On Wednesday night, to a standing-room-only United Center crowd of adoring fans, Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Muller Jr., and one hilariously overambitious light and video show began a five-night "residency" at United Center in support of their most recent album, Songs Of Innocence. Seeing as how Bono and the boys were right here in town, I felt it was time to finally write this open letter.
Dear Bono, the Edge, Adam and Larry,
What I saw last night at the United Center with thousands of other adoring fans was a great video show; a spectacle unmatched by any other rock band on the planet and the whole time I couldn't help wonder why any of it was necessary at all.
After all, this is U-fucking-2 we're talking about here.
Anyone who was lucky enough to see the band live back in '83, or catch "Live At Red Rocks" on cable late at night back in '83 knows that the only thing this band needs is a stage and a song.
Let's face it, no amount of gargantuan video screens, state-of-the-art light effects, or circular "ego sidewalks" will ever be able to compete with Bono who, for the past thirty years, has been putting on one hell of a TED seminar on Rock Showmanship.
Sure, it's great seeing The Edge, Adam and Larry all hammering away at their respective instruments, but Bono is the show. He was, is, and will always be so, please, consider dispensing with the extensive frivolity, the endless rigs of superfluous window dressing for a band that needs none. Maybe in doing so, drop the ticket price a bit and maybe forego the stadiums for outdoor venues.
I know, I know, weather is always a concern in such cases, but U2 are truly in their element in an outdoor setting - one with the world around them, so to speak. You just don't get that in a building built for basketball and hockey.
Also, it's time for another live album, this time focusing on the material from Songs of Innocence, which in their current studio setting sound absolutely flat and lifeless but truly come to life onstage.
Leave the lasers and video screens to the Kanye's and Beyonce's who need such distractions to further their fraudulent mystique.
As far as U2 goes, no amount of state-of-the-art special effects will EVER be better than "the real thing".