u2-godsSo, a lucky few will get to see U2 at the Somerville Theatre tonight … no tickets, you have to win (via local radio stations) to get in.  A pair of tractor trailers pulled into Davis Square Tuesday morning, and started unloading gear.  The ridiculous amount of equipment only serving to prove a rather deflating point … our lads from Dublin have totally lost touch with their humble beginnings.

Let’s be real, this is basically a club show … rumored to be just 4 songs and some audience Q and A.  Do you really need an army of roadies to pull off that gig?  I’ve seen bands set up in 20 minutes and rock the house down … and if U2 really wanted to reconnect with the real world that’s what they should have done.  No frills.  A few amps .. house lights .. music up front .. celebrity on the shelf.

Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. breath a rarified form of rock air.  Their place in rock history is secure, they’re so good that even the recycled material they’ve been churning out for the better part of a decade is praised to the heavens.  They have such a legacy of good work and good will that it’s almost impossible to knock them … until you pick up one of Bono’s more recent lyric sheets.

u2-live-aidAnyway, I’m not here to bash U2 … I’m here to wallow in nostalgia, and remember how incredibly powerful and endearing they once were.  I’m talking “Live Aid” 1985 and their performance of the song “Bad.”  That’s where you’ll see Bono not in wrap-around sunglasses, but sporting a mullet for the ages.  That’s where you’ll hear the classic chime of The Edge’s guitar … and the relentless drive of Clayton’s bass and Mullen’s drums.  That’s where Bono’s song of a friend dying from a heroin overdose rises to the level of a prayer of forgiveness.  That’s also where Bono pulls a girl from the massive throng at Wembley Stadium, and quietly dances with her for a few seconds as his mates lay down a wall of healing sound.

That’s the U2 I hold close to my heart … not the juggernaut that’s frantically pushing a new CD for a recording industry in freefall.

I won’t be at the Somerville Theatre for the show … but I will light a candle for U2, and the unforgettable fire that once burned.


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