|U2 - Various Dates: 2000-2009 |
2005-03-14: Waldorf - Astoria Hotel, New York - New York
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2005-03-16 - Powerful performance by U2 powers rock hall induction bash by
NEW YORK – U2's Vertigo/2005 world concert tour doesn't kick off until March 28 at the San Diego Sports Arena, but the legendary Irish rock band used its Monday night induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to offer a heady four-song preview of what's in store.back
Fans will be able to catch some of the highlights when VH1 airs an edited version of the star-studded induction ceremony, which clocked in at four hours but will be edited down to half that length for its telecast, Saturday at 9 p.m.
The after-midnight triumph of U2 was a fitting climax to the proceedings, which also saw the induction of the Pretenders, blues great Buddy Guy, veteran R&B vocal group the O'Jays and soul crooner Percy Sledge. Also on hand to perform one song each were two graying rock 'n' roll pioneers, Bo Diddley and Jerry Lee Lewis, along with Neil Young (who inducted the Pretenders and then performed with the group), and B.B. King and Eric Clapton (who inducted and then performed with Guy).
Lead singer Chrissie Hynde and drummer Martin Chambers, the only survivors of the Pretenders' original four-piece lineup, sniped at each other good-naturedly. They then ripped into raw, raucous versions of "Precious," "Message of Love" and "My City Was Gone" (which featured wonderfully primal guitar work by Young).
Guy kept his remarks brief, but spoke volumes with his fiery singing and playing on "Damn Right, I've Got the Blues" and "Let Me Love You, Baby," the latter of which teamed him with King and Clapton for some searing guitar exchanges. ("Buddy was for me what Elvis probably was for other people," Clapton said during his heartfelt induction speech.)
But it was U2 who accounted for the evening's most transcendent moments, both in music and words. The four-man band temporarily turned the plush ballroom in Manhattan's elegant Waldorf Astoria Hotel into a sweaty rock concert hall with its impassioned versions of the classic "Pride (In the Name of Love)" and the overlooked "Until the End of the World." The 1,200-strong audience of tuxedoed men and women in designer gowns, which included Jon Bon Jovi and actors Richard Gere and Catherine Zeta-Jones, was on its feet and shaking all over.
The band from Dublin was memorably inducted by Bruce Springsteen, who later traded vocals with Bono on an especially rousing version of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (from U2's landmark 1987 album, "The Joshua Tree"). The start of the "Vertigo" tour is still two weeks away, but U2's members performed with enough velocity and infectious verve to suggest their cross-country concert trek was already well under way.
The Boss took 16 minutes to deliver his induction, saluting U2 in a speech that was poignant and playful, wise and witty. He perfectly captured the band's essence with insight and eloquence, although – based on previous induction telecasts – it's unlikely VH1 viewers will hear much of his speech.
Springsteen began by quoting the numerically challenged count-off that Bono uses at the start of U2's recent single, "Vertigo," which the band played with fervor at the climactic conclusion of its performance Monday.
"Uno, dos, tres, catorce!" a grining Springsteen said. "That translates as one, two, three, fourteen! That is the correct math for a rock 'n' roll band. For art, love and rock 'n' roll, the whole had better equal much more than the sum of its parts, or else you're just rubbing two sticks together in search of a fire."
He then recalled how he and Pete Townshend, the leader of The Who, first heard U2 together at a London club in the early 1980s, adding only partly in jest: "We were always wanting to catch a whiff of those about to unseat us."
After quipping that Bono "single-handedly pioneered the Irish mullet," Springsteen grew more serious about U2. "They're both a step forward and direct descendants of bands who thought they could shake up the world. This was a band that wanted to lay claim not only to this world, but the next one, too," he said. "They're a real band. I believe they actually practice some form of democracy. (That's) toxic poison in a band setting! In Iraq, yes; in rock, no."
After hailing U2's ability to bring spiritual fervor and commitment to its music, Springsteen noted: "It is (in) the constant questioning in Bono's voice where the band stakes its claim to humanity. Bono's voice often sounds like it's shouting, not from over the band, but from deep within it: 'Here we are, Lord.' "
U2's singer had a warm retort for Springsteen: "Born in the U.S.A., my ass. That man was born on the north side of Dublin! Irish, his mother was Irish. (He has) the poetry, the gift of the gab, isn't it obvious?"
Bono's acceptance speech, which lasted a comparatively brief nine minutes, was just as memorable, particularly when he offered heartfelt tributes to his three bandmates, guitarist Dave "The Edge" Evans, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr., who each delivered thoughtful speeches of their own.
U2's singer also sounded a note of alarm about the current state of pop music, if not the aesthetic quality of potential future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame candidates, saying: "I'd like the music business to look at itself and ask some hard questions. Because there would be no U2 the way things are right now."
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