28th of August, not 4th of July

Bands that should be better thought of, part one…

U2 are truly a great band. Live, they’re as good as anyone I’ve seen, they’ve recorded a slew of fantastic albums and, for a long time, they were brave enough to try different things which many bands in their position just wouldn’t do.

And yet…

And yet, it’s mostly Bono isn’t it?. He polarises opinions like few others and, as a consequence, your hear people slagging U2 as if what he says and does lessens the band’s appeal. And he does say a lot.

But if you want to judge them on their musical merits alone, I suggest you find a live DVD or stream, and watch the masters of their craft at work.

They have stadium shows down to a fine art but, equally, would be able to rock any small venue if they chose to do so. There’s a Rockpalast show online from their early days which helps proves the point. It’s the songs and their chemistry as musicians.

The show I’m talking about here was at the larger and more ambitious end of the scale as they brought the PopMart extravaganza to Leeds.

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Me, regular Tony, Ste and Melissa journeyed to Roundhay Park for the concert having got Ste his ticket for his birthday some months earlier.

Cast opened proceedings with their fairly knockabout, good time indie tunes, and we then got a proper soaking as the rain poured down. Now on a bad day this would have spoiled the afternoon. Instead, it just made us laugh.

We’d heard all about the astonishing visuals for this tour and could see the stage set looked epic enough even before it lit up.

Their arrival was heralded by a lenghty remix of M’s glorious Pop Muzik and while we weren’t disappointed in the spectacle that followed, they could have played in front of a blank wall and would still have blown us away.

They got I Will Follow in nice and early and took off with a mid-set trio of New Year’s Day, Pride and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.

Throughout the set they were throwing in snippets of tunes before or during some of their own monsters and we lapped it up.

We had plenty to talk about on the trip home which was a good job as lane closures on the M62 meant what should have taken an hour and a half actually took about four hours but, for once, I wasn’t driving and could enjoy a couple of extra drinks!

I’ve been lucky enough to see U2 on several occasions and they’ve always delivered the goods even if the goods, sometimes, have to be accompanied by a couple of long-winded speeches. It’s just who he is.

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