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Knights of the Vine RUSSIA


U2: View From Above
By Maria Barleben

What made U2 change their minds and agree to play a concert in Russia remains unknown, but a long-time dream of local promoters and spectators has come true. Romantics say Bono’s decision to shut his eyes to previous ideological barriers, and realists say that the band is short of earnings from CD sales. Anyway, the tour that supports U2’s twelfth studio album has been extended, and cities that missed out on the 2009 show, such as Moscow are on the list.

The show is called 360 Degree Tour, after the huge stage structure. It looks like a spaceship in the centre of venues where the band have played. The four Irishmen, having landed at the audience’s planet cross a space-bridge into the arena. The visual part of the show was originally based on making fun of entertainment media institutional formats and Reality TV’s ambiguities. Now they have become institution in their own right.

One of Ireland’s best-known bands, U2 became more than a rock band a long time ago. In a world that demands more than just social position for selfrespect, Bono, the group’s soloist has become synonymous with bitter struggles for truth and legal issues, including those concerning the environment and political borders. These activities have provoked accusations of being naïve and acting solely for publicity. However, Bono has also been credited with sincerity and attempts to change the world for the better. The position of those who strive for the betterment of the poor is closer to the latter.

The Luzhniki stadium program includes hits such as: I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Desire, Bad, Until the End of the World, Angel of Harlem, The Unforgettable Fire, Ultraviolet (Light My Way), New Year’s Day, Stay (Faraway, So Close), Sunday Bloody Sunday, Pride (In the Name of Love), Where the Streets Have No Name, and Mysterious Ways. Some will remind you of attracted you to U2, other songs are more recent favourites: Walk On, Electrical Storm, Beautiful Day, City of Blinding Lights, If God Will Send His Angels, In a Little While, Elevation, Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own. New numbers include: Breathe, No Line on the Horizon, Get on Your Boots, Magnificent, I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight, Unknown Caller, Moment of Surrender.

One of the 360 Degree Tour shows, in Californian, was streamed live over You‑ Tube, and became the most-watched live video in the site’s history

The band is used to such statistics, and in this they live up to their name: U2, which was the name of a spy plane whose main advantage was the height that it reached. It is not the number of people that is the essence of their concerts: it is the experience itself of viewing life, the world, ourselves, from a great height

With special thanks to Sergey Stepanov

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