This past Tuesday, September 29th my husband and I went toFedEx Field in Washington DC to see U-2!
Yes, I am a fan, even though some of you might be surprised to hear that, because the group is not even among my non-opera favorites on my blog. Having said that, hmmm…why not? To me they are huge. The Legends. The Heroes.
I remember the time when I was thirteen, and Bono looked like this.
I think I was a tiny bit in love with the guy and his (speaking U-2 language) mysterious ways. With or Without You just came out, and was so avant-garde.
To my opera loving readers I would like to explain why I, an opera lover, like U-2.
Firstly and most importantly, when I hear their music, it makes me realize that something other than opera is actually worth listening to.
That said, to my reasons now.
Bono’s Voice is amazing. It did not change a bit since the 80-s, at least not for the worse. It fills up the whole space, be it your car, your living room or a huge stadium. It’s like one of the forces of nature: majestic and overpowering.
Intoxication Effect. My favorite Russian rock singer, the legendary BG ( Boris Grebenschikov) once said that where there is good music, there is shamanism.
He was probably referring to hypnotizing and intoxicating energy of shaman music that drugs the listener and makes him/her addicted to it. Such is the music of BG (go ahead, listen to Garcon #2 on you tube), such is the music of U-2. You just feel like that special energy is being IV-ed into your blood, you can't do anything about it and love it!
Diversity. Unlike most groups, whose songs sound almost exactly the same, U-2’s music is very diverse. I mean, seriously, all their songs are different songs that do not sound like one another.
That special something. Even though all U-2 songs are different, they are all united with that special touch, that something…which I don’t have the right words to describe. But whenever you listen to those songs, you know it’s U-2 and you hear that special something. There is some kind of windiness.... If you don’t know what I am talking about, listen again – most songs have it.
Music is there! I actually don’t care how hard the song is, as long as there is music in it. And with U-2 it’s always the case. The song might be pretty hard, but music is there and you hear it.
Class and Taste. It’s hard to imagine Bono and his guys cursing and/or drinking on the stage. They respect themselves and the public enough to be classy and tasteful. Unfortunately, not many artists can boast this kind of on-stage behavior.
I was so happy to hear the group play all my favorite songs: Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Where the Streets Have No Name and of course, With or Without You.
Plus, there were more songs that were not my favorite when I came to the concert, but now they are. The song One is a real masterpiece.
I could not believe I was there listening to the legendary, the talented, the inspired and inspiring Bono. To me, it was almost like listening to Juan Diego Florez live again. Even though the music genre was different, the power of talent was the same, and being there and experiencing it live made it all the more special.
He sang With or Without You differently than in the version that we are all used to, but the first familiar chords brought back the same kind of excitement that I experienced when I saw Juan Diego Florez marching onto the Met stage to the first sounds of Ah, mes amis.
I have to admit, knowing that you are just seconds away from hearing the legend singing a legendary piece is an experience of a lifetime, be it opera or rock.
The stage looked great. They built a huge piece, called the Claw which looked like a monstrous spaceship. During the course of the concert it was illuminated and flashing with all different colors.
I have a picture of the Claw that I took at the concert, which might be even better than this one, so stay tuned, I'll upload it tonight. The concert was under the open night sky and Bono’s voice only emphasized the whole idea of interaction and connection between humans and space. It was a very good show.
On the way back, we happened to have a U-2 CD in. Imagine cutting through the pitch black highway, completely empty because it’s 1 a.m. to the sounds of that husky voice singing:
Love is a temple
Love a higher law
Love is a temple
Love the higher law...
There you go – you know what it's like.
Added on 10/06/2009, the promised picture of the Claw (not bad for a pic taken with a cell phone, right?)