U2 announced the latest American leg of their massive stadium-filling 360 Tour (the one with the giant spider video screen that looks like something out of "War of the Worlds") and it looks like the closest they’re coming to Portland is a Seattle stop on June 20 at Qwest Field (no on-sale date has been announced yet).
If you want a sneak preview of what to expect out of the mega-show, the band is currently streaming their recent concert at the Hollywood Bowl for free on YouTube. I flipped through the footage but found myself skipping over all the new songs, pausing only to hear rarely played chestnuts like "The Unforgettable Fire," and stopping altogether when Bono had fans with masks of some long-suffering political prisoner march around the stage in unison. I’m not one of those who thinks the man should stop pontificating from the stage (he does too much good work), but this was just dumb.
I pulled myself away from the screen. Bummed. As an 18-year-old I’d witnessed the monstrous Zoo TV tour, a mad mix of multi-media overload, guttural rock, and broken heartedness. This was nowhere near as good. Hell…even the ill-fated Pop Mart Tour was better.
All of which led to me walking home yesterday in the rain, just so I could reach back into my iTunes library and revel in the dark, sexual malice of U2’s best album, "Achtung Baby." If you don’t care about the band then you’ve already stopped reading, and if you DO care then you don’t need to listen to this idiot call it one of the best albums of all time. (Although I will make the claim that the three-song combo of "Ultraviolet," "Acrobat," and "Love Is Blindness" is the strongest in the band’s catalog and that "One" and "Until the End of the World" are the two best songs U2 have ever written).
Let me just say that anybody who hates on U2 (suddenly, it’s fashionable) needs to go back to that album and remember just how sinister and heartbroken and mean and lovely it is. That said, anybody who actually thinks the band’s latest album, the absolute stinker "No Line on the Horizon," is anything more than four multi-millionaires bashing about in a room searching in vain for the plot should also revisit "Achtung." It’s like comparing mid-90s Chicago Bulls-era Michael Jordan with bloated, vertically-challenged Washington Wizards-era Jordan.