U2 Rocks SNL

:: What a difference two weeks make. Two weeks ago, Ashlee Simpson reduced the musical history of Saturday Night Live to one of its lowest points ever. Last week, Modest Mouse brought the level back up to where it belongs, enough to convince me to purchase their new and second newest albums. Tonight, U2 raised the bar much higher. I finished watching the east coast feed of SNL, the actual “live” broadcast, which I can watch at 9:30 pm here in Edmonton, because I have digital cable which carries the Detroit NBC affiliate. U2 opened with Vertigo, followed with a brilliant and moving ballad from the new album (don’t know the name yet), and closed the show by bringing the house down with “I Will Follow”. Rarely do bands perform three songs on SNL (I can think of Springsteen, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., and Paul Simon – there are probably a handful of others.)

I felt exhilarated watching them perform on the show. During the closing number, the entire cast of SNL was off to the right, watching, enthralled and entranced, smiling broadly, almost in disbelief that U2 was actually performing in their house. I taped the show, and rewound to watch them perform again afterwards. Three amazing performances, inspiring to watch and experience. A great band, about to hit the top again. Last Sunday, Jon Parales, writing in the NYTimes, suggested that How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb is the best album of their 25-year career.

What dumbfounds me is that Lorne Michaels presents us with top notch bands like U2 and Modest Mouse, but counters with absolute assembly line shyte like Simpson. Perhaps U2’s performance will encourage him to book top-notch high quality bands that actually perform live, well crafted, original music on a live show, and that haul ass while doing it. HTDATB will hit #1 within days of its release on Tuesday. Its purchase will be an antidote if you will, to help me forget about the upcoming result of our forthcoming provincial coronation election on Monday.

One Response to “U2 Rocks SNL”

  1. cindi Says:

    The 2nd song, you know by now, is “Sometimes you can’t make it on your own,” which Bono wrote (I’m surmising) about his father. The addition of the lyrics from (Tom Rush?) “No Regrets” at the end were just heart-rending: “There’s no regrets / no tears goodbye / don’t want you back.” Augh, I wanted to cry. And the song itself: “Do you hear me when I sing / you’re the reason the opera is in me.” Man.

    If you listen close, you can hear them begin another song just as NBC cut away (“noooooo!”)–it was “All Because of You,” reportedly the next single from Atomic Bomb and another wonderful song. After that, they reprised “Vertigo.” I loved watching Amy Pohler crying and laughing and being totally starstruck by Bono–she looked like any number of thousands of fans I’ve seen at shows. They have such a profound effect on people.

    Now do you see why I’ve seen them live a dozen times? Just hearing “Vertigo” for the first time brought it all back. I want more, more, more!!! I have loved this band since I was 12 years old. Many songs move me to tears, especially live. There is nothing more joyful than singing “Where the Streets have no name” or “Still haven’t found” with 20,000 of your closest friends. “Elevation” is just as invigorating as “Vertigo,” and a fantastic opener (but I bet “vertigo” will be even better!). No one else on the planet can have me on my feet (jumping up and down, mostly) for two hours solid. It’s pure joy, and it’s addicting.

    I haven’t decided if HTDAAB is their best album, but it’s certainly their most mature, with some of Bono’s best lyrics, and they are at their best when it’s just the four boys “bein’ a band,” as Larry would say.

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