This column is part of Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb. The words and pics are by Debbie Kreuser.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

FOR BONO: Vision Over Visibility

Posted: October 3, 2010

As I write this, the European leg of the 360 tour is less than a week away in Rome. It has been a wild and wonderful two months of music and magic from U2. The band should come away from this time on tour VERY PROUD of themselves - after some initial concern from a lot of the media and their fans, U2 rebounded from concerns over Bono's back problems and the band's solidity to impress all of us with their COMPLETE MASTERY of their music and the stage. Kudos once more to this band of musicians who have been at the TOP of the music industry for almost thirty years and have yet to show major signs of growing tired of doing the one thing that they will be most remembered for: sharing their incredible music with all the world.

Now it's two months of rest and relaxation for U2 before they return to Australia for several concerts in December to finish out the year. And you never know - there might even be an album release in the near future too. Whatever they do and wherever they go, I hope that U2 will always know that they take a piece of our hearts with them.


This said, I did notice with some consternation this piece in the Irish Times with a purported quote by Steve Lilywhite, which he has since stated was taken out of context:

I simply don't know what to make of Lilywhite's purported statements except to say that I vehemently DISAGREE with them. NLOTH has become one of those U2 albums, like UF or JT, that I can put on and listen to until completion and never get tired of. It is one of U2's "concept" albums and I think that it works just fine that way. It expresses what U2 was going through emotionally, both as a group and individually, a few years ago and there is nothing wrong with that.

That is the way U2 creates its BEST music - fashioning music around an idea and allowing what's inside of them to appear on a CD. It's what Bono means when he says that U2's music attempts to "reveal, rather than conceal". It's Bono's "open heart surgery" at its finest - and it's what made U2 the pre-eminent rock influence in the music industry for decades.

Forgive me, Steve - but I don't see where NLOTH was a failure at all. It was one of the TOP money grossing albums of 2009 ( #7 biggest selling album around the world that year) and spurred the TOP grossing music tour of that same year! To me, that seems like something to CONGRATULATE U2 for - not disparage them about.

If there was a drawback at all about NLOTH, it was in the lukewarm reception that it received from some in the media and from some"purist" U2 fans. You know the ones - the people that want to see U2 boxed into a corner and playing their "greatest hits" when they are 70 years old; those who think that U2 can not grow or should not expand their musical horizons - THOSE ones.

Let me remind them, and Mr. Lilywhite too if necessary, that what makes U2 the band that they are today is exactly their willingness to expand their musical horizons, to "f*ck up the mainstream" as Bono says in order to find something new, something true, to themselves and their fans. This aspect of U2 is what makes their music so special and so beloved by millions of fans around the world.

It also sells millions of albums too, Steve.

Lilywhite is sadly correct about NLOTH in one respect - its North African flavor and Islamic overtones probably did not sit well with some narrow-minded fans within the international U2 community. Bigotry is a hard concept to root out of people's psyches.

But the day that U2 begins to worry about what will "sell" with the public over what sort of music will redeem their souls is the day that U2 will begin to lose its relevance to our lives. For what makes U2 great is their ability to OPEN our hearts and minds - and NOT to close them.

Those who could not accept the exquisite beauty of NLOTH because of its connections to Morocco are NOT the sort of people who reflect the BEST of what the U2 community can be and thus their lack of support of NLOTH is NOT missed by the rest of us.

It is simply antithetical to all that U2 have stood for for over thirty years as a band and as individuals to grovel in the dirt of bigotry and small-mindedness. We are better off without them!

In my opinion, NLOTH will go down as one of U2's BEST albums. At least it will to those who search for music that has an eternal spirit that soars in it. ~ MAGNIFICENT, U2!!

NLOTH was not the first time that U2 visited Morocco

by Deborah Kreuser ♫