TV Review: Innocence and Experience Live (2015)

Posted: January 2, 2016 in Music, TV

u2 paris

Rock Band U2 plays a concert three weeks after the terrorist attacks in Paris.

I love U2, they are a rare mix of music, politics and spirituality.  They started the concert with “ The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) which is kind of an arena type song and a spiritual song, at least in the context of this concert.  It was a miracle that they were able to play the concert they cancelled only three weeks later. A lot of the newer songs were deeply personal, like ”Iris” or ”Cedarwood Road”   (Iris is Bono’s mother’s name (Cedarwood Road is where Bono grew up) Song to Someone is a song to a girlfriend, who is now Bono’s wife.

But the bulk of the songs are political in nature “Sunday Bloody Sunday” is a song originally written about a day when the British opened fire on unarmed British protesters, but when he sings “I can’t believe the news today, it inevitably recalls the Paris attacks.  When it’s followed by “Raised by Wolves” which is a renunciation of bombings, it’s hard to miss the message, violence is not the answer.   There are many more political songs like “Where The Streets Have No Name.” which is an anthem against religious classification and “Bullet The Blue Sky”, which in this concert was a plea to end the civil war in Syria.

What I like about U2 is they are devoted Christians, they embody the virtues of love, fellowship, and forgiveness better than most ministers.  The answer to hatred, violence, and fear is, of course, love, and they sing of that love with songs like Pride, and One.  Near the end of the concert they do “City of Blinding Lights” apropos for Paris, and “Beautiful Day” a beautiful song.  They end the concert with a sing-along of “One”, a beautiful way to end their portion of the concert. Then they turn the stage over to “Eagles of Death Metal” the band who was playing in Paris the night of the attacks, they finished the show. It was very generous of U2 to do this.

U2 played arena favorites like “I Will Follow” “Elevation” and “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, and Bono’s voice has never sounded clearer and more focused.  I’ve seen a lot of concerts, and usually the lead singer’s voice craps out after the first few songs, and then they start asking the crowd to song along, because their voice has given out.  Bono did that too, but it was a genuine sing-along, Bono had plenty of voice left.  Bono also playfully started singing David Bowie’s “Fame” during “Mysterious Ways.” The Edge played a powerful guitar, power chords providing a powerful counterpoint to Bono’s lilting voice.  Larry Mullen Jr. is not a great drummer by any stretch, but he and Adam Clayton provide a solid palette of music for Bono and The Edge to make art.

The large video screens projected everything from Bono’s room in his house, to angry anti-Irish messages, to messages of peace for Paris.  Bono also allowed fans who had been following U2 for the whole tour to get upon stage and take video of them. It was kind of creepy, but also illustrated how trusting Bono is of his fans. The stage was shaped more like a runway which added to the versatility of the show.

Are you a U2 fan?  Me too!


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