I received a tape of the Popmart show in Mexico today. I had too much fun reviewing it in my personal LJ not to share it with you guys. It's quite long, and might require watching if you wish to follow along. If not, it's probably just full of U2 references you can chuckle at now and again.
The Popmart tour can be thought of as the ZooTV tour to the nth degree. ZooTV was an indictment of modern commercial obsession. Popmart was reveling in it, a self-satire. On the outside, it could've been seen as a "If you can't beat 'em, join' em" move. I guess that's what most of America interpreted it as, and it wasn't a raving critical success like previous albums. That's probably how we ended up with the back-to-basics All That You Can't Leave Behind as the next album. Just an idea of what Popmart and the Pop era was like, in general:
The tour line-up was announced in a K-Mart.
The concerts were in outside arenas, and featured a screen as large as a football field, and a certain singular yellow arch that would remind one of fast food if doubled.
Tour props also featured a giant olive at the top of the screen, as if you'd be looking at a giant martini, from far away, and a mirrorball lemon, which was used as transport during the show.
So today I received my tape of the Popmart show in Mexico City, and I think I have plenty to say about it. XD
Pop Muzik - a song I enjoy, even if not a U2 song, per se. The guys are escorted to the stage, with old-fashioned-looking body guards dressed up in tuxedos. You see the guys strut to the stage in outrageous personas - a boxer, a fetishist cowboy, a construction worker complete with hardhat and mask, and... Larry.
Mofo/ I Will Follow - two vastly different songs, from their latest release and their first, respectively. They share a kindred high energy, and a similar subject - mommies, aaaaw.
Gone - one of my favorites. Each U2 tour/era seems perforated with a personal tragedy. This time around it was the suicide of INXS singer Michael Hutchence. This song, along with many others, is dedicated to him.
Even Better Than The Real Thing - it's true that the video for this song made me barf, yes. But watching it live is okay. Edge is doing a little dance-move during the opening notes, and I'd love to have a video-icon of it.
Last Night On Earth - I loved the visual during the chorus, Edge on one side of the screen, facing Bono on the other, as they layer their "You gotta give it away"s.
Until The End of the World - the bullfight did not originate on the Elevation tour! I still say the best bullfight, to date, comes from the Slane show.
New Year's Day - not a version of the song I like. Is that delay on the keyboards? Gimme a break. Plus, Bono apparently doesn't like the lighting crew.
Pride (In The Name of Love)
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
All I Want Is You - a somewhat short, rushed version of one of my favorite songs. Bono cued Edge to keep it guitar-light during the verses, and it barely picks up during the chorus. Until the end, anyway, when Bono adds a new coda I hadn't heard before "And they can never tear us apart" he screams 3 or 4 times, it was quite touching.
The acoustic set
Desire - I was quite surprised to see Bono try to pick up lead guitar. It didn't last long, and Edge quickly takes over. Soon Bono is strumming his guitar funny-angry like, and starts singing "La Bamba." Was quite amusing.
Staring At The Sun - I can't decide if I like the live/acoustic version, or the remixes better, because I don't like the album version. Unfortunately this makes me think that they didn't get too creative with their acoustic sets during Elevation, because this is exactly what they played at Slane. Anyhoo, I love the idea of Edge and Bono just standing there, singing, and strumming their guitars together. Even if Bono can't play.
Sunday Bloody Sunday - SBSLite, as sung by Edge. Not so angry, gives a whole new sad twist to the song. I heart this version.
Bullet The Blue Sky
Please - This song is twice as pleady-feely when it's live. I like the bellowing Bono does, and the sound it creates when he whips his head back and forth, pulling his voice away and back to the microphone and away again.
Where The Streets Have No Name - Definitive U2, must be included in every show. LOL During the Joshua Tree tour, and the Elevation tour later, the flowing into this song is kinda slow. It opened the Joshua Tree shows, sometimes, and included a long Larry-intro, followed by Edge joining in crescendo, and eventually Adam then Bono. In Elevation shows it was the same, but it followed some other songs, as it is now being used to end most of the main sets at Vertigo shows. But here, Please kinda ended and dwindle away, and we jumped right into famous-Edge-guitar-6/8-omg how do we get to 4/4-intro. I liked the moment went Bono was singing "higher, HIGHER" and waved to Edge and Adam, and they stepped up on to their speakers.
Here came my lemon. The guys left the stage, and there was a screening of a bellydancer while Lemon (Perfecto Mix) played. Avast, the lemon started to move! It takes quite a while to get out the the b-stage, and I was kinda wondering what the guys would be thinking/saying/doing while it took it's snail trip. I have titled this segment:
Riding The Lemon
Bono: Heh Heh, 'muchos huevos' *grabs crotch* did you guys get it? I'm so bad.
Adam: I chose the wrong time to quit drinking...
Larry: Yah. What's this about? Riding a fecking froot? We should take Harleys! That's what we're doing next tour. I didn't even wanna make this fooking album.
Adam: Don't be a total bint, Lar. I liked the album, just not this goofy lemon gizmo.
Larry: They didn't try to replace you with a fecking bass machine, man. Droom machines, whose brilliant idea was that? I bet it was Bono's.
Bono: C'mon you guys. This is kinda fun, think of all the drama! And look, I have bubbly pants! *squees and shimmies in girlish delight* Besides, it smells lemony fresh in here. *guffaw*
Adam: Not with your sweaty arse in it every night.
Edge: Oh STFU, all of you. Just remember, I get out first, I'm the bloody rock god of this show. Watch the cool cross-thing I do before I move.
Larry: *mutter* 'cause we've never seen that before...
Now, at a certain infamous Scandanavian show, the lemon malfunctioned and didn't open properly in time. So Pla has added her piece:
L: omg get me out!!!!
E: The hatch isn't opening!
A: This is exactly what happened on a space shuttle once!
B: Guys, it's not so bad, I mean, it's building crowd anticipation, it's making us more psyched to get onstage. I'm pretty sure this lemon is getting us closer to God. I mean, can you feel Him?
A,L,E: SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP!
So, after the dismount, the go into an awesome rendition of
Discotheque - it was kinda funny to see the guys all squarshed together on the b-stage with Larry's drum kit. But there was some Edge-Adam interaction, which I enjoy watching (no, that isn't a slash reference). Boom-chas included!
If You Wear That Velvet Dress - another smooth transition, when Edge keeps strumming, and you can't exactly be sure at what point one song ends and the other begins. I don't care much for this song, but it sounded nice live.
With Or Without You - a song that the guys already seem to be growing tired of. The senorita of the night didn't even get to stay on stage for a full minute, poor thing. (Fire the damn Pop Martians if they don't do what you want with the lights.)
Only with a band like U2 do you get TWO encores. But they are entirely planned, so I don't know why they bother to leave the stage, I guess to change, but they should just come right back and start singing again. Plus, a spontaneous encore would be nice.
Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me - Bono gets to channel MacPhisto again, and the matching bubbly jacket makes an appearance. I wonder though, how Bono gets to open this song with "FFFFUUUuuuck THHIIIIIIISSSSssss!" but he has to resort to "mother-Sucking rock and roll" with Mofo. Is it 'cause all the kiddies at the show immediately laid down and went to sleep at their respective bedtimes, and it is now late enough to swear?
Mysterious Ways - did anyone notice how Edge cuts of Bono's introduction of Larry with his guitar solo? Bad selfish Edge. Not a good song without the bellydancer, I don't care if Morleigh's in labor.
One - another dedication to Michael Hutchence.
Wake Up Dead Man - played over the end credits, I shut it off. :-X