It's Father’s Day in the U.S., and our hard-rockin' daddies in U2 gave us the gift of U22 this week. There aren't enough words to adequately describe the fabulousness of this fan club thank you-gift. From the quality of the presentation and the soundboard audio to the ability for the fans to have a direct impact on this project, this project was awesome. Had Live Nation's merchandising department included a "DO NOT BEND" sticker or stamp on the envelope, postal workers wouldn't have felt compelled to bend the 12-inch-by-12-inch packaging to fit in mailboxes. Current conversations among fans center on the fact that the band truly outdid themselves and it will be very difficult to top this for next year's renewal gift. Some have even commented that there are two versions of "All I Want Is You" and wished the version of "Bad" chosen for inclusion didn't have the "All I Want Is You" snippet. At least it was broken up between CD1 and CD2. While I'm not holding my breath for a fan club-only release of Songs Of Ascent, it will be very interesting to see what they have up their sleeves.
Ever since Bono began harping on how much U2 have been focusing on the club culture, the importance of the club scene and how they need to have their finger in the clubs, I have been wondering why a band with punk and rock roots would care about the clubs. I think I finally found my answer thanks to Will.i.am. Last year, the program "Visionaries: Inside The Creative Mind" debuted on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). The one-hour show followed creative visionaries like Tyler Perry, Annie Leibowitz and Tom Ford through their creative process. The show featuring Will.i.am followed his journey as he wrote "Mona Lisa," and the European leg of the Black Eyed Peas tour. He explained that during his downtime he doesn't do the tourist things in a city; rather, he goes out and tries to be with the people and DJ as much as possible. He said:
The after parties, my DJ gig, going out and interacting with the people of the different countries, is the reason why our music is relevant in every country... Let's go and hang with the people. And those people may not like Black Eyed Peas music, but they are the tomorrow people. They like beats they've never heard. That is important. That's just as important, probably more important, than the big show we do. Those are the tomorrow kids. They are the tastemakers that'll influence all the rest of the people. Those other groups, once they make it, don't see the importance of going back to those little corners, going back to those little nooks and crannies, and figuring out what tomorrow is like little squirrels. We're little squirrels... (At 15, 16, 17, 18) we didn't go to the big popular clubs, we were the tastemakers, so it's important to be around other people in every country.
It would be amazing to see Larry pumping beats behind a set of turntables or have Edge switching between vinyls in an underground club. In U2's history, I have heard of them going to clubs, but not actually DJing. They've left that to their album producers. However, the notion of wanting to be a tastemaker is quintessential U2. In the same way the band has been trying to reach out to a younger audience, one of the key places they'll be reached is in those underground clubs. Plant the seed with the 120bpm, and hope they'll be interested enough with your other music once they're hooked on the dance loop. I'm glad Will.i.am could explain this.
June 14 marked the one-year anniversary for Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. Amazingly, this Broadway musical has defied the critics and remained consistent with its audiences. According to a press release earlier this week, the show has now been seen by over 1 million people -- that's 1/7 of the U2 360 tour audience! While there are still a few outstanding issues like Julie Taymor's lawsuits and when the show will tour outside of its Foxwoods Theatre home, it would appear the show's well on its way to making back its $$75 million investment.
And finally ... I'm a little tardy to this party, but here's Bono and Sasha Baron Cohen as Bruno singing "Dove Of Peace."
Have a great week, and Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!