Why is U2 The Greatest Band Ever

Despite being routinely described as one of the world’s most popular bands on and off for close to twenty years, U2’s reception is difficult to assess. Many sources indulge in hyperbolic discussions regarding the “greatest” bands in the world, but what exactly constitutes “greatness” in music, and, in particular, popular music? Album sales? Longevity? Membership in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Critical reception? Influence? Originality? How would you define greatness ?

Bono Does a Throwback Classics

 

Bono / U2TOURFANS / Mark Peterson 2011 Bono described himself as a man of simple tastes: “200 tons and an army of trucks to put on this show.” Thirty years and 23 appearances after their Asbury show, they still remain the greatest show on earth.

‘New Jersey, hot summer night, where you gonna take us?’ asked Bono. Jumping aboard the U2360 spaceship, you never know where you’ll be taken just that you’ll never come back the same.”Where we gonna go, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey.’

The band took the crowd through an eclectic mix of songs from three decades. Yes, obvious crowd pleasers like “Elevation,” “Vertigo,” “Pride,” and “I Will Follow.” “Still Haven’t Found what I’m Looking For” had Springsteen’s “Promised Land” stitched into it tonight as a tip o’ the hat to The Boss, who was reportedly in the house. “Thank you, Father Bruce, for tonight’s altar and many other things.”

There were songs included in tonight’s set list that represents a massive re-haul from the set list played 2 years ago. “Miss Sarajevo” makes her debut onstage before a slinky, sexy read of “Zooropa.” “Stay,” a track from Zooropa that is one of the most soulful things the band have ever produced in this humble reviewer’s opinion (and Bono’s), was stripped to just an acoustic guitar, producing a rare quiet moment that brought the most goose bumps.

Maybe it was The Boss or maybe it was the hot weather, but Bono’s mind was on the Jersey Shore tonight! He told a story about how thirty years ago they were playing the Fast Lane in Asbury Park.

So much has changed, so much hasn’t’, mused Bono. ‘Four Irish boys, out of control…’ It led to a read later that night of ‘Out of Control’,  in the set in 1981  that Bono says included “The Ocean,”11 O’Clock Tick Tock,” “I Will Follow,” “An Cat Dubh.” Imagine being at that show!

Bono prowled the stage with a large green guitar before gently strumming Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” a spine-tingling start to a goosebump-inducing “Where the Streets with No Name.” It produces one of those magical moments that makes pushing through the stadium traffic so worthwhile. 

The band tipped the hat to Clarence Clemons with “Moment of Surrender,” a sentimental track from the newer No Line on the Horizon. “Clarence was a beautiful man and a symphonic personality,” Bono said.

 

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