Author Topic: Has U2 lost their "swag?"  (Read 918 times)

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Offline gottago

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Has U2 lost their "swag?"
« on: June 08, 2018, 08:06:50 AM »
This question has been floating around in my head for years now.  When I see U2 perform live I can't help but get this feeling, especially from watching Bono, of "Please love us. Please think we are cool again. Please think we are relevant."  It's in his performance and words he says as he interacts with the crowd.

Like, for example, when I think about The Stones and Mick walking out on stage, even well into their 70's, there is a confidence that they have in themselves and who they are as a band that U2 and Bono just don't quite seem to have anymore. It is something they once had, especially during the Joshua Tree and ZOO TV tours. Sometimes I wonder about the impact of POP and POPmart on them.  Did it damage their confidence in such a way that they have not ever been quite right since?

Anyone else know what I am saying?



Offline JTNash

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Re: Has U2 lost their "swag?"
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2018, 08:17:20 AM »
That’s always been the U2 paradox.  Or at least the Bono paradox, bold, entertaining and seems sure of himself, yet insecure.

This is most Rock Stars actually!

Offline grhawi

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Re: Has U2 lost their "swag?"
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2018, 08:31:05 AM »
I took a friend of mine to the U2 show in Atlanta a week or so ago.  He's not a big U2 fan - knows some of their songs, but had never seen them perform live.  He was blown away by the performance - nearly brought to tears by the Staring at the Sun / Pride sequence.  He was mesmerized from the opening song until the very end.  After the show, he said "I've seen a lot of bands perform, but I now realize I had never seen a real rock star perform.  Now I understand who they're all trying to emulate."

Yes, U2 has matured and Bono no longer climbs the scaffolding or runs circles around the arena at full speed.  But they have not lost their swagger.  The Acrobat performance every night, for example, is as electrifying and impactful as anything I've seen them do, and I've been going to U2 concerts for over 20 years.  I think sometimes the biggest U2 fans are the most critical.  We get lost in analyzing and critiquing the minutia that we lose perspective on just how powerful U2 still is as a live band.

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Has U2 lost their "swag?"
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2018, 09:05:57 AM »
I think both perspectives are right. First, we are talking about Bono, not U2 here.

He was always insecure and you can see it in flashes from the earliest eras. It just isn't obvious unless you're looking for the right things because his insecurity is constructed in a fundamentally different way from the rest of us. Most of us would shrink from fronting a rock concert and taking the very real risks of failure and making a fool of himself that he does, seemingly easily. But most of us don't NEED what he needs and is willing to lay it all on the line to get. Hence, a rock star. His equation is different.

So that's not new. At all.

Did he have a particular type of swagger that he doesn't seem to have any more? I think perhaps there is a particular one he has shed. Note I said "shed" not "lost." I don't think it's from increasing desperation but increasing maturity. He is more grounded now. I wouldn't change a thing - not his past swagger nor his current (relative!!) groundedness.

And while his style has changed - and it's been changing all along, the whole time - he still has it. He can still blow people away.

Offline JTNash

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Re: Has U2 lost their "swag?"
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2018, 09:06:30 AM »
They don’t need swagger they have magic.

Offline grhawi

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Re: Has U2 lost their "swag?"
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2018, 09:46:00 AM »
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I think both perspectives are right. First, we are talking about Bono, not U2 here.

He was always insecure and you can see it in flashes from the earliest eras. It just isn't obvious unless you're looking for the right things because his insecurity is constructed in a fundamentally different way from the rest of us. Most of us would shrink from fronting a rock concert and taking the very real risks of failure and making a fool of himself that he does, seemingly easily. But most of us don't NEED what he needs and is willing to lay it all on the line to get. Hence, a rock star. His equation is different.

So that's not new. At all.

Did he have a particular type of swagger that he doesn't seem to have any more? I think perhaps there is a particular one he has shed. Note I said "shed" not "lost." I don't think it's from increasing desperation but increasing maturity. He is more grounded now. I wouldn't change a thing - not his past swagger nor his current (relative!!) groundedness.

And while his style has changed - and it's been changing all along, the whole time - he still has it. He can still blow people away.

When you're talking about Bono, you're talking about U2.  When you're talking about U2, you're talking about Bono.  They are inextricably linked. 

Offline laoghaire

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Re: Has U2 lost their "swag?"
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2018, 11:34:36 AM »
I don't agree at all. U2 is definitely more than Bono.

Offline SwimmingSorrows

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Re: Has U2 lost their "swag?"
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2018, 05:45:50 PM »
U2 have never had "swag."  They sure as hell had none in the 80s, and in the 90s they sarcastically pretended to have it, but they still didn't deep down.

Offline shineinthesummernight

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Re: Has U2 lost their "swag?"
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2018, 06:18:47 PM »
I know what you mean about no swag, but they sure as hell rocked those photos in the '80s.  Mmmm....   I guess sex appeal and swag aren't necessarily the same thing.

Offline 73October

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Re: Has U2 lost their "swag?"
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2018, 03:13:15 AM »
Bono is still that boy running through the fields behind Cedarwood Road looking for an adventure in the building site that was the Ballymun Flats.  He's also still that boy who has to give as good as he gets on the street to defend his corner/reputation.  And also the boy who the girls and women found themselves kind of strangely attracted to.
So if that's swagger, then he still has it.
He's not Mick Jagger and never will be.  He's not British for a start.

Online wons

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Re: Has U2 lost their "swag?"
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2018, 07:45:05 AM »
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This question has been floating around in my head for years now.  When I see U2 perform live I can't help but get this feeling, especially from watching Bono, of "Please love us. Please think we are cool again. Please think we are relevant."  It's in his performance and words he says as he interacts with the crowd.

Like, for example, when I think about The Stones and Mick walking out on stage, even well into their 70's, there is a confidence that they have in themselves and who they are as a band that U2 and Bono just don't quite seem to have anymore. It is something they once had, especially during the Joshua Tree and ZOO TV tours. Sometimes I wonder about the impact of POP and POPmart on them.  Did it damage their confidence in such a way that they have not ever been quite right since?

Anyone else know what I am saying?

I think this is all in your mind totally! U2's tours, the Vertigo Tour and the 360 tour were actually in many ways far more successful than the Joshua Tree Tour or ZOO TV tour ever were in terms of GROSS, Attendance, and the speed at which tickets were sold. Today, the 360 tour which went from mid-2009 to mid 2011 is still the most successful tour ever in music in history! It has the highest attendance of any tour at over 7.2 million tickets sold, and a gross of over $740 million which adjusted for inflation is well over $800 million dollars in 2018.

Some of the swagger of the JT tour and ZOO TV tour was actually Bono not really knowing how to deal with success on that scale yet. Ever since 2001, he seems far more confident and comfortable in his own skin then he seemed in 1987.

Offline Mr. Sarajevo 20

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Re: Has U2 lost their "swag?"
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2018, 10:02:09 AM »
The band def had swag during the Popmart era...

Online McSwilly

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Re: Has U2 lost their "swag?"
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2018, 02:31:56 PM »
Long lost - have you seen the tassels on Edge's leather jacket - that went out of style, or maybe was never in style.

Since they haven't made a solid good album since Achtung, I think most swag has been lost, though Adam and Larry are still damn cool.

Hard to have swag when you are curtaining off the unsold seats in your latest tour because the new songs are a total bore.

did I mention that I LOVE U2, since 1983. Best live band ever.

Offline JTNash

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Re: Has U2 lost their "swag?"
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2018, 03:21:04 PM »
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Long lost - have you seen the tassels on Edge's leather jacket - that went out of style, or maybe was never in style.

Since they haven't made a solid good album since Achtung, I think most swag has been lost, though Adam and Larry are still damn cool.

Hard to have swag when you are curtaining off the unsold seats in your latest tour because the new songs are a total bore.

did I mention that I LOVE U2, since 1983. Best live band ever.

I love the new stuff, no one is forcing you to stay a fan.

I’m sure you can go find Justin Bieber’s or Taylor Swifts message board to post on lol

Offline 64ac30

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Re: Has U2 lost their "swag?"
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2018, 04:27:56 PM »
I think Adam has the most swag. A haircut, a change of the beanie, and a new shirt might be good for Bono Edge and larrry.