Saturday, 25 July 2009

U2 Friday 24th July: The post gig hangover

Ten years is a long time. It has been about that long since I last watched U2 play live. Having witnessed this gig, I have discovered just how much I have changed in that time.

There is no doubt that U2 put on a great show. There stage is circular in shape and this allows the band members to get closer to the audience. This is one of the things that U2 do best- work their audience up into a frenzy. The lights, the music and the atmosphere created is spectacular.

What I found cringe worthy was Bono's political pronouncements. Everything is cast in black and white.

It is true that there is a clear distinction between right and wrong sometimes but these cases are exceptionally rare. I would also hold that everyone- as a citizen of the world- should be able to express an opinion. Bono is just in a very privledge position to do so. When he utters a few words thousands will listen.

So I am not going to go down the line and say that Bono should keep politics and music separate. What I would say is that he is more circumspect and think about what effect his utterances might have, without getting carried away too much.

On the Friday night he made a few comments about the 1916 rising, which probably alientated a small section of the crowd. Irish history is an extremely contentious area still. Bono puffed with pride at being home and rightly felt honoured to have such a welcome back in his home city. Why he felt it necessary to then align the rising with his pride I am not quite sure.

U2 and Bono have an amazing reach- and their music has connected with people from both main traditions on the island. He was walking on a tightrope here though. In the words of Bono himself, "I should be an acrobat, to talk like this and act like that."

Ten years ago my response would have been different. I would have said that I did not agree with him but supported his right to say it. Now I say, you have a right to express an opinion but first put a bit more thought into it.

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