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After 24 hours of processing last night’s performance, here are a few of my thoughts on Bono’s “Stories of Surrender” show.
THE ART OF OVER-DELIVERING
This event was promoted ONLY as a “book tour”. Expectations were that Bono would make an in-person appearance, possibly participate in a moderated interview/conversation, and maybe perform 2 or 3 acoustic songs at the most. This would have been a compelling event that would have satisfied and pleased both fans and critics alike.
No one was expecting this to even be “a concert” much less a fully imagined, tightly scripted, choreographed, staged theatrical production that told a cohesive overarching narrative story showcasing completely new and reinvented musical interpretations.
The theatrical dynamic of this show was a complete and unexpected surprise that no one saw coming.
AMBITION & THE INHERIT RISKS
Bono was clearly NOT “winging it”. This show obviously required significant preparation, planning, and practice. From the script, to the stage and lighting design, to the blocking, to the casting of the supporting musicians - this was not Bono simply phoning-in his version of “Springsteen on Broadway”.
This ambitious storytelling vision was VERY HIGH risk. I can’t think of many artists that would even dare to try and attempt to pull something like this off with a straight face without the safety net of irony.
This bold creative choice required FULL commitment and a fearlessness of slipping into the pit of pretentiousness (i.e. “Turn Off the Dark 2.0” with a young Paul Hewson as Peter Parker’s understudy.)
MONEY DOESN’T MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND
This is the smallest tour in Bono’s career in the smallest venues he’s played since the second leg of the “War” tour in 1983. Producing and performing a show with this scale and creative risk with relatively minimal financial gain for a proven stadium act only adds to the shock and awe.
Call me naïve, but in an age of cynicism with art in the midst of a long losing streak versus commerce. Maybe it IS possible to "dream it all up again". Now, more than ever, “We need new dreams tonight”.
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"Albums are travelogues. Geographically, philosophically, sexually. An artist searches for territory yet to be discovered and, better still, places on the way to somewhere else."
did you know
In the song 'Zooropa' there are a number of advertising slogans in the lyrics like 'Vorsprung Durch Technik' (Audi), 'Be all that you can be' (the Army), 'Eat to get slimmer' (Slim-Fast) and 'Fly the friendly skies' (United Airlines).