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U2 Tours (formerly part of AtU2): A Comprehensive Guide To U2’s Live Performance History
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by Jimmy Lofgren

I thought it was going to be kind of like watching the last real effort from a band that has done it all, and were behind its prime (which would have been during the "Zoo-TV-tour" approximately).

This I thought with a sort of melancholy state of mind, reflecting how long time really has passed between seeing them performing "I will follow" at "TOTP" in 1981, and today's mega show in true MTV-style.

This I thought before the show. During the show I had to revive my thoughts; it was "mindblowing", really ingeniously, inventive, reinventive and creative. At given moments of the show it felt like listening to a rock concert, watching MTV, visiting Internet and strolling through an Art gallery all at once. Really "interactive" to keep the audience (as well as the band) on their toes and not "fall into sleep" in "concentration-pauses".

I think that the show has consolidated itself since the tour started in Las Vegas in April. It has come to be a "living organism" of itself, where the songs, the band and all the visual technique has succeeded in "breaking through to the other side", turning the cyberspace inside out and leave you with a ponder over what is physically real and what is going on on a mental and semiotic (with "messages" & "hints" as effective as ever Coca Cola was in their subliminal movie show-commercials hey days) level.

The show was its own antithesis with lots of references to the "counter-cultural icons" and a tip of the hat to its pathfinders and guides throughout the latter part of the 20th century. At the same time it gave the chronology of a little rockband from Dublin Ireland who once had a big dream of becoming a big rock group - now they're beyond the dream, but still try to make it come through. They blow new life into the "dream" and transcend the experience of rock (music, art, visuals) well into a leading position, aspiring for a place in the history books in the 21st century.

I think they succeeded in "killing the monster, before the monster killed them!". They even succeeded in letting a big (red and thumping) heart get across the cyber space and reminding a blase and "over-stimulated" rock generation of what it once was all about, and that "behind the masque" and beyond the cliches there's still a wish to entertain with meaningful communication, with sincere songs and with a pathos that's beyond our difficult (but also exciting) times of "transformation into a new world, a new millenium" and whatever.

I don't know if catharsis is the right word, but it sure was an experience that took you to the edge of your mind's fantasy-limit. As if they succeeded in what the psychedelic era once aimed for, but with a technological and humourous concept insted of a biochemical experimental attitude. Real "far out", but yet with a collective sharing the same "mindblowing" experience.

It balanced on a thin line between speculation and ingenious irony and humour, but I think they landed on the right side of it most of the time. If there is such a thing as "organic technology" this was it: A "human touch" on the "accelerated culture", which hopefully made it clear that human spirit is one main-ingredient needed in the evolution.

A true piece of art well performed. They will perhaps be the Dalis, the Picassos of the finishing 20th century. And why not?

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