Column: off the record . . . vol. 11-467

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off the record, from @U2

I'm sitting here in a currently rainy part of the Pacific Northwest, having a proper British tea and cream with a teapot nestled under a cozy. No, I'm not British, but I've always enjoyed the civility of teatime, for some reason. I got back into the habit recently after getting up to watch the royal wedding. This area of the U.S. seems to be one of the few to escape the blistering heat. However, I'm still in the minority of people in my state who like this weather, even among others who were also born here. I will always pick cool temps and rain over anything above 75 degrees! It does mess up my usual weekend hiking plans, though. 

I will say that I was very glad it wasn't raining in Seattle during the 360 show on June 4. The concert was wonderful on more than one level. I had been experiencing a sort of crisis of U2 faith for at least a couple of years. I became a U2 fan way back in 1982, and even traveled to San Francisco and Vancouver, B.C., during the Unforgettable Fire and Joshua Tree tours, respectively, as those were the closest they came to the Pacific Northwest those times. There was no way I was going to miss them. 

So it's been rather disconcerting not to be in my normal giddy state over getting to see the tour or "needing" to go to more than one show. U2 remain my favorite band (well, after The Beatles, anyway) but I confess to not caring for the last album and not being all that disappointed when the Seattle show had to be postponed last summer. 

In Kelley Eskridge's excellent piece, "Tonight, At Last, I Am Coming Home," she articulates the same feelings I was having when we were both at the Seattle show. I was glad to find myself excited about going, especially once I was inside the venue. But one moment turned it from just being a show by a band I've always loved into that feeling of magic and specialness that I've always felt at their shows. It also reminded me once again that they are still one of the best live bands ever. 

For the first time, I hadn't spoiled myself as to the set list on this leg of the tour, so when I heard the notes of "All I Want Is You," I was thrilled. This song has always been one of my favorites. I started crying a bit, tears of joyful relief that my faith in the music had just been temporarily shaken after all. It took me back to remembering the very first time I heard that song on the radio and had to pull my car over to the side of the road immediately, and leave a babbling, emotional message to a friend who was also a fan about "omigod, I just heard a new U2 song and it's the most bestest and beautifulest song EVER." Another moment was during an Elevation tour show where Bono stood two feet away from me on the catwalk and sang almost the entire song there, and if the roof had caved in at that moment, I would have died in ecstasy. 

In Seattle, the magic continued with "Stay" coming right after "All I Want Is You." I remembered getting to hear that played in the U.S. for the very first time in San Jose during the Elevation tour and what a treat it was. Zooropa is one of my favorite albums, so getting to hear the title track live for the very first time at the Seattle show was also a great gift. 

Now I am very much wishing I had enough vacation time and $$$$ because I NEED to go to another show!



During the interview Steve Lillywhite graciously gave @U2's Scott Calhoun, his comments about the work that's been done with RedOne and Danger Mouse made me wonder how much of that material will end up on an album. On more than one occasion, U2 started out working with a new producer -- such as Rick Rubin on No Line On The Horizon and Chris Thomas on How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb -- before scrapping everything and calling in Eno, Lanois and Lillywhite again. Since Thomas had worked with the Beatles and the Sex Pistols, I had looked forward to that collaboration. I also can't help wondering if I would have liked NLOTH better with Rubin at the helm.



And finally, it's only right that others should suffer the same earworm that's been plaguing me for too many days now. "Baby monkey, baby monkey! Backwards on a pig, baby monkey! The world has gone insane!" Please make it stop ...


Have a great week!

©@U2/Weber, 2011

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