Cristo Redentor was competing to become the 8th Wonder of the World. As a Brazilian, of course I think that Cristo Redentor is very cool, but I must recognize that it could never be the 8th Wonder if the entourage for the U2 360° Tour was at the competition. THAT, my friends, THAT was a true wonder.
Several reasons can be pointed to reach this conclusion. From the high-tech all-inclusive 360° screen, to the sharp images and messages on display and the superior quality sound, everything about the concert was highly appealing.
Also, differently from a rather beautiful stone frozen Christ, Bono Vox is a beautiful living human God. That’s the main reason. He carries away his audience from the very first minute. He’s a fair play when he sings the line: – Are you ready for the real thing? But he knows he’s just getting started. And he delivers – the REAL THING – for about two hours, to our greatest enchantment.
The four of them – Bono, The Edge, Larry and Adam – make a real/magical and unique team. Many things place U2 in the highest place for bands from the 80’s, the 90’s and the 2000’s, leaving the second best (whoever it may be in your opinion) miles away behind. I will argue a few.
They have been together for more than 30 years. They survived the common placed fights over who’s the biggest shot, who should get the biggest share of the profits, who should go on solo… They understand the value of union and the power in it. Videos with the four of them in the beginning of their careers (possibly in the early 80’s) are on display from time to time in the 360° screen and they’re overwhelming.
One of my friends, who is a musician, said that U2 is all about their high standard marketing, because their songs are no better than those from Deep Purple’s or Led Zeppeling’s or the Rolling Stones’. Oh, come on! I have argued that, as a whole, U2 is far better than any other band.
It’s not just about their songs – and, by the way, the songs themselves would be enough to dismantle the others: if you pay attention to their lyrics, you will find really beautiful songs -, because there’s so much more into their music. Until U2, all the other bands were self-absorbed in their own music and in their tiny-little-environment. They sang to their own amusement, to their belly-buttons, or to simply afford their luxury micro-cosmos. U2 used its music to reach out to the people’s hearts and minds, to show the world that there’s a greater cause, one that’s bigger than us. In great part, their social consciousness goes back all the way to their hometown and childhood, among the conflicting Southern and Northern Ireland and many Bloody Sundays, Mondays and so forth. It means, they have a history that’s part of them, which they didn’t wipe away like marks on a chalkboard. And that’s how they brought quality content to high standards marketing – and that’s a pretty big difference.
This previous point leads me to another. U2 is not just U2, it’s me too. It’s an engaging band. It’s name shortens the expressions You Too. And Bono has been using this engaging power to help the most removed people and places in the world. This means they practice their speech – another pretty big difference.
Then, there is their music. There’s little to argue here. Someone who puts “touch me, take me to that other place” in a song, gets all the respect from anyone who’s been there, in love in that other place that magically materializes by a single touch – including me, and I named that other place "Mars".
I know this is just my subjective humble opinion, but I have been a big U2 fan for more than 25 years (and that’s more than half my life) and the 360° concert made me feel vindicated. I was right to love them since their very beginning and felt gifted for just being there. I am sure that many of my statements will be supported by the other 49.999 fans that were at Estadio de La Plata, on last Saturday, with me. That’s because U2 is simply the best pop band ever, and that’s not on the table for discussion anymore.
One might ask why I am writing in English, but that’s an easy answer. That’s because Bono Vox might end up reading it. Think I’m crazy? Not at all: on Friday night, when I was waiting for a cab in front of Casa Cruz restaurant, Bono was leaving the night club right beside and walking to the van that was ready, opened doors, just waiting for him. All alone in the curbside, no crowd there except for me and the friends I was having dinner with. Bono Vox stood 5 feet from me. All I could say, in a trembling overwhelmed voice, was “Bono, we love you!”. And all he said back was just enough: “Thanks guys”.
Bottom line: anything can happen. To U2 and to me too.