Saturday, June 25, 2011

Glastonbury 2011: View from the sofa - U2

Strange scheduling on the BBC, who split U2's set across BBC Two and Four. Presumably the thinking here was that U2 were too big not to get live space on BBC Two, but not so big that Jeremy Paxman was going to make way for them. Or maybe the idea of jumping across channels midway was to offer a set-up for an easy I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - Is BBC Four Further Up The EPG Than SkyLivingIt+1? gag.

I imagine if you like U2 then you would have been happy with the set they played. After all, if you still like U2 in 2011, you're not going to be overly worried about the actual quality, are you?

Kudos, by the way, to @hungoverdrawn for spotting the autocue.

Let's focus instead on the post-set interview, where the band shuffled in to be grilled by Jo Whiley and Zane Lowe.

Jo, naturally, offered some soft questions delivered in a gentle fashion; Zane also had soft questions, but shouted them into Bono's face. It wasn't so much good cop, bad cop as good cop, good cop (but one with personal space issues).

You wouldn't have expected a roasting, but it seemed slightly odd that neither Jo nor Zane had any curiosity about the protests about U2's tax arrangements that had been focused on their Glastonbury appearance. Instead, Jo trilled about how she loved the way the rain had fallen on Bono's glasses.

Larry Mullen did appear for a long while to have been stuffed; when, eventually, he was brought into the conversation he was at least refreshing. While Bono had bored on about how spiritual everything was, and how brave they'd all been, and that the crowd had made flags specifically for U2, Mullen just grumped. He complained about how wet it all was, and how far away the audience had been from the stage. Neither Zane or Jo made much effort to engage him after that, but I warmed a little bit more to Larry last night.

He'd apparently missed the briefing that U2 playing the festival was to be treated as something akin to Larry Olivier doing a walk-on in Coronation Street, and just grumbled a bit about it. It was like suddenly finding a piece of honest gristle in a circle-jerk soup.

[Part of Glastonbury 2011 full coverage]


James said...

For me, the most irritating thing about that interview was Bono's repeated pointing-out of all the frightfully clever and terribly poignant things he'd done during the set (just a few seconds after we'd seen it for ourselves). "I say, did you notice how I sang a bit of a Primal Scream tune towards the end of that song? Because they were playing tonight as well, you see! And did you hear me sing a bit of Jerusalem? And you understand how that's quite significant, yes?"

It was like a passive-aggressive housemate leaving an unwashed spatula in the sink for a week and then, when everyone else ignores it, harrumphing "HAVE YOU NOTICED HOW THAT SPATULA'S BEEN THERE FOR A WEEK? AND DO YOU KNOW WHY I LEFT IT THERE? BECAUSE I WASN'T THE ONE WHO USED IT"

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