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December 31st, 2006

Song Of The Day @ 05:51 am

canadanne:
I was so busy working on the award presentations, I almost forgot to post this!

This weekend's SOTD was chosen on a bit of a whim...

With Or Without You
from the PopMart Live From Mexico City video

Now, this is neither my favourite version of WOWY (ZooTV Live From Sydney) nor the popular choice (Rattle & Hum)... but there's just something about it. When I was writing about Pop Muzik the other week and I noticed that the whole show seemed to be up on YouTube, I had a particular urge to watch this song, which is more touching than ever at this time of year. What I like about this performance is that it starts out rather flawed and unremarkable, but somehow the U2 magic takes over, and it builds up into something really special.


I prefer watching this on proper VHS (preferably in the dark), but here's the YouTube clip for those of you who don't have the video / can't be bothered to get it out:

(Sorry about the handful of Japanese(?) subtitles on this version - hopefully they're not too distracting.)

With Or Without You is the closing song of the first encore. It's preceded by If You Wear That Velvet Dress, during which Bono pulls a girl from the audience onstage with him - it's quite sweet how she looks prepared to just give him a brief hug and then leave again, but he clings onto her really tightly for ages and she can't seem to believe her luck. :)  He's still holding her as that classic throbbing bassline from WOWY kicks in, although she's sent on her merry way soon afterwards. ;p  It gets things off to a soothing, romantic start, anyway.

Bono sings the first few lines in a very soft voice, almost just murmuring them, and it's not long before you start to worry that he's going to struggle with this song. The second verse proceeds awkwardly, as Bono makes the mistake of visiting some fans in the front row, only to become so swallowed up by the frenzy of hands that you can't actually hear him sing!  He manages to escape in time for the next chorus lines, but instead of starting to build up some vocal momentum, he's still just quietly squeaking away as if he's going to sing the whole song like that. Hmm...

The first bit I really like is the way Bono breaks from the usual melody to sing "You-got-me-with-nothing-to-win-and, you got me with, nothing left to lose"... that's a nice touch. His voice revealingly cracks on the next line, though, and even as he's building up towards the big "Ohhh oh oh oh" part, he seems wary of stretching himself too hard and there's still no real passion. At this point it's becoming painful to watch him croaking his way through a song that he once threw himself into so powerfully... the bit where he takes a couple of attempts to coax out that fragile falsetto is probably the saddest moment of all, and it even seems to show on Bono's face.

That's when the song undergoes a subtle but significant transformation.

As Edge's reassuring guitar bursts in, there's a lovely swooping camera shot across the audience, and Bono makes a request: "Turn the lights... can you turn the lights right off for me? Turn the lights... OFF. Lights off!" And the blue spotlights are duly extinguished, plunging the entire stadium into the pitch black of the night. It's times like this when I really miss David Mallet's simple, elegant directing style, because he did a magnificent job with both of the 90s tour videos - he manages to capture the glorious grandness of it all without sacrificing the sense of intimacy, and he makes it seem effortless. This part of the PopMart video is one of my favourite examples, as the camera soars over this unbelievably vast sea of people, now only visible as thousands of tiny orange lights flickering against the darkness... Bono calls out "Happy Christmas!" (the video was filmed in December), and there's just something utterly magical about it, with the whole stadium kind of lit up like a Christmas tree. Out of nowhere, that moment always brings a sudden lump to my throat... it's like the real heart of the show begins to shine through, smashing its way out from beneath all the ridiculous props and vocal difficulties and general ZooTV inferiority complex. And that emotion keeps on building as Bono continues: "Mexico City... oh yeah... oh yeah... oh yeah!  Come on!  COME ON!" - at which point the song *finally* explodes into life and my heart virtually explodes with joy. Beautiful, just beautiful.

There's another, properly wonderful "Ohhh oh oh oh" which the audience ecstatically takes over, and by the time Bono draws the song to a close (the final lines sound almost like a blissful sigh), it feels like it's been a real epic. The singer holds his arms up triumphantly, then seems to unconsciously put a hand against his heart for a moment, as if a little overwhelmed by the shared love they've all just experienced. He yells out to the crowd a couple of times, gives Larry a high-five, and hugs The Edge. I think Bono, too, understands just how special that was.

Thanking the crew of PopMartians and giving the crowd a "We are not worthy!" salute, Bono follows his bandmates off into the night, and for over a minute we're left with just some eerie lighting and the screams of enraptured U2 fans.
And then, you get this..... }:D


LYRICS

See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I wait... outside

Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
And I'm waiting for you

With or without you
With or without you

Through the storm we reach the shore
You give it all, but I want more
And I'm waiting for you

With or without you
With or without you
I can't live
With or without you
Yeah, you

And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give
And you give
And you give yourself away

My hands are tied, my body is bruised
You got me with nothing to win and
You got me with nothing left to lose

And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give
And you give
And you give yourself away

With or without you
With or without you
Can't live
With or without you

Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh...

With or without you
With or without you
I can't live
With or without you
With or without you


(Turn the lights...
Can you turn the lights right off for me?
Turn the lights... off!
Lights off!)

(Happy Christmas!
Mexico City...
Oh yeah...
Oh yeah...
Oh yeah...
Come on!
Come on!)

Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh...

With or without you
With or without you
I can't live... live
With or without you
With or without... you



There's a YouTube video behind that cut tag, if you were too lazy to click on it. :p  I could also rip an MP3 from Hasta La Vista Baby if anyone really wants one.
 
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Comments

 
[User Picture Icon]
From:sapphires13
Date:December 31st, 2006 06:45 am (UTC)
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<3333 I love that girl, I love the way he's clinging to her **jealous** I remember the first time I watched the PopMart video, the whole Bono-with-short-hair thing was still new to me, and thrilled me so much (it still does ;P) and when all those lucky people at the front of the audience wrapped their arms around his head, I was like "omg, they're touching his short hair!" I also love the girl in the crowd near the end, visibly screaming "BONO! BONO!" <333
I don't think any live WOWY could beat the ZooTV Sydney WOWY, but this is definitely a special performance.
[User Picture Icon]
From:canadanne
Date:December 31st, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC)
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I love the girl up on someone's shoulders during Discotheque, pumping her arm and belting out "DIS-CO-THEQUE!". She rocks. :D
[User Picture Icon]
From:sapphires13
Date:December 31st, 2006 09:07 pm (UTC)
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She rocks too! The whole crowd is great. But I like how when the lemon comes rolling out to the B-stage, they're all standing there and staring like "WTF is this?!" XD

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