Tag Archives: U2

Memory Boys

chunka-chunka-chunka

chunka-chunka-chunka

Hey! I got U2’s new album! “Songs of Innocence.” It’s pretty good, kind of looking back, but not in an especially nostalgic way. More in terms of sound–kind of delving into their late 80s/early 90s voice. A little preachier than some–kind of reaching back to “The Joshua Tree” symbolism. (Yeah, I got it that it’s secular and spiritual. Thanks.) I grew up with these guys–we’re about the same age; so it’s good to check in with them, see where they are, where they’re going….

Wait. What? Uh…I have the album on my phone, but I didn’t, uh, buy it. Apparently, U2 worked some kind of master marketing deal with Apple, and the new album downloads automatically if you have an iPhone. Nice if you like U2, but still kind of…unsettling. We’re the world’s biggest band, and don’t you forget it.” Hmm. Either that or: “God, we got to get kids listening to our stuff…they think we’re their parents’ band.” Which, you know, they are.

That said, some great work from The Edge, guitar techno-wizard, some of which will have guitarists digging out their Vox amps and Memory Boy delay units, chasing those 1/16th palm-muted echoes. And some of those monstrous distorted riffs that showed up on “Achtung Baby” and “Vertigo.” “Raised by Wolves” and “Cedarwood Road” kick ass…a term not always associated with U2.  Nice that they decided to record hot–it’s an album that begs you to turn it up. Their last album “No Line on the Horizon” almost sounded like it was recorded in a whisper–like they were either depressed or suffering from migraines. On the other hand, Bono is very high in the mix. God bless him, but isn’t Bono high in every mix?

Kind of the perfect difference between U2 and Radiohead. The latter offered a stunning album–“In Rainbows”–as a pay-what-you-will download and did great, both with fans and critics. U2 says: hey, it’s free…whether you want it or not. Which probably reflects that, when you buy a Radiohead album, you never know what you’re going to get (though odds on it’ll be good…or at least provocative). When you buy U2, you pretty much know what you’re going to get and you listen for the variations (which, honestly, mostly come from The Edge).

The part that amuses me? That somewhere out there, Mick Jagger’s sitting alone in a darkened room, pouring glass after glass of Jack Daniels…utterly bereft that he never thought of this.

So much for innocence.


Moments of Surrender


Last night, I arrived home late and tired from a Playwrights West meeting; so I had a difficult awakening. Running late and taking a later bus. Predictably, it filled up. I took one of the benches toward the rear. Across from me, an older man with white hair and eyebrows, huge glasses, umbrella with a flashlight in the handle. Beside him, a sleeping man maybe ten years younger than his bus companion, leather jacket over dress slacks. Next to me, a woman in her thirties, impeccably groomed, reading magical realism by a Latino writer, and, standing in front of me, a very young woman with wet hair and wearing a puffy white and brown blouson jacket, stumbling as she attempted to text. (Who was receiving at this early hour?)

And me, listening to U2’s “No Line on the Horizon”–sliding in and out of consciousness as though on a morphine drip. As the song “Moment of Surrender” neared its climax, we crossed the Ross Island Bridge, and the lights of the city spread into view, their lights reflecting on a blue-black Willamette River as Bono sang:

I was speeding on the subway
Through the stations of the cross
Every eye looking every other way
Counting down ’til the pain would stop
At the moment of surrender
Of vision over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

And so we crossed our river, arriving at our individual days: the man with a flashlight in his umbrella, the businessman not entirely comfortable in his uniform, the woman carrying Latino magical images beneath her professionalism, the girl furiously texting to someone waiting to receive. And me, here now, bearing a memory of reflected lights.


Is there a time?


Advertisements for Myself


This morning, I was listening to U2’s “Miss Sarajevo,” and I felt a sudden surge of affection for “Liberation”–a drama I wrote about the Bosnian War. I’m not saying it’s the best play ever written, blah blah, but I think I can say without exaggeration that it’s a defiant, uncompromising bastard that challenges theatres and their audiences, running hard right to the edge of what’s bearable, and it would be a joy to see it up on its dark, evil feet again.

So, what the hell…here’s the info. Please pass it on if you know a theatre company that specializes in, without apologies, kicking ass:

GET LIBERATED

And while I’m at it, kudos to Origninal Works Publishing, Stark Raving Theatre, and Rude Guerrilla Theatre Company for having the balls to take the ride.