Monday, October 31, 2005

This past weekend was great!

Lots of U2ness in the air, and I thought a lot about the book I'm slowly reading, Liveness by Philip Auslander. He writes about how the live performance has changed due to our highly mediatized culture, and I originally picked it up thinking about hip hop and electronic acts. Everytime I've watched a video'd or a live performance of groups of these types there's always some sort of antic that fills in the void where live music playing would reside. Whether its bringing on your huge crew, or wearing a metal mask, there's usually some gimmick to these electronically focused musicians. Think about DJ's and the stunts and tricks they perform while they're spinning - it would be pretty boring without them, because that would essentially just be you looking at some person moving their hands over records. We're even losing that little bit of liveness with new methods of mixing.

Anyway, back to U2! The stage is a marvel of mediation, boasting huge LED curtains which project amazing animations, and not to mention the running lights around the "egg" stage. I couldn't convince myself whether or not stage lighting antics were exciting or just simply distracting. Of course, I just wanted to star at 4 of my favorite men in the world the whole time, but how could I with all the flashing lights? Basically, it was a brain fuck of media that night, between the real live people down there, the big screens and all the freaking lights all over.

Not only was it a bombardment of color and sound but also of politics and pleas for help. My partner put it best when he said "It's like going to a political rally with music." Bono does a great job of convincing folks of the need to erase debt to third world countries and that wealthier countries need to give more to economic development and disease control there. For him it may be a matter of Coexistance, but for a lot of people it's the difference between living today and tomorrow. If you want to help, you can join the ONE campaign, or get specific and help with Debt Aids Trade Africa - DATA. Even just signing your name on a petition brings us one step closer to solving a huge worldwide problem.

So yeah, the music was great. Bono brought up a great young kid to play guitar on Angel of Harlem, and he even stumbled on the lyrics to "Stuck in a Moment." It was duly noted that Larry Mullen is quite "bowed up." (And it's his birthday today if you were wondering!) Adam seemed to enjoy himself, and I even caught a smile or two. The Edge's shirt was too baggy, but it didn't keep him from doing the "Edge Leg Stomp" or rocking that fine guitar. And Bono...well, gosh, was amazing.

I met a crazy lady who has seen U2 6 times and said that one time her husband told her "You're supposed to worship Jesus, not Bono." She even has a U2 tattoo. That lady is the shit.

I also got to see a Jackson Pollock in person, and I have a new found respect for his work. Seeing his artwork in person made it 100x better. I also got to check out a great installation by a Japanese artist Tatsuo Miyajima called Counter Ground, in which LED counters counted from 1 to 9 in various speeds in a darkened room. It was like watching technology breathe and take life.

I also visited Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum with a JFK Fanatic who felt like his life was complete after visiting. Its always an interesting place to visit, because of all the crazies there. I just can't imagine making a living off someone dying.

I have some great notes I took the other day at the Facebook Forum here on campus, but the Internet connections have been too wanky for me to post them up from my Mac. Until it gets resolved, I'll be updating from this janky PC lab.


helen erpud said...

yay! welcome!! i was getting quite lonesome for you there... sounds like you had mucho fun. :)

Noma said...

I got to sit next to your luvmuffin tonight and he told me a little about your trip. Let's all go there by train sometime.

conchita said...

I am very happy that you finally got to see your band!