Mick Jagger on why U2 were “not really a stadium act”

The wonderful thing about U2 is that they are perhaps the most magnetic act to have ever graced the music landscape. Everything is a decision. Although Bono and his bandmates are fully aware of their gimmicky reputation, they find it just as much fun to go undercover on everyone’s iTunes one day in 2014.

U2 is as controversial as it gets in contemporary rock music, yet they are still incredibly legendary. Some people find it difficult to be referred to as genre legends; Liam Gallagher is one example of this.

The former Oasis leader told Loudwire. “They pass themselves as a rock ‘n’ roll band, but what the? Come on, man, I’ve never seen f***** Bono, “I mean, I’ve never seen any of them do anything remotely rock ‘n’ roll.”

Even people who are musically and personally closest to the band appear to have something to say. For example, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones has previously worked with Bono and even refers to him as a friend:

“I’ve known Bono since I can’t remember,” he said. “We’ve always had singsongs…. When I’d done ‘Joy’– I hadn’t finished all the vocals – I thought it would be great to do with him. U2 were playing in Cologne, so I took my little recording system to his hotel room, and we did it.”

He added, “I love Bono, and I like the band and the records, But having said all that, I don’t think they really performed as large as I thought they should. You have to transcend the production. OK, if you’re Bono, you don’t want to be like me, running up and down the fucking thing all the time. But it’s one way to get people’s attention, you know?”

“There he is! It’s him in yellow! Listen: it’s theater; it’s large; it’s entertainment. I think it’s possible that U2 are not really a stadium act – in their hearts. They always seem to be apologising. I never want to apologise for spending $10 million, say, on the Steel Wheels tour…”

Jagger claims that U2’s entertainment value and stage presence are a tad lacking. “We were always out there with a good show for market price,” Jagger explains, discussing the Stones’ live act. “And, really, I always try and get out there and make sure that we’re keeping their attention, working the audience, whether you’re in a club or a theatre or a stadium. You can’t just stroll through it. I wish you could, sometimes – when it’s the second night in wherever, it’s 41 degrees, and it’s raining. But you really have to push it.”

Along with the consensus that U2 has fallen victim to the commercialization of music over the years, decisions such as automatically downloading Songs Of Innocence onto peoples’ iPhones have felt like a necessary indicator of musical value, even though the band has become a cool band to dislike, a la Coldplay. Still, a lot of their songs are still considered rock music classics, which makes them one of the largest bands nowadays.




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