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U2 concert trite, blurry, condescending

Robert: I have edited your article (which amounted to changing decible in decibel and dropping the s of quaaludes -- feel free to restore that s, if yoy want to).

I have put the following headline candidates in HEDS.19a:

U2 concert trite, blurry, condescending

U2 trite, blurry, condescending

U2 concert trite and blurry

U2 trite and blurry

If you feel the urge to replace them with something less hackneyed, feel free to do so and tell the Night Editor.


Arts Ed: I have to get the names of the players. I'll have them by Monday afternoon. Please also put the introductory paragraph in proper arts style. Thanks, REM

U2 at the Worcester Centrum, April 19.

I had not intended to write a review of the U2 concert. The Tech had not sent me, and I am not a music expert. The concert disappointed to such an extent, however, that I feel compelled to say something about it.

U2 is a Irish band known for its innovative music, incisive lyrics and dedication to ideals of peace and brotherhood. Those three strengths came out Friday as uninspired, inaudible and trite, respectively.

The sound, while average for a concert, was not nearly adequate for U2's purposes. Great decibel output conflicts with the sensitivity of their work. It obscures the lyrics and reduces the music to only the group's signature chords -- the ones that make you say when you listen to the radio, "I don't know what it is, but it sounds like U2."

Lead singer Bono Vox only went through the motions for the first half of the concert. Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton were loud, though inoffensive. The Edge was dull. Their performance suggested Van Halen on quaaludes.

The concert only achieved its potential in the last two songs of the main set, "New Year's Day" and "Pride in the Name of Love." The encores, "Gloria" and a cover of Bob Dylan's "Knocking on Heaven's Door," were energetic successes. Even then, U2 kept "New Year's Day" to its minimum length. A song of that quality deserves an extended bridge in a live version.

The most offensive part of U2's act was Bono's condescension to the audience. Yes, we all know Ireland is a land torn by foolish religious strife. We do not need Bono to tear the green and orange stripes from the Irish flag, throw them into the audience and wave the remaining white stripe in surrender.

Bono also expropriated and expanded Bruce Springsteen's schtick of pulling a beautiful woman out of the crowd and on to the stage. Bono, however, perhaps in the spirit of egalitarianism, selected a fat, hulking woman, who attached herself to his neck for the duration of the song.

During the Dylan cover -- dedicated to all the aspiring bands -- Bono helped a "guitarist" on to the stage, gave him his guitar, taught him four chords and let him play for us. To the "guitarist's" credit, he used the instrument with more clarity than Bono did for most of the evening.

The last addition was that of a small child from behind the stage. Bono carried the boy on his shoulders and sang a few bars from "We are the World."

The trite, blurry performance may have been worth the price of admission to U2 devotees. In no way was it worth the 200-300 percent mark-ups charged by scalpers for the sold-out concert. If, when U2 returns, you must see them -- well, then you must. This fan, however, will not be there.

Robert E. Malchman->