First Impressions of U2 on The Tonight Show

The inaugural episode of Jimmy Fallon’s tenure as host of the Tonight Show just aired, and it included an extremely satisfying chunk of U2 footage. A pre-recorded live rendition of Invisible from 70 stories up, on the NBC headquarters building came early in the episode, followed by, later in the show, an entertaining interview with the whole band and a brilliant live acoustic performance of Ordinary Love.

Thanks to twitter user damo ‏@damodamousa for this pic of the band performing Invisible
Thanks to twitter user damo ‏@damodamousa for this pic of the band performing Invisible

Wow. Where to start. That was incredible. First thoughts are these: I think that of the two songs, I do prefer Invisible on the whole, but that performance of Ordinary Love blew me away. I never get tired of watching the band, especially Bono, (he is the front man, after all) work a room. Observing Jimmy Fallon and Will Smith during that performance was neat. Even these men, who’ve had the most beautiful women in the world thrown at them, who’ve tasted the finest wines and best cheeses, are not above being moved by these titans of rock n roll. I’m not a fan of jam music, per se, but, like Bad, when a good groove like that gets flowing, you never want it to end. As Bono and Edge got to their feet, and the camera panned back, did you see the crowd get to their feet? No other band can sweep people together in the feeling of a song better than U2. Just…exhilarating. Invisible was great too. It was energetic and powerful, and the additional instrumentation and visuals provided by the marching band were great touches. I particularly thought the synchronized drumming was dynamic, and the song translated well to the live setting. It’ll be dynamite on tour, especially that chant-along coda, “there is no them”.

Thanks to twitter-user CJ Fogler ‏@cjzero for this pic
Thanks to twitter-user CJ Fogler ‏@cjzero for this pic

I was very pleased with the interview as well. Particularly gratifying were Mr Fallon’s appreciation of Bono’s oratory skills, and the ease with which  he and the band seemed to get along. I’m always mystified when people talk about the band lacking a sense of humor or being too serious, as all four men strike me as being overtly charming, with well developed senses of humor and the familiar jocularity that develops with long friendships. One concern though…it hadn’t struck me before, and maybe it should since Larry spends the entire Invisible video on his feet, but now, after seeing Larry’s refusal to sit on that comfy looking couch and opting instead to perch on it’s back, I’m wondering if his back problems have retuned. It could just as likely be nothing, so that’s the assumption I’m going with until we hear otherwise. If I ignore a problem, or pretend it’s not there, it doesn’t exist, right? All in all, though…wow. A simply incredible return for the World’s Biggest Band, and a powerful reminder of why I love them.

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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.