U2101 – I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight

1394319982I usually like to discuss older tracks in these articles – songs that have appeared on multiple tours, normally with several different arrangements. That said, I also have to follow my must, and today, I can’t get “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” out of my head, so I’m just gonna give in and talk about that. I feel sometimes like U2 fans are one of the most contradictory groups in existence. It’s hard to think of a more dedicated group of die-hards anywhere in the world, but at the same time I often find myself thinking “if you hate the band so much, why are you even here in this forum?” I think that it’s probably part of ill go crazy if i dont crazy if I we don't go crazy tonightthe same thought process that allows big brothers and sisters to make their siblings lives complete hell, but then to stand up and protect the same sibling from other tormentors. “Goodness help anyone who isn’t a U2 fan, but I’m gonna sit here and pick apart and ridicule and hate on any and every thing that the band does.” I say all of that because I find it difficult to discuss anything about No Line on the Horizon (NLOTH) without feeling like I have to defend it and myself. That’s not saying that it’s a perfect record – it certainly isn’t – or that anyone who criticizes it (or the band)  is automatically wrong – they aren’t – but I have observed what I feel to be an excessive amount of disapproval for U2’s 12th LP and its accompanying tour. One of the highlights of that tour was the remixed version of “…Crazy Tonight” that served as one of the centerpieces of the shows on that tour. Many people have written and spoken about their dislike of those performances, but at each of the shows I saw or attended, there wasn’t a single song that whipped the crowd into a frenzy better than “…Crazy Tonight”. It was one of those moments where the band and the concert attendees would forget about seeming “cool”, or “above it all” and would let it all go in a climax of tribal emotion.

28487357By contrast, the album version of the song is one of the most delicate, controlled moments of the whole record, with an intricate, crystalline guitar riff upon which was perched the difficult-to-manage teeter-totter of melody and passion that the band have made a career out of. Let me speak plainly here – the album version of “…Crazy Tonight” is a gorgeous piece of pop-rock craftsmanship that would have translated to the live arena beautifully. If you don’t believe me, check the song’s live debut from the March fourth, 2009, episode of David Letterman. For a long time, I felt that “Magnificent” should have been the album’s important first single, but with some distance and hindsight, I now believe that “…Crazy Tonight” might have been even better, and although I think that “Boots” is a great song, if this song had been released to radio at the start of the album’s publicity campaign, I think that the ensuing months and years might have told a different story, and those haters’d be looking back at NLOTH much more fondly.

600It should therefore come as no surprise that I’d really like to hear “…Crazy Tonight” again on forthcoming tours. I fear, however, that NLOTH might become victim to the same school of thought that prevents U2 from revisiting Rattle & Hum or Pop more often – that is that they’re going to pretend that the album never happened. That’s really a shame, if you ask me, because NLOTH has plenty to recommend it. If that does turn out to be the case, however, at least they can’t ever take away our memories of the the album’s promotional tours.

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Ever since I realized as a kid, while poring over the liner notes of the Bob Marley - Songs of Freedom boxed set, that writing about music was a viable career choice, one of my greatest desires has been to write about U2. The band has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to contribute a little something to the fantastic online community that's been built around the band.

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Home Forums U2101 – I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight

This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Chris 1 year, 9 months ago.

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  • #11056


    I usually like to discuss older tracks in these articles – songs that have appeared on multiple tours, normally with several different arrangements. T
    [See the full post at: U2101 – I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight]

  • #11057


    Although you are correct on some points here, I will have to respectfully disagree about the “remix” version of Crazy. I agree that it was a high point of the 360 tour in regards to getting the crowd going, but it is not even close to being better than the album version, in my opinion. The album version of the song is that classic U2 sound, motivational lyrics and upbeat. It would have translated fine to a live audience. Would it have generated the reaction that the “remix” version did, probably not, but only because it was different, not better. Crazy is one of the few highlights on NLOTH, along with Magnificent.

    You’re spot on in regards to Boots hindering NLOTH sales. If Crazy or Magnificent were released 1st, NLOTH would have fared much better.

    Personally, I believe another NLOTH misstep was not releasing or playing Stand Up Comedy. That too would have helped sales.

    I love change, I embrace it. However, Crazy was one change that missed the mark, in my opinion.
    Love to hear others. Great write up.

  • #11059


    Great Blog-Post ! I love NLOTH, I love the album version of ‘Crazy’, love the live-remix version, I don’t like the actual studio Redanka (or what was it?) remix. It’s the live-performance groove of the band that gets us fired up !!! With this being said, I’m going to re[eat myself and say that Bono is right when saying that the hardest thing that they’re working on right now is to improve the songs in the studio as if they’re already touring for 6 months, hence they’ve found new melodic arrangements and lyrics in the new songs, stuff that they didn’t see before…. !

  • #11066


    I love what you share about fans that are always dogging on the band. Go listen to something else then! I love NLOTH a LOT. The first 5 tracks are gold (except maybe Magnificent, good but doesn’t speak to me like the others). I was not a fan of the remix of ‘Crazy’ and was sad when they didn’t play the album version in Chicago at the first US show. There are some live versions of the original version online from when they played it in Europe, though, so you can enjoy those.

    As far as NLOTH’s commercial success, for the few years after its release it was actually held up as a huge success for sales for Rock, but U2 itself always seemed down about it because it didn’t have a ‘Beautiful Day’ or a ‘Vertigo.’ And what I really wished they would’ve done is release ‘Moment of Surrender’ as the first single. It is really the heart of the album and one of their all-time greatest masterpieces for songwriting. It is an amazing song and there is a reason it closed every show for the 360 tour. Brian Eno suggested on the video about the recording of that song (and if you haven’t watched it please do it NOW!) that he feels that being in their place of authority and power as such a big band it would’ve been a bold statement to release that as the first single. (and now look at me dogging on U2 🙂

  • #11083


    Yeah man ! Some fine words from you Eric ! NLoTH is a priceless gem ! They should’ve listened to Eno…I bought 5 or 6 copies of the album …two for me (normal and box set) and some to give away !

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