorify the past // when the future dries up
– “God Pt 2” from Rattle and Hum
I loved that sentiment, and the fierce, forward-looking creativity it represented. Achtung Baby came from that attitude, and so did Zoo TV, Zooropa, and even Pop and All That You Can’t Leave Behind.
Somewhere along the way, however, endorsements started, and tours started to resemble product placements for Motorola and Apple. It was all tolerable and even understandable as long as the music was still reaching for something: something spiritual, as well as musical.
However, I feel like the boys from Dublin have wondered as of late. Songs of Innocence is the only U2 record I’ve ever listened to once and deemed it irrelevant and unnecessary for even a second listen. Lately, I’ve preferred the urgency of October or the explorations of The Unforgettable Fire and No Line on the Horizon.
I get it: I’m just a dude. Just a fan. Nobody cares what I think.
That being said, I don’t want to see my heroes do a 30th anniversary tour for a record that changed music (and life?) for me in a dozen different ways.
Even the Stones didn’t go out and play Exile on Main Street.
(I’ll give you The Who and Tommy.)
Will they just play the record and some other “greatest hits”?
Will they add in some demos and obscure “B Sides”?
(“Everlasting Love” is pure, ecstatic gold.)
I don’t know. What I really want, more than anything, is new, vital music from 4 guys that have carried the torch for so many.
And buried in that is another question: can/would music superstars ever trade tour/financial success for artistic exploration? How about making the music, the merchandising, the shows smaller for once?
How about an unexpected release with no fan fare? Didn’t Beyoncé just try that and hit it out of the park?
I am waiting in the wings for my heroes to drink deeply from the future, to be watered by the wells of artistic freedom.
And who knows? Maybe we’ll all be surprised before the kickoff in the spring?
I can only hope.