Today was the day of U2's appearance on the BBC's Top of the Pops. Actually, it was technically yesterday, but it was today my time. I set my alarm for 5:30am, just after the performance, presuming it would be online. Well, when I woke, reports were sketchy. Vertigo had just aired, and reports of the setlist were pretty disjointed. Other songs had been played, apparently for later broadcast, though interestingly, some OLD SONGS were also played. As things calmed down, we worked out that this was the setlist (excluding soundcheck, which is still totally hazy);
- All Because Of You
- Desire (full electric!)
- She's A Mystery To Me
- City Of Blinding Lights
With regards to the soundcheck, some say that they soundchecked Vertigo and ABOY, I've also read reports of a slower song, and a guy close to Dallas Schoo (Edge's guitar tech) seems to be reporting Zoo Station and The Electric Co.! ZS and TEC would be mindblowing.
So anyway, just after this, I discovered that Vertigo was the only song that had been broadcast on Top of the Pops that night, and that it was online. Before Bono took the stage, the crowd had been standing in the rain and had to listen to shitty pop music, so when he walked out, he took on the voice of a character from Doctor Who (anyone want to confirm something I read about a Tardis being located in the audience?) and said "exterminate ... pop music ... exterminate!" Right on, Bono. Then, of course, they ripped into Vertigo. The copy I have seems to be performed to a backing track - Bono is very much singing live and he does a fantastic job, especially for a guy with a cold, but the rest of the band sound like they were pre-recorded. This didn't surprise me, as apparently it's TOTP policy or something. HOWEVER, those who were there swear that Vertigo was played live by the whole band, so either the crowd heard something different or the band absolutely NAILED the song. It's interesting to note that the length of the song is actually six seconds shorter than the studio one, and although the BBC performance didn't have the drumstick tapping, that only goes for two seconds. And I've seen some people say they were disappointed with Bono's voice ... frankly, I want to know if you've waxed your ears lately. Bono sings the verses better than on the studio version (better enunciation! a Bonomiracle!), and he successfully nails the choruses. He also seems somewhat aggressive. At the end of the song, his voice seems to struggle a little bit due to the cold, but it gives it that raw feeling.
Then came All Because Of You. One poster on Interference, UKTan, took along a video camera to record the event, only to have her battery pack suddenly die on her when she got there! So she had to resort to a different recorder that could only tape in thirty second increments, and thus she only got portions of ABOY and COBL. It's complete enough, though, and when I first put on ABOY, I initially didn't feel very excited and Bono's really died on the first "all because of you," but then the second verse hit.
I like the sound of my own voice
I never gave anybody else a choice
An intellectual tortoise
AN INTELLECTUAL TORTOISE! Oh, I loved that one. I'm no longer The Popmartian on LJ. So as I was chuckling about that, I noticed a dropout, and then suddenly this solo HIT. Oh YES! I stopped breathing. Then this guy in the crowd yelled out "GO EDGE!", to which I replied with a resounding "AMEN!" and repeated the solo a few times for good measure. The sound quality ... ick! That's going to sound so much better on the album. By the way, could an expert on The Who tell me - am I totally off my nut, or does ABOY sound like it was influenced by The Who? When I first played it, I thought of my 1971 Who boot.
Not long after that, UKTan uploaded City Of Blinding Lights. I was really looking forward to this song and I expected it to be good, but ... HOLY SHIT! I think purplicious and I raved about this one in caps for an hour straight. WOW. U2 HAVE DONE IT AGAIN. It starts off with some distortion and then ringing Edge-esque guitar, some piano, and then they get into the song.
The more you see, the less you know
The less you find out as you grow old [up?]
The chorus is FANTASTIC. It is the quintessential "U2 Moment," the sort of thing that U2 have defined, the anthemic stadium moment where you can get eighty thousand people on their feet chanting along. We've had "In the naaaame of love," "ONE love, ONE blood, ONE life," and now we have "All [oh?] you look so BEAU-TI-FUL tonight [in this city of blinding lights]." Oh, it is just perfect!
For some context, this song was inspired by an event on the Elevation Tour. It was just over a month after 11 September 2001, and U2 were playing in New York. They launched into Streets, the "song that can transform any gig," and when the house lights went up during the song, Bono was totally struck by the crowd - there wasn't a single dry eye in the audience of twenty thousand. City Of Blinding Lights was born. And wow, it is just fantastic! It could be on The Unforgettable Fire or The Joshua Tree, seriously.
The Unforgettable Fire
1. A Sort Of Homecoming
2. City Of Blinding Lights
3. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
The Joshua Tree
2. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
3. City Of Blinding Lights
4. With Or Without You
It is PERFECT. It slips right into the canon of U2 classics. It has in abundance the magical spark that only U2 possess. This is the second coming of U2, and this song ... it's not a new Streets, and it's not some rip-off of Streets, but what it is ... it's influenced by Streets, but it's totally new at the same time. It has what Streets has because Streets is its parent.
Now I want all of you to remember something here. We have full or nearly full copies of four songs - Vertigo, ABOY, COBL, and Love And Peace Or Else. NONE of the reviews thus far have labelled ANY of them as the best tracks on the album. COBL got a mention as one of those anthemic songs that "should have a U2 trademark," but none of them were said to be the best on album by any means. That title has gone to songs such as Miracle Drug, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, and Original Of The Species. I'm not going to make any wild or outlandish claims, but some people on Interference are sure talking this thing up, and at this point in time, I'm not willing to question them! COBL is absolutely INCREDIBLE, and yet MD, SYCMIOYO, and OOTS are BETTER? This album is going to BLOW OUR MINDS OUT OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM AND BACK. You listen and you watch - I think U2 have done it. They've used the long gap to their advantage and they are going to release what may just be the greatest album since the revelation and revolution that was Achtung Baby. They are about to release what may be the most 'U2' album since The Joshua Tree. We already know some of this album is amazing and we already know some as-yet-unheard tracks are BETTER than what we have heard, so ... this is going to pack a huge punch.
I've been saying this album is going to be fantastic, and I am starting to suspect I was RIGHT. No more wishy-washy stuff like All That You Can't Leave Behind. No more experimention like Zooropa or Pop. This might just be U2 unafraid to let loose and release the true U2 sound.
... I just wish we had recordings of Desire and She's A Mystery To Me. I want to hear this full electric Desire! Bono seems really pumped and ready to get out there. Forget Elevation Bono - Hut Dab Bono's here and he's ready to pack a bloody punch in more ways than one!
Oh, and to the people whining about Bono's straw hat: WHO CARES WHAT BONO WEARS? He could go on stage in a pink suit of armour and I wouldn't care. Go worry about something more important.
In other news ... there is none. I want to go to the city of blinding lights where the streets have no name under a blood red sky! I feel that should have a comma somewhere.
Actually, as a footnote, is it just me, or is it really awful to be social? Ick. I really do not like it. Could the people at my house kindly head home for the night? Socialising is not only wildly over-rated, it is intensely frustrating and boring. At least Australia's hopes in the cricket match against India aren't looking good.
This was worthy of posting for the simple fact that I DID NOT CHEAT.
You're in touch with the world, and you have a very
strong opinion on things like politics and war.
Even if you do end up changing your image in
the future, most of us will still like you.
What band from the 80s are you?
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--- 10:40pm ---
What is wrong with people? TURN THE DAMN MUSIC OFF BECAUSE I AM TRYING TO SLEEP.
Social gatherings should NEVER be organised where I live. Loud music is bad. Large groups of people are bad. Social events are BAD.
Just leave me alone. Too much to ask?