Saturday, May 16, 2015

"shards of fantastic wisdom that get called confetti on Twitter..God’s blessings falling from the sky"

video by Skib:

What were they?
  • Pages?
  •     Propaganda?
  •            Manna? 
  •                      relic-souvenirs?
  •                                        iconic icons?

How about  "shards of fantastic wisdom that get called confetti on Twitter..God’s blessings  falling from the sky"?
We'll get to that..

In spite of The Edge falling off the stage...and bouncing back quickly (felix culpa) ...the first night of
the tour,

.             was a wonderful and fascinating opening two nights in Vancouver.

First to be mentioned must surely be..

well, look what Tim Neufeld caught the first night:
photo credit

Remember when Stryper threw Bibles  from the stage into the audience?
Well, U2 are now raining Bible pages from the roof-heavens into the assembly.
I don't know if this interactive  leitourgia has a name yet, but it is
         effective, quietly subversive...
                     even, as  a great column by Andews Smith would have it, "prophetic and apocalyptic":

....U2 respond to the unspeakable by speaking the only language they can conjure: a punk rock prophetic and apocalyptic ecstasy, the spiritual vision quest that must pass through nihilism and terrorism to seek redemption and release..
....U2 have always been more blues than gospel, and it’s from a devotional fascination with the Psalms that Bono derives so much lyrical power. Surely spirit moved in mysterious ways as the band plotted the dramatic arc of the first half setlist, finishing strong with an emotionally potent trio of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” > “Raised By Wolves” > “Until The End Of The World.”
A heartbreaking and slow acoustic “Sunday Bloody Sunday” stops for the audio-video assault that recalls the 1974 Dublin bombings that prompted the words for “Raised By Wolves.” This is one spoiler fans might be grateful to be able to emotionally prepare for—but the reality that requires the realism of this song is an aspect of violent human folly that we’re all still wrestling with.
The biblical language of last suppers and epic betrayals sitting atop crunchy guitars and effects that makes “Until The End Of The World” a live U2 staple after all these years takes on an even deeper effect after what precedes it here. The times we live in today are no less apocalyptic than those that inspired the fiery poems of Blake or the flammable bombast of punk. The world is always ending for someone somewhere. It’s only the first half of this show closing, but suddenly it’s raining paper, like the chaotic debris after the Dublin bombs, yet it gets called confetti on Twitter. Pages ripped from Alice in Wonderland, Dante, and Eugene Peterson’s Psalms. Fans can take these shards of fantastic wisdom with them. From the fallout of terror and ultimate human error, God’s blessings are still falling from the sky.  link
Matt McGee: 
Think we’re wrong to call it “confetti” falling during “End Of The World.” Think that’s supposed to represent post-bombing scene. #U2ieTour
— Matt McGee (@mattmcgee) May 15, 2015
Insightful theologically-minded fans have noted that the last tour's sense of flow, narrative, liturgy seemed a bit  lacking (lackluster?)  But somehow this sharding of manna fits.
Steve Stockman:

 Be sure that a U2concert is not just about choosing the best songs in some appropriate order. It is about a lot more than selling albums, though never underestimate their desire to do that too!
I have never been confident about what U2 songs are about, or at least the fulness of their depth, until I see where they place them and how they perform them in the live setting. The disappointment of the No Line On The Horizon record was also played out in the 360 Tour when they seemed to lose confidence in the songs from the album. For sure that then played into the original intention of the Tour and led to what I would say was the least satisfying overall effect tour in a long time - much as I enjoyed it!
Last night there seems no lack of confidence in Songs Of Innocence. No less than eight (and a wee snippet of California) of the album’s tracks slotted in to the set list. For me the surprise was the absence of Volcano which I felt was only chosen ahead of Lucifer’s Hands on the first disc of the album because of its potential live assault.  
Some observations on the new songs. Kicking off the first set with The Miracle(OF Joey Ramone) makes sense in sound and story. The first set seems to be about the band’s youth and following the song that sent them as “pilgrims on our way” with two tracks from their first LP Out Of Control and I Will Follow with Vertigo in between - Perfect 
Iris and Cedarwood Road together is also obvious. The first is the loss of Bono’smother, which must have taken on even more poignancy a day after Larry buried his father, and the second is about the friend (Guggi) and family (Rowens - “an Old testament Tribe”) where Bono found solace, calm, hope and a Bible that would lead him on a redemption road. Song For Someone about Ali, his wife, whom he met at that same time and who would be his soul mate down that road,  was another incisive next move.
Then it was into their divided island. Raised By Wolves and Sunday Bloody Sunday, still not rebel songs, work together on a few levels. They are about two dark and violent days in Irish history, the former involving their good friend Andy Rowen. A snippet of Psalm 23 in Raised By Wolves is a deft but not surprising spiritual touch. From there into the soul melt of Judas and Until The End Of The World raises the drama. The spiritual is raised too as at this stage it would seem that Psalms rained as confetti over the audience along with pages of Alice In Wonderland, Dante’s Inferno and other literary works..

...Over a year ago, speaking about U2 in America, I was suggesting that its “There is no them/There’s only us” mantra would be significant in future U2 gigs. The song kicks off the second set and gets a reprise right at the end of the last encore I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.
I am as yet not so sure about the juxtapositions of songs in this second half and wonder if this half will see more change as the Tour continues. We will see! Ending with the the hymn-like Still Haven’t Found also makes sense. U2 usually like to end with a spiritual depth charge as their congregation heads out into the night. That they are speaking about reconciliation that they still haven’t found preaches a continuation of the mission!  link

I love how Steve Seamands highlights the trinitarian nature/flow/shape of life, leadership and ministry; and of course it is not uncommon to embed a Trinitarian flow into a worship service.  U2 has done this with "The First Time," as successive verses address the next member of the Trinity.
But consider Beth:
..thrilled at what looks like a much more cohesive, intentional process to the show. Obligated to make the usual trite comment about how astounding Willie Williams is and being unable to wait to witness his brilliance live. Also: Psalms confetti and Dante confetti during UTEOTW? Is someone in the entourage reading Rod Dreher?

It's harder for me to discern, just looking at a setlist, the logic in the second half versus the seamless-looking progression of the first half, but I do have to say I am struck by the first three songs after the intermission...
Invisible, Even Better than the Real Thing, Mysterious Ways: Father, Son, Holy Spirit?  link

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