So now that is has been three weeks since the two shows in San Jose, I want to take a moment and write about it. My first instinct was to simply register my thoughts but I really wasn’t crazy about that idea. I started to think about i+e in contrast to some of their past tours and does the band still set the standard for live shows?
The answer is an unequivocal yes. U2 still sets the bar—and sets it high—for how a band should perform and engage the audience.
For those of us who went to 360°, we were treated with a spectacle that remains their biggest, most-successful tour to date. Although, it would be difficult to predict the success of the current tour, i+e is definitely a smaller and more stripped-down endeavor. That doesn’t mean it isn’t awesome, because it is.
I plan to go into previous tours in more detail, but that will be on a different post.
So what makes i+e so awesome? First and foremost: imagination. The band never ceases to amaze me when they tour because they constantly innovate. As artists, their first priority is to hold our attention for as long as they have asked for it. You might say that is pretty easy to do at a rock concert. I wouldn’t disagree. But, I’ve also been bored at concerts, which I didn’t think was possible.
The band knows that we’ve spent our hard-earned money (and their tickets aren’t cheap) to see a U2 show. That means something to us and that means something to them. I’ve read so many books and articles on the fact that they place the highest importance on their audience. The band knows that it must not only live up to our expectations, but also exceed them. So, how do they do that so consistently?
I would say talent, but not just talent. They have the most brilliant people to imagine, to problem-solve, to strategize, to create an experience that lasts long after we leave the show. It takes skill, hard work and an army of dedicated people willing to help achieve that vision. And, it also takes a sincere earnestness by the band and the company to make a show special for us.
I’m biased, because I’ve loved all of their shows. But, I’m not ignorant. I can see the sheer amount of effort it takes to put on a tour like theirs and know it’s not easy. It’s not easy to sing at the top of your lungs night after night. It’s not easy grind your guitar or to batter your drums for over two hours night after night. It’s not easy to make each song sound great, night after night. But they do. I see them try. I see them throw themselves out there not just demanding our attention, but commanding our attention.
I guess that’s why I love them so much, because they’re doing it for us. They’re leaving everything on the stage and know that we wouldn’t want it any other way.