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U2 - 40 Years on Stage

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Publish date: 13-06-2017

The Dublin based Irish band, U2 are in every sense one of the most emblematic and consistent shapers of the global showbiz over the last four odd decades. So entrenched and indelible is their long-standing mark in the industry, that most commentators compare them to a perfect storm, stretching far and wide and showing no signs of abating any time soon. Rising from virtually unknown teenagers and growing into an establishment that has held airwaves hostage and torn stages apart, U2 are deservedly in a premier golden platinum league of their own. Passion, positioning, strategic social engineering, originality, out of this world creativity, tenacity, relevance, energy, unrelenting pioneering spirit – everything and nothing comes close describing or understanding this group, that has thrived by smashing records and rewriting history in their image and likeness.

Anyone will be forgiven for wondering what makes a band, formed in 1976 by a group of teenagers at Mount Temple Comprehensive School, go on to achieve rare feats that have immortalized them in history as legends of many generations. Perhaps the best way to understand this larger than life phenomenon of a band is to take a review of the personalities that form it – the band members. Bono, the face of the band, is the lead singer, vocalist, and guitarist. Rocking the keyboard while also appearing as guitarist and back up vocalist, is the Edge. On the drums is Larry Mullen, while bass guitarist Adam Clayton completes this infinitely talented fantastic four. 

Looking back at the long and winding road to success, there is no doubt that U2 band members have indeed come a long and uncharted way. Although earliest U2 songs were originally rooted in post punk, the band diversified constantly and built a global base of loyal enthusiasts by incorporating other genres. With a unique quality and feel of music that not only entertained, but also portended an intimate, spiritual, and sometimes weird gothic emotional sway, the group has had something for everyone in a subtle way that its mammoth legacy just can’t be conclusively categorized. With this approach, U2 songs have had an unprecendented commercial success that has wildly exceeded all expectations, aggressively exploiting endless financial rewards.

U2 songs have evolved over time to embrace a contradictory, nearly confusing touch that masterfully broke the glass ceiling of what conventional rock music was known to be. Even critics have eventually had to appreciate bands like U2 for their pioneering spirit in perfectly fusing lyrical ingenuity, spiritual dilemma, and socio- political packaging to music, thereby expanding the boundaries of rock music to limitless proportions. This aspect of music was depicted in much earlier U2 best album War, which went gold in the UK, just a few years after signing for Island Records. In their earlier career, the band has established itself as a success with tours rather than record sales. U2 tours were ground-breaking phenomena with thousands of their fans thronging the clubs. This, however, instantly changed in 1987, when The Joshua Tree was released, arguably the best U2 album yet at the time.

The band went through a relatively flat period and had to yet again seek inspiration in the depths of their inventiveness to refresh their approach to music, both lyrically and regarding their performance. The artistic shift was evidenced in what turned out to be the best U2 album of the early 90’s, Achtung Baby, with a harmonious blend of industrial, dance, and alternative rock, that tacitly incorporated an element of humor, irony, and self- loathing in its overall feel, taste, and general packaging. Consequently, the Zoo TV tour, that popularized the album, was noted for an obvious difference, with puzzled commentators describing it and the U2 band members as rather light note.

U2 songs reestablished as ultimate financial attractions in the turn of the century with sweeping endorsements and deals, with hits like All That You Can't Leave Behind and later How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, setting them up for epic unparalleled global tidings. But it was not until the period between 2009 and 2011 that all doubters acknowledged the all along undeniable fact that there will be few bands like U2, if ever at all, and the debate was eventually put to rest. The U2 360° Tour went into history books as the highest attended, highest mentioned and overall highest grossing tour in human history.

If words don’t comprehensively underpin the epitome of human achievement and what it takes to be the very best at the peak of the summit of world entertainment, try these facts and figures:

Facts and figures about U2 band

  • U2 have won a total of 22 Grammies; head, shoulders, knees and toes above any other band let alone in the rock and roll genre.
  • They were inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame within a year of eligibility.
  • The group is considered one of the greatest campaigners of human rights, contributing immensely in philanthropy and holding hundreds of concerts for charity.
  • Through a considerable part of the 90’s U2 were officially the largest export from Ireland.
  • Despite holding records for the largest concert crowd attendances in history, one of their first concerts out of Ireland is on record to have attracted a total crowd of 9 people. 
  • After the Beatles, the Band, and Who, U2 were just the fourth crowd to ever appear on the cover of the Times Magazine.
  • The band had never performed Red Hill Mining Town from their globally acclaimed album The Joshua Tree Album live ever.
  • Their song Beautiful Day was used as the official song for Team Germany at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. 
  • U2 have sold way over 170 million records worldwide.
  • They feature at number 22 in the Rolling Stone top 100 greatest artists of all time. 
  • In the UK, U2 single With or Without You is the most requested song at funerals.
  • All members of the band appeared on postage stamps at some point in 2000 in Ireland.
  • U2 lead singer, Bono was named the Times Magazine person of the year in 2007 alongside Bill and Melinda Gates.
  • Before finally settling on U2 as the band name, they were initially called Feedback and the Hype.
  • U2 band member are staunchly religious and have had their Christian faith largely influence their work.

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