The Grandeur of U2: Can It Get Any Bigger?

Back in July I interviewed singer/songwriter Michelle Shocked for Popmatters about her new live gospel album ToHEAVENuRIDE. I asked her what it was like to capture such a powerful, spontaneous and potentially career damaging moment on a live recording. In the midst of the interview I realized what you hear her attempting during the live concert is really nothing new for her when you take a look at her career path. She told me that she didn’t know the show was going to be recorded, a curse/blessing throughout her career, as well. And towards the end of the interview she reflected on her experience at a U2 show and how that experience impacted her style of naturally incorporating the sublime and true sense of worship she’s usually used to experiencing at church into a secular live concert setting. She said that U2 is one of the best live acts she seen, specifically noting U2’s rare ability to create and sustain an overwhelming and engulfing sense of grandeur. She likened it to the feeling you might have when sitting in a European cathedral during a church service and being swept away by the spirit of the moment.

Well, I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing U2 live but I’ve talked to many fans and they echoed Shock’s sentiments. And on tomorrow, January 23rd, U2 3D will hit IMAX theatre’s across the country. The average ticket price for a U2 show is around fifty bucks and for about around 15, depending on where you live, you can experience the U2 as captured during the South American leg of the “Vertigo” tour. The “first-ever live action 3D digital concert film” was showcased at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and will certainly add to the larger than life presence of Bono and U2. It’ll be interesting to experience this concert film and the effect of it on us as fans is something Live Exhaust will be getting into in future posts. I’ll be sure to check back with you to let you know how it was as it will surely have an impact on how we experience a live show in person or in this new high-tech multi-sensory presentation.

If you get a chance to see the film, please send me an email letting me know how it was. I’d like to hear your thoughts on it.

Speaking of recording live music, coming up this week, LE will take a look at how local venues across the United States are recording performances and playing a key role in live music internet-streaming and band showcasing. Is your favorite venue in on it, too? Check back to find out.

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