Some of you may have caught U2's speeches/performances as they were inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. If so, I'd love to hear your reactions.
Just as a handy guide to my take on the men and the music, I mostly love U2, think "Atomic Bomb" is very good and occasionally great, think The Edge is an unsung guitar hero, and am (oh, how to put this nicely) ambivalent on Bono. All of those things were in evidence at the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame ceremony.
Bruce Springsteen's induction speech was wonderful -- poetic, heartfelt, and funny. I thought the Edge, Adam, and Larry acquitted themselves well in their speeches, too.
Bono is Bono. He's the perfect frontman, has wonderful pipes, and writes great songs. I'm just not sure I like him as a human being. His speech was, by turns, rambling and incoherent, self-serving, maudlin, rambling, self-serving, pompous, mean-spirited, and self-serving. And did I mention that he really likes himself? I know there's nothing new here, nothing that hasn't been pointed out a thousand times before. Maybe arrogance comes with the territory, and that you can't be the lead singer/songwriter/spokesperson for the Biggest Band in the World without a supersized ego. I'm sure the temptations and challenges are great. But sometimes I just want to slap the guy silly, shake him by the shoulders and tell him that it's okay to be normal, that sometimes it's fine just to be humble and thankful, and that there's no need for the defiant clenched jaw and the Big Pronouncements. But that wouldn't be Bono, I suppose. As I said, I'm ambivalent.
The songs? On the VH1 special, they were "'Til the End of the World," a snippet from "Pride (In the Name of Love)," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (with Springsteen sharing the vocals) and "Vertigo." It was good to great stuff, with the Edge playing that magnificent guitar that somehow manages to be both raw and ethereal, and Bono mostly hitting the high notes. I'm happy for the band. It's certainly a well-deserved honor. But, as has been the case for a long time now, I like them more when they sing than when they talk.