Entertainment behind the scenes
U2 played live for the world on Sunday night via YouTube.com, and as they were in Hollywood, Bono gave the band a movie star sheen when he introduced each member. He compared drummer Larry Mullen Jr. to James Dean, bassist Adam Clayton to Clark Gable, The Edge to Mr. Spock of “Star Trek” and himself to a mix of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito.
But if the setting was L.A. (Pasadena’s Rose Bowl to be exact), the show’s direction was aimed at a global audience. Before U2 performed “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” images flashed on the screen of green-glad protesters in Iran, some of them stained in blood. The crowd reacted with cheers of support for Iranian dissidents, just as they cheered on Bono’s rendition of “Walk On,” a tribute to Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, later on in the show.
“Thank you America, thank you everyone watching on YouTube on all seven continents,” Bono said at one point in the show, as he acknowledged the global audience that was tuned in for the live Web stream.
U2′s new concert contraption, The Claw, performed without flaw, transporting the band members around on giant moving bridges over the audience, with a huge video screen that slowly expanded and contracted like an accordion.
As U2 enters the third week of its North American tour, smashing sales records along the way, the big elephant in the room is the disappointing sales of the band’s new album. “No Line on the Horizon” has sold about a million copies in the United States since its release in February, according to Nielsen SoundScan, becoming one of U2′s least-commercial efforts.
“I walk out and sing (album track) ‘Breathe’ every night to a lot of people who don’t know it,” frontman Bono says in a Rolling Stone magazine cover story. (We have pictured drummer Larry Mullen at left, playing in Chicago on Sept. 24, since he and bassist Adam Clayton were omitted from the cover.)
Videogames like Rock Band and Guitar Hero may be one of the few bright lights in the flailing music industry, but real-life guitar heroes like Jimmy Page and Jack White are unimpressed.
“If you start with the first track on the first (self-titled Led Zeppelin) album, “Good Times Bad Times,” and you think of the drum part that John Bonham did there, how many drummers in the world can actually play that? Let alone Dad on a Christmas morning? There might be a lot of alcohol to be consumed over Christmas, he still ain’t gonna get it,” Led Zeppelin founder Page told journalists at a Beverly Hills news conference on Friday.
(Writing and reporting by Dean Goodman)
The band, making a whistle-stop visit to Los Angeles on Monday to promote its 12th release “No Line on the Horizon,” sat down for questions at a radio broadcast hosted by Scottish singer/actress Shirley Manson.