Bono is perhaps best known of course for being the “There’s Wally!” of rock-docs. But when he’s not being memed, when he’s not promising change, when he’s not getting right in under the goat(ee) of post-punkers, he’s also (still) the frontman of U2.
I’m a lapsed fan.
I think I copped to that right here. Remembering The Zoo TV gig got me in a mild rush of nostalgia late last year, and this happens once a year or two. I remember I used to be a massive U2 fan. I grew out of it. Because that’s what should happen. But I still have a fondness for one or two of the albums, once or twice a year.
I’m sure you already know this if you’ve read a few things I’ve written, but I’ll stand on a hill (with one tree on it) and proclaim that whilst I can’t care too much at all for Joshua Tree, I still think that The Unforgettable Fire is a mild masterpiece. And I get to cling to the Eno connection if I’m after record-collector cred. (But who wants that anyway?)
I doubt I’d make it all the way through Joshua Tree (even though my opinion has softened) and it’s the same with Achtung Baby, but I do love Zooropa and I do remember the first three U2 albums meaning a whole lot in my teen years. I’d pick October if I had to pick one, and I might just be doing that to be the guy that doesn’t pick the more obvious War, but I really love the sombre moods of October (its title track for instance). There was something there. Until there wasn’t.
And though Bono is easily mocked for cosying up with Bob Geldof or Nelson Mandela or the Dalai Lama or Clinton or Obama, he’s done more with his life than you. A lot more than I’ve done with mine. So, that is the sort of life I want to read about.
And though I got sick of seeing Bono as a talking head on every single music documentary, he was there as a fan; flying the flag – talking as much about fandom as the artist in question.
When Bono was 18, a rough singer with attitude, he wrote the first U2 Single. What an incredible run from there. You couldn’t guess – and he wouldn’t have either – that it would go such heights.
I personally feel that much like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Aerosmith (and, shhh, probably The Rolling Stones) the longer U2 exists without calling it a day the further their legacy sinks. They are not Bob Dylan, none of them are, or could ever be. They’re not Neil Young.
But they were something.
And for a while there it meant the world to me.
I want to read that story.
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