What's Driving Today's Innovations? - LeadershipJournal.net

I was at a large conference some years ago where Leonard Sweet used a video of U2's late-2000 performance of "Elevation" on Saturday Night Live to illustrate worship-leading based on his E.P.I.C. paradigm (briefly: the culture of today values the experiential, the participatory, the image-based, and the connective). That conference was, I believe, the first time I had seen someone really work with U2 theologically (at that point Get Up Off Your Knees was not even a gleam in our eyes; heck, Walk On wasn't even out), and I was especially impressed because the show was only a month or so old at that point. The only noteworthy performance decision I thought he missed mentioning in his commentary was the ending reference to what one would have to call, in the rock 'n' roll calendar, the wider liturgical occasion (it was the day after the 20th anniversary of John Lennon's murder in New York, and Bono added the chorus of "Instant Karma" to the end of "Elevation.")

However, one aspect of the presentation bothered me a bit; it almost seemed as if Sweet was under the impression that this going into the audience business was a new thing, and that the band were just now on the cutting edge of discovering something revolutionary about being E.P.I.C. onstage. Sweet didn't make a big point of that, but it was enough that I actually joined the long line of conferees trying and failing to talk with him during the break; I planned to congratulate him on his choice of example but also to make sure he was aware that breaking the third wall to interact with the crowd was a longstanding preoccupation with U2. (For an example, let's even just restrict ourslves to events taking place in the NBC studios: "I Will Follow" on the Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder in 1980? Exact same thing as "Elevation" on SNL in 2000.) Reading his comments in this article from earlier this year (scroll down to "participation"), I wish I had made it to the front of the line that day.

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