what is that ringing?

or…. the obligatory post about the gods of rock.

Yes, folks, I went to U2. Thursday, April 28 at 7:30pm at General Motors Place. As previously mentioned, I had less than quality seats. I was over that. They turned out not to be that horrendous, particularly in light of a loaner set of binoculars. My ears are still ringing with guitar riffs and screaming girls. (wait. that might have been me…)

I will not spend the remainder of this post gushing effusively about how absolutely brilliant the boys of U2 are (even though they are) and how profoundly amazing the concert was (even though it was).

What was different about this concert over previous concerts was the ramped up (perceived?) level of political/religious discussion. Now, come on. This is U2. Of course it’s going to be political and religious and blatant. What was I thinking?? There was, of course, the plea to phone or email our oh-so illustrious Prime Minister to berate him for not following through (yet) on his promise to allocate 0.7% of the GNP toward alleviating poverty and third world debt. There was the seamlessly incorporated reminder of the Human Rights Act that had everyone cheering themselves hoarse. In addition, the rendition of Bullet the Blue Sky was part showmanship, part tirade and, creepily, part new-at-6 reenactment. Gorgeous.

The religious overtones were strong, even outside songs such as Gloria and 40. With any other group, I would have been instantly affronted by the sheer gall and audacity of even thinking about wandering down the path to preaching, but U2 is afforded many more luxuries than the average rock band. Mostly, I think, because they are just so damned sincere and real about it. They’re not actually trying to sell it, per se, they’re just letting you know that (for them) this is the way it is. Not so for me, but who am I to say not for them?? In the end, it comes across as a beautiful spirituality, which is completely easy to connect with and accept – with as little or as heavy a meaning as one sees fit. (I may be a titch biased.)

Is that why these guys have been so insanely huge for so long? Because they stay in-your-face about issues without turning everyone off? It can’t just be the length of a career, the song craft, or the rabid fans. What about bands like The Tragically Hip? 54-40? Blue Rodeo? Spirit of the West? These guys are all brilliant and form kick ass bands that anyone in their right mind pays big (Canadian) bucks and lines up to see. So, what gives?

Bono is a god, while Gord Downie, Neil Osborne, Jim Cuddy and John Mann remain minor (albeit, powerful) deities. What, exactly, is it about each of them that makes that so??

Having just seen Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy yesterday, this may indeed be the ultimate question. Therefore, the answer is, of course: 42.

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