Saturday, November 27, 2010

U2 - War


Oh the irony.

A young man, starting to make his way in the world and longing for adventure, joins the Australian Airforce.  His first posting is to a supply depot on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia.  Living there, in the very early 80's, he befriended a similarly-young man who had travelled from the other side of the world to join the same Airforce.  The Aussie and the Pommie shared many interests, mostly revolving around music.

The Pommie opened up a previously unknown world of music to The Aussie, whose musical palate was mostly served by Australian and a few big name British and American bands.  The Pommie regaled him with stories of truly great new (at the time)  bands from the UK, as well as live gigs he'd attended.  The Aussie was intensely envious of the experiences his friend shared.  But he never let on.  The Pommie introduced The Aussie to music he still loves and listens to regularly.  The Pommie has no idea how much he shaped The Aussie's music-listening future.

Recently, The Aussie saw a great documentary called It Might Get Loud, which features three generations of rock guitarists: Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White.  While watching this, he is reminded of the power of such tracks as Sunday Bloody Sunday, New Year's Day and Two Hearts Beat As One.  The Aussie wishes, again, he knew where The Pommie was now as he can't thank him enough for opening his eyes to a wonderful world full of music.

As the Aussie now sits here listening to War, he remembers U2 as one of the bands The Pommie introduced him to back then and wonders if The Pommie was aware of the irony at the time.  Because The Aussie, naive young man that he was, failed to see it.  He realises it now, though.



So, this has been a bit of a tough week for me.  You see, I've had bronchitis.  The really hacking cough, the wheeze, the croaky voice, sore throat - it goes on and on.  But funnily enough, it's reminded me of the time I saw U2 - sometime in the early 80s, in Sydney.  At the venerable (now) Entertainment Centre, which at the time was shiny and new.

My soon-to-be husband (the first one!) had bought us tickets, but then the Army sent him on some training course or other, so I took my friend Elaine.  The band was playing a massive amount of gigs - I think five or six in Sydney alone - and we made our way up to the nosebleed seats.  Only to discover Bono had overextended himself just a bit, and had lost his voice.  The crowd kind of made up for it by singing all the songs, but I have to admit I felt just a bit cheated.  However, I hadn't paid for the tickets so really I had nothing to complain about.

I haven't bought a single U2 album - again it's been the men in my life who have - but I do have a white 12-inch single version of Pride (In the Name of Love).  Which I'll have to get out and spin pretty soon.  But mostly I just admire these guys.  They've been in a band all their lives, and they keep on making it work.  That's harder than you might think.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP nothing changes...

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  1. U2 is one of the most amazing bands out there! I LOVE the fact they keep reinventing themselves. Their first two albums, Boy and October were more of a straight forward punkish sound-full of energy! When they did War, (their third album) they added more elements like guitar solos and keyboards into the mix, giving it a more of a complex formula.

  2. U2 are just about to start their 360 Degrees tour here. And while I'm not going, I know it would be a treat to see them. Next time...