There seem to be two types of U2 songs–those that sound better in the studio, and those that work best in a live setting. I believe that “The Blackout,” the promo video for which is today’s topic, falls firmly into the latter category. It seems that the members of the band U2 agree with me because they wisely chose a live performance to promote the song, and the then-upcoming album Songs of Experience. To anyone who thinks that the band is washed up or that their time in the sun is done, I recommend a viewing of this video. Let me tell you, the boys are on fire in this video. From the very first seconds of action there is a sense of urgency and excitement that, in my lifetime, I have only ever experienced at a U2 concert. The audience at this event must have sensed that they were experiencing something special, as well, because they are feeding off of the band’s energy like their lives depended on it, hands raised in the air, whistling and clapping.
If you couldn’t tell, I am a big fan of this video. The live sound of the drums, the mixture of black and white footage with night-vision (that footage with a greenish hue), Adam’s unique style of performing and holding down his side of the stage, and the gravity of Edge’s mastery of his instrument all combine to make this video a real winner in my opinion. Then, we have Bono. The front-man who refuses to be ignored. Who for 40-something years now has been doing whatever it takes to bridge the gap between performer and audience. I think sometimes that we U2 fans get spoiled and we forget what a treasure Bono is because we’ve seen him do his thing so consistently and for so long. The footage in this video where Bono is being held aloft by the audience members while he sings always gives me goose-bumps. There’s a multitude of reasons that I think that U2 is the greatest band of all time, but this type of behavior is at or near the top of that list. “The Blackout” is a fantastic live song and this intimate performance in a small venue does a bang-up job of capturing the energy and enthusiasm of the song, the band, and the audience.
I hear and read a lot of comments from people who didn’t like Songs of Experience. For me, it is the best thing U2 has done in this millennium, and that experience started the day this video was released in late August of 2017. I was beside myself when this video launched, and I still think that it is a superlative introduction to the new album.
I hope that those of you who read my weekly articles will take a moment to comment below and tell me what you love or hate about this video for “The Blackout.” Also, check back next week for my commentary on one of the videos for “You’re the Best Thing About Me.”
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