Still Haven’t Found What You’re Looking For? A Primer on All Things U2

photograph of the band U2

U2 is coming to Winnipeg on May 29, 2011.

This is only the second time these four Dubliners have put on a concert here (the last visit being in 1997 on their Popmart tour). Whether you’re a super-fan or a casual admirer, the Winnipeg Public Library can help you get ready for the big night.

U2: 360 Degrees at the Rose Bowl

"U2: 360 Degrees at the Rosebowl" cover

If you want to get an idea of the spectacle you’re about to see, why not borrow this DVD? This  concert film was recorded in the fall of 2009 with the same stage setup as we’ll see in Winnipeg. It was originally live-streamed on YouTube, an internet first for a concert of this scale.

"Rattle and Hum" coverIf you’d rather remain spoiler free, delve back into the vaults and borrow Rattle and Hum instead. This 1988 film recorded during the Joshua Tree tour focuses on the band’s conquest of America. Two great moments are when the band visits a church in Harlem to sing “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” with a full gospel choir, and the build-up to the opening moments of “Where the Streets Have No Name” when the film changes from black and white to colour.

Not familiar with their songs at all? We have copies of both U2: The Best of 1980-1990 and U2: The Best of 1990-2000 for you to enjoy. These collections cover a solid two decades, from the band’s debut album Boy in 1980 up to 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind. If that seems too much to take in all at once, why not try 18 Singles,  a one disc collection of songs dating from 1980 to 2005?

If you’re not a fan of “best of” compilations and you just want to listen to one original U2 album, it would have to be 1991’s Achtung Baby! The U2 album I listen to the most is as fresh today as the day it came out twenty years ago. It kicks off with “Zoo Station” and includes hits “Even Better Than the Real Thing”, “One”, “Until the End of the World”, “The Fly”, and “Mysterious Ways”, to name just a few.

"U2 by U2" coverIf you want to get inside the heads of how U2 works as a band, I would recommend U2 by U2. This coffee-table book is filled with interviews from Bono, Edge, Larry, and Adam talking about how songs develop, the relationships between band members, and reflections on how they see themselves.

Another excellent book is U2 at the End of the World by Bill Flanagan, who followed the band for three years gathering information from the road, the studio and their private lives. It focuses on the crucial period between The Joshua Tree/Lovetown tours and ZOO TV when one of the problems facing U2 was what to do next. Flanagan traces the band’s transformation eloquently and with great detail and humour. A must for any U2 fan.

Armed with these resources, you’ll be set for what promises to be the concert event of the year!

Trevor

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