Tuesday, July 19, 2011

when Bono "smiles ever so slighty," something's up

Image from this link
I love that someone who is "not a religious person," picked up on what has long been one of my favorite U2 moments where Bono seems to let God take over prophetically (moments where you can give a minute and second mark on a YouTube U2 clip, and watch God about to show up/off...see, for just one  of many examples on this blog, "Rabbi Chazat Bono is hungry, so he pulls a nigun")

I'm not a religious person but sometimes a song -- or a single performance -- will make me want to believe. Not in an abstract, "religious experience" kind of way. No, I'm talking, "throw out the old worldview and embrace a new set of truths."

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, George Clooney and producer Joel Gallen quickly organized a benefit concert to raise money for the victims of the attacks and their families. Airing Sept. 21, 2001, America: A Tribute To Heroes featured performances by a broad range of artists while actors and other notables offered short, spoken messages. It was, of course, a solemn affair, with no applause and no commercial interruptions.

U2 appeared early in the broadcast, joining the event from a soundstage in London, where it was already well past midnight. Looking bleary-eyed and perhaps a bit shell-shocked, they opened with a verse of "Peace On Earth" and then launched into a blistering performance of "Walk On," with Eurythmics' Dave Stewart providing additional guitar and backing vocals.

The performance ached with a sense of loss, but something happened with the "leave it behind" coda and the "Hallelujah" chorus. In this YouTube video, at about the 4:33 mark Bono smiles ever so slightly, as if some kind of weight has been lifted. A moment later he sings a new, improvised line against the stirring choruses of "Hallelujah" from Edge and Stewart, joined now by Natalie Imbruglia, Morleigh Steinberg and another singer. "I'll see you when I get home," he cries, shaking off all the sorrow and anguish of the rest of the song... -Gary Boas, continued.

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