Monday, May 09, 2005
On this day:

Save Us Bono!

Chicago Tribune: U2's march of the tired warhorses hamstrings fine ensemble effort By Greg Kot
On opening night, Bono lamented that a decade ago he would place calls to the White House in the midst of the band's "Zoo TV" tour, but they went unanswered. "They take my call now," he said, and the audience cheered. He went on to urge the audience to text-message his Unite Against Poverty organization which is designed to pressure politicians to follow through on the United Nations' goal of cutting world poverty in half by 2015. It was yet another example of the rock concert as political advertisement, following closely on the heels of last year's Bruce Springsteen-led Vote for Change tour that aimed to oust George Bush from the White House. U2's gambit will no doubt engender a lot of eye-rolling from those who have grown tired of Bono's increasingly high celebrity-activist profile. But the singer's social activism also had musical relevance, as it provided the thematic backbone to U2's current tour. During a sequence of songs including "New Year's Day" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" that addressed how religion continues to become an excuse for violence, he donned a scarf adorned with religious symbols and declared, "Jesus, Jew, Mohammed is true." [Huh? -- MN] [...] It appears U2 is falling into the same trap as the Rolling Stones: Charging big money for a stadium show obligates the band to turn into a hits jukebox. But especially in a city such as Chicago, where U2 has been embraced like few other bands, the quartet can afford to take more chances. The promise of U2 has always been big music tied in with conviction, imagination and innovation. Now the band sounds like it believes less in its ability to surprise and dazzle with its new music, and more in the necessity to recycle its past. If that trend continues, U2's avid concern for social justice won't be enough to keep it relevant.
[Emphasis mine.] Bono forgets that people paid alot of money to hear U2's MUSIC, rather than Bono's manipulating the stage to preach to an audience. The title of Laura Ingraham's latest book is appropriate: