Boston Herald : U2 rolls the dicesamedi 26 avril 1997
Source : Boston Herald
From The Boston Herald :
U2 rolls the diceVegas-style video gives ’Pop’ to tour launch
By DEAN JOHNSON
Most rock bands shy away from hype and glitz, if only for appearance’s sake. But if there’s alesson in tonight’s ABC special "U2 : A Year in Pop," it’s that the Irish supergroup eagerlyembraces both.
The flashy hourlong show, which will include footage from last night’s tour opener in Las Vegas, features Dennis Hopper as narrator, a quick-jumping MTV video style and appearances by the late poet Allen Ginsberg and artist Roy Lichtenstein. It’s sometimes funny and intriguing,periodically ironic and self-deprecating, remarkably self-promoting, and even occasionallyapologist in tone. But most of all, it’s BIG.
U2, in essence, challenges itself to a duel : Can it best itself ? Will the new PopMart tour top theband’s previous Zoo TV tour ?
"We are our own competition," U2 manager Paul McGuinness told the Herald this week. "Oh, Isuppose the Rolling Stones are the only others who understand (doing a major stadium tour)well."
The special zips through eight years of U2 history and lands in the "Joshua Tree" era of the late ’80s, when, McGuinness said, "Time magazine gave them Bruce Springsteen’s poisonedchalice, ’Rock’s hottest ticket.’ " U2 has taken that chalice and run with it.
The focus of tonight’s show, however, is the new album, "Pop," and especially the new tour. Allthe band members are featured in sound bites and as talking heads, but lead singer Bono is the most provocative. His comments up the ante on what is already the pop music event of 1997.
A few Bonoisms in tonight’s special :
* "This show is going to walk all over ’Zoo TV’ . . . My ambition is to make it as mind-blowing forthe people who come as it is to me."
* "Being in a band is all about living it large or writing it large . . . Big can be beautiful."
* "I’m not sure any artist or band person should be taken too seriously. Only time will tell if you’re more than your moments . . . But I think in our moments, we’re definitely the most interestingband on the planet."
In effect, U2 convinced ABC to pay the band to run an hourlong infomercial to promote thePopMart tour. As McGuinness says in the program, "It would be embarrassing to be good at themusic and bad at the business."
He added in an interview : "Why do ABC with this show and not MTV ? The simple answer is an audience 150 times larger and the opportunity to infiltrate an American television network. We’dbe crazy not to do that. We’re proud of what we do and want as many people to see and hear itas possible. What very often happens with TV is that it’s a record of a project as retrospectiveand only comes out when the actual event is over.
"What’s great about this program," he added, "is that it’s an opportunity when the band’s recordhas been out only a few weeks and the day after the start of the tour, when excitement is at itsheight."
Or, as Hopper says about U2’s early years, "There is a perception among the cynical that a planfor world domination was already in place . . . From the start, the band was not exactly short onself-belief."
"U2 : A Year in Pop" airs tonight at 10 on ABC (Ch. 5).