Saturday, June 25, 2011

U2 @ Glastonbury

U2's first ever Glastonbury performance on the Pyramid Stage surprised me -- it was actually pretty good. It shows you don't need no damn claw to make the gig work. There was a very Zoo-TV feel to the whole shebang (the giant screens behind the band and at the side flashing all those random images and words), which was cool. And that's all the bells and whistles you need for a proper U2 show. Leave the rest to the musicianship. The setlist was very different from the shows on the 360 tour. The opening five songs from Achtung Baby, starting with a cool disco-inspired rendition of Even Better Than The Real Thing. And then the return of The Fly! Where The Streets Have No Name appeared early in the set and the accompanying visuals looked very similar to the Joshua Tree tour's.

At one point the rain was pouring down so heavily it looked like Under The Blood Red Sky redux. It was pretty much a crowd-pleasing greatest hits affair, with some 'rarities' like an acoustic Stay and Bad thrown in. The best part was the closing song, Out Of Control, their first single before they made it big. This is the way U2 should play on their next tour, just a bare stage with maybe a video screen as the backdrop. Their (360) live shows have seriously become so big they can't possibly get any bigger. They need to downscale drastically and go back to their club roots. Anyway, while U2's new album isn't gonna be out till next year, we still got the long-awaited Achtung Baby (& Zooropa) reissued boxset to look forward to later this year.

P.S. U2's entire Glasto set (broadcast on BBC) is available on YouTube; just type in 'U2 Glastonbury 2011'. Also if you want a historic Glasto performance, then check out Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band from two years ago.