|Rolling Stone October 5, 2017|
I attended both nights in Chicago for both shows- old and new. And as great as it was to hear "Joshua Tree" played in the album's order at Soldier Field on two lovely Chicago summer evening, I have to say that the show that reminded me of what U2 is all about was the more recent one.
Naturally, I was well rehearsed in the new material as I had it on repeat in heavy rotation to learn every song. I have probably listened to album in its entirety a hundred times ... easily. And two months after I saw it performed live, I'm still listening to it. I find their songs, like good poetry or fiction, is so layered that it takes many listens to get through them all. A song that seems so basic and straightforward, on its 20th listen, becomes something else. That's always the case for me with this band. I remember the first time that I heard "Who'd Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" from "Achtung Baby" I giggled. And my sister and I would shout out the chorus in a sort of comedy show, but ... on examination and after many listens, my tune has changed on that song. Some times that I am so excited for new music from a band that when I first hear it, I don't really hear it. I am overwhelmed with giddy excitement, which drowns out the intended meaning of what the song will become for me.
In this articles, RS writer Andy Greene reports that Edge said: "We need to make sure that we are part of a current conversation in music culture in terms of production and songwriting, melodic structure ... we don't want to be perceived as - and we don't want to sound like - a veteran act out of touch with where the culture is ... it's a balance." I understand that RS is biased when it comes to U2 ... what are they ever going to say something bad about U2? But from the horse's mouth, the Edge, I think that I can confirm that what he's talking about is at the heart of why U2 continues to make relevant music thirty years into it. So many bands by this time have moved into a comfortable groove of what they know best, but that isn't how U2 rolls. I remember once hearing Bono say that he is as uncomfortable as comfortable being in a revival tent. Sure, this is out of context, but that he is okay with being uncomfortable tells us where his head is at. The band's life seems to be born from the uncomfortable and that has let them continue to evolve as a band. You can count on them for their 'wall of sound,' but it is their adventurous drive to grow still that sets them apart from the rest ... and in my wholly biased opinion, I do mean the rest.
And they have come and gone through my town. I was lucky enough to see them perform both nights. The experience is a blur ... it seemed to have happened so fast, and I sort of want another chance to see the show. Twice wasn't enough to get over the giggles from the excitement of seeing them on stage and get down to the business of peeling through the layers. God, I'd make a horrible critic. I could not watch just once to find the heart of it all.