Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Night at the Cafe: U2 performs surprise concert tonight on the roof of the BBC's Broadcast House in London

You can see All Souls Langham Place in the video. All Souls (where John Stott was once the long-time rector - or "vicar") continues to be a beacon for evangelical Anglicanism. It is adjacent to the BBC's Broadcast House where U2 performed tonight on the roof.

Thirty years ago, the Beatles also performed on the roof at their record label Apple's London headquarters. Here's an excerpt:

Of course, it's not the first time U2's performed on the roof. A couple of other occasions come to mind, including this performance in their hometown of Dublin, Ireland in 2000:

But this is the one remembered best of all, a performance - with some resistance - of The Streets Have No Name from an LA rooftop circa 1987:

Okay, so we're adding this track off the new album No Line on the Horizon since it's now out and about and it's called Magnificent and I love it, just love it, it's such a contrast to With or Without You - which for some reason it reminds me of. This may be the first song from U2 that I really love since Joshua Tree. I was prepared not to like the album because I didn't like the tone of the Boots song. But it appears this is a concept album and the tracks are not disjointed (though the San Francisco Chronicle seems to hate it, but then the San Francisco Chronicle might not be here next week).

This video of Magnificent version comes with the lyrics:


Here's what Rolling Stone says about Magnificent:

"I was born to sing for you/I didn't have a choice but to lift you up," Bono declares early on this album, in a song called "Magnificent." He does it in an oddly low register, a heated hush just above the shimmer of the Edge's guitar and the iron-horse roll of bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. Bono is soon up in thin air with those familiar rodeo yells, on his way to the chorus, which ends with him just singing the word "magnificent," repeating it with relish, stretching the syllables.

But he does it not in self-congratulation, more like wonder and respect, as if in middle age, on his band's 11th studio album, he still can't believe his gift — and luck.
And it looks like George W. Bush still has one friend left. The Times of London reports:
The singer is keen to talk me through the deals his Aid In Africa organisation struck with the former US President, persuading him to commit to more than $40 billion in aid for the relief of poverty and disease. He gives George W. Bush personal credit.

What a strange world when the last remaining defender of the most unpopular President in US history is an Irish rock star in designer sunglasses. “Yes, it's annoying. It's just not becoming is it?” he responds. “But I can take the bottles and the rocks and the embarrassment to my bandmates. I will stay that most annoying of things, a single- issue protagonist.”

Tip of the TinFoil to Jilliemae too!


Anonymous said...

Their new album track 'Magnificent' is great.

Unknown said...

I just listened to the track, Pageantmaster and you are so right. I like it way better than the boots song, which I know will be on the soundtrack for 2009. Okay, the boots song - I'm used to it now and musically I like it a lot, but it's a bit well, I don't know, fussy. Fussy boots. It's Stadium Rock, I'm just a bit tired of that head nodding air fist stuff. It's so Pre-Obama.

But this Magnificent - it's terrific and one does wonder if it's a U2 version of the Magnificant.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Magnificent!

Chip Webb said...

I'm not listening to the album at all until I get my copy on Tuesday (the only song I've heard is "Get on Your Boots," since it is the single), but apparently the concept album idea got jettisoned near the end. They evidently cut their two most adventurous (read: ambient and un-U2ish) tracks toward the end and replaced them with "Boots" and "I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight," much to Brian Eno's lament. Evidently, according to one music journal, if the original two tracks had been kept, the album would have told a cohesive story and truly would have been a concept album.

Bono has said that in the end, the band decided they couldn't leave their punk rock heritage behind. While that may be true, I'll bet they got scared over the possibility of going out too much on a limb (as Brian Eno has claimed they did) and, moreso, concerned about not having any obvious singles on the album. "Boots" screams single (as in "Vertigo" part 2), and I'll bet "Crazy" does as well.

So for now, we'll just have to settle with U2's '90s albums, particularly Zooropa, Pop, and, most of all, Original Soundtracks 1, as being their only concept albums.