My wife said something to me earlier tonight that really got me thinking. She said that U2 “put it all on the line, every time.” I think that’s true, and it made me think of something similar that Bono once said about the band’s attitude toward playing live, which is that every night is like the Super Bowl. (I’m paraphrasing) I always took that to mean that there was no such thing in the U2 world as a performance or a gig that wasn’t a big deal, and the band’s shows support that belief. Out of all the hundreds – heck, maybe thousands – of hours I’ve spent watching U2 perform, whether live in person or on a video or DVD that was recorded by someone else, I’ve never once seen them phone it in. Sure, sometimes Bono’s voice is better or worse than others. Sure, Edge or Adam hit bum notes now and then. Maybe Larry occasionally flubs the timing of a particular song, but I honestly believe that no performance by U2, even the most fault-riddled one you can think of, has went astray because it lacked heart. I’ve long known this to be true about the day-to-day chore of touring around the world, but I never really thought before about how the same principles pertain to recording music in a studio. After thinking about it, I decided that I have to agree with my wife – U2 never half-ass anything. What a way to live! I know that being a rock star is exciting and glamorous and so it seems easier to give it your all on a daily basis, but if you don’t think that our guys hit ruts or get bored you’re kidding yourself. What if we could make that same idea of giving everything we do 110% percent of our attention and energy every day – how much different would our relationships, our jobs, our lives, and our world be? I think that the trick is to make everything have a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is just to make someone else’s life a little easier, but isn’t that a worthy goal? I love U2 for giving everything they do their all and making me realize how different my life could be if I lived the same way.
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