Wednesday, October 07, 2009

In which Bono uses the "C" word

I haven't been to a U2 concert since the 1987 Joshua Tree tour, where I saw them in a muddy football field in Rochester, NY. It was not a good show--Bono had just broken his arm and can probably be forgiven for not really being into it. The highlight of the day was when I successfully swerved to avoid the vomit spewing from the mouth of a drunk girl near us, who had spent much of the concert sitting on her boyfriend's shoulders, directly in front of me. So it's understandable that I never made much effort to see them again, but our dear, dear friends called us back in March to arrange that we all attend the U2 concert here in Charlottesville, and I decided I could give them a second chance.

I'm glad I did because the show was fabulous. Muse opened, and they were awesome too. Isn't it a beautiful symmetry that the best and worst concerts I've seen were by the same band?

Charlottesville is a tough crowd. I know that well, from my twelve years of social interactions here, and now U2 knows it too because the concert crowd was pretty lame. Yes, they cheered, but it all seemed lukewarm. Early in the show, Bono asked if Mr. Jefferson was in the house, and this was the only time that the crowd really went wild. Charlottesville is a college town and the show was held at the University's football stadium, but when Bono referenced the "campus" the crowd gave a collective gasp. I could almost hear the mutterings: What does he think this is, the University of Oklahoma? 'Campus' indeed.

At the University of Virginia, we do not say "campus," we say "grounds" and we don't say "quad," we say "lawn." I'm not even a UVA person, (and frankly, some of them can be insufferable) having gone to college in New York, but I've lived here long enough that I couldn't help wincing every time Bono said "campus." Still, how was he supposed to know? Maybe I'm misreading things, but it seemed to me that the rest of the crowd wasn't as willing to forgive him for "campus" as I was.


  1. Too funny. I respect Bono's musical accomplishments in the early days, but am of the opinion that he should have retired in the 90's. And for some reason his 'activism' irritates me to no end. But I do like Muse, so I'd have been all over that one.

  2. I saw them in Atlanta on Tuesday. It was great. I especially liked Muse. I agree with Tatiana about the activism stuff. I don't like pay $100 a head to one of the richest bands in the world and then being preached at during the concert. Other than that, it was a great show.

  3. That sounds like a rough crowd to play. I think it' s usually better if a performer DOESN'T try to "make nice" with the locals. It rarely works unless it's researched and thought out like Garrison Keillor does.