Plain Dealer : U2 Aiming to Put Fun Back into Rock - U2 France
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Plain Dealer : U2 Aiming to Put Fun Back into Rock

dimanche 16 février 1997

Source : Plain Dealer

From The Plain Dealer :


Holding a blue-light Ash Wednesday press conference in the lingerie section of a Kmart is not the sort of behavior frequently associated with hip rock stars.

But the members of the Irish group U2 - who called the news conference to reveal details of their upcoming "PopMart" concert tour and promote their new "Pop" album - are in adelightfully unconventional and ironic mood these days. The way U2 lead singer Bonosees it, an unhealthy "miserablism" has descended upon rock ’n’ roll in recent years,fueled by an oppressive, underground hipster ideology that glorifies dour inaccessibilityand dismisses as a sellout any band that sells records.

The press conference Wednesday in New York’s Greenwich Village was a goofy publicity stunt. But that was exactly the point. U2 is on a semi-serious mission to put some of thefun back in rock ’n’ roll, to celebrate (and parody) the trashy, disposable, kitschy,commercial side of popular music.

What better place to do that than Kmart ?

Such sarcasm may strike some fans as a stretch for U2, which spent most of the 1980scultivating an image as rock’s noble, stone-faced idealists.

But U2 has been moving away from that serious territory for years now. "Pop" and "PopMart" are actually just the next step in a process that began in the early 1990s when the band released its "Achtung Baby" and "Zooropa" albums and launched its acclaimed "Zoo TV"concert tour.

The stark, intimate clamor of "Achtung Baby" signaled U2’s rebellion against its own myth. "Zoo TV" went further, debunking the band’s status as rock’s global conscience byembracing stardom’s stereotypes in a splashy, purposely melodramatic and high-techorgy of artifice.

Bono bragged Wednesday that the "PopMart" tour will be "bigger, better, taller, wider, more intimate, more spectacular" than "Zoo TV." The tour, which kicks off April 25 at Sam BoydStadium in Las Vegas, comes to Ohio Stadium in Columbus on May 24.

It will feature the largest television set ever built - a 150-by-50-foot screen that covers 833square yards and uses 22 miles of cables and 21,000 circuit boards. The stage set willalso include a 100-foot-high "Golden Arch," a 35-foot mirror ball and a 12-foot-wide,internally illuminated "Stuffed Olive" (on a 100-foot-tall toothpick).

In keeping with the electronic dance vibe of the new record, the set will also feature 5,000 feet of disco rope lighting, a large Plexiglas dance floor, six lightning machines, 20 Xenon searchlights and 100 strobe lights.

The tour, which will feature a 30-ton public-address system, will travel from city to city in15 buses and 52 trucks. The video-intensive show will mix live concert footage (shot by six broadcast TV cameras and one head-set camera) with music videos and other pre-recorded clips.

"Playing in a football stadium doesn’t have to be like standing in the back of a muddy fieldin the ’70s," said Bono. "It can be an extraordinary event. You can turn these steelmausoleums into something special."

"Rock ’n’ roll is mutating at the moment into all kinds of things. We’re very excited about it.We’re chasing down all kinds of avenues."

Bono revels in the irony inherent in the "PopMart" tour. The world’s most earnest rock band goes Vegas. It opens up some interesting possibilities.

"We still have the same ideals," laughed Bono. "We’re just trying to look like we don’t. We’ve gotten pretty smart in that regard.We’re still the bleeding hearts club. Our music is painfully, insufferably earnest. We’ve just got really smart at disguising it and throwing people off."

Tickets for the Ohio Stadium show are $37.50 and $52.50. OSU students, staff and facultywill be able to buy tickets during a special March 1 pre-sale in Columbus. Call (614)292-9724 or (614) 292-2324.

Tickets to the general public go on sale March 2 through Ticketmaster. The ClevelandTicketmaster phone charge is 241-5555. The Akron number is (330) 945-9400.

The cable music channels MTV and VH1 are giving viewers a chance to call in to buy tickets for a limited number of choice seats for selected venues before they go on sale to the public. The "Tickets First" promotions will be broadcast beginning at 8 p.m. each of the next threeFridays. Tickets for the Ohio Stadium show will be included in the Feb. 28 broadcast.

Other nearby stops on the "PopMart" tour include Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium (May 22) and Detroit’s Silverdome (Oct. 31). Ticket-sale dates for those shows will be announced later.

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