I'm looking forward to seeing U2 on Letterman this week. Of course, I don't have TV to watch the show so, I'm hoping that I can see the footage on You Tube or on the CBS site. We'll see if I get lucky. Someone will surely post it. Sure there are critics:
"If U2 truly wanted to make a dent, truly wanted to do something
special, they would have played five nights a week on HULU! There
should be some kind of Web play."
But when I got to thinking about the late night options available to U2, Letterman is really the only the choice in my book. And the fact that his show is in the old Ed Sullivan Theater (where the Beatles played!), and as a band what could be cooler and more exciting than spending 5 nights playing on that stage? I don't think they are doing this so much as a marketing move, as they are because it just sounds like fun. (Or is their plan to mimic the Beatles: performing impromptu on top of a British Landmark, then playing in the Sullivan theater?)
I'm sure there is a marketing angle to it, but not to the extent of what this guy says on his blog. I mean, really, U2 can do whatever they want...and I bet this option sounded like fun to them and surely doesn't take as much work to make happen as doing something on HULU. I look at this video and think that U2 could have picked a much bigger (meaning: more room for the band, and camera crew) building to play off of in London, but instead chose to go with the BBC option (it looks more like a balcony than a rooftop to me). I'm sure this was more fun than work for them, though it certainly took some work (the helicopter shots are beautiful) and serious planning to pull it off.
So as I was trolling around the web last night finding out more info about U2 on Letterman, I found this cool little snippet of an article on the U2.com site:
'U2's chemistry relies on their empathy and respect for each other, but
also on something intrinsic to Irish society - the attempt to keep
everyone included. They just don't let things fall apart. So if
somebody starts to feel they're not part of the process they are
quickly brought back in. U2 have that tribal attitude: if you get ill
it's not just your problem, it's the problem of the entire tribe. They
do it not simply out of generosity but because that's how you get a
good working community.'
And isn't community what it's all about? I'd love to hear of that happening more in the music business. When I was in Nashville, it always seemed that most band related decisions were made by lawyers and accountants who were always looking at the bottom line, with nary a thought about building a sustainable community which would continue to grow and prosper with time.
The rest of the article is a great read as well:
The Telegraph: "So what happens, I wonder, when rivals to The Biggest Band in the World decide they
want some of the Eno magic? Was it seen by U2 as a defection when he worked with
Eno: "I realised it could have been, but there was no friction on either
side. First of all they know each other. Bono said he thought it was a good idea. (note: Here is the part I like, emphasis added by me)
But I felt sensitive that in one computer I had all the work I was doing on Coldplay
and all the work I was doing on U2 and I had to mentally keep them apart."