9.18.2009

Spoiler re: North American setlist but one that probably everyone already knows by now

Don't read if you are trying to avoid hearing about additions to the setlist.

I was interested to note discussion online about "Your Blue Room" which showed a sort of consensus that the song was thoroughly sexual, along with some lamentation that U2 just don't do that kind of thing anymore. I've always heard the song as intimate, yes, but deliberately ambiguous as to its context. This made me go have a look at Niall Stokes' book to see what commentary there was on it, and the initial quotes are typical Bono: "On one level it's purely carnal, but on another it's a prayer." "It's an incredible thing to say to your lover or your Maker, your instructions, whatever the directions..." etc.

But there were also added comments about the context: "Perspective is an incredible thing... You get moments of clarity every now and then, when you see things for a second and they make sense. I think religious experiences are like that. You see things from a higher perspective and you feel reassured by that. You quickly forget why -- but it did make sense. [And here's what made me take notice...] The astronauts had that kind of experience, and I think that's to do with perspective."

I'm not entirely sure what the connection with the song is intended to be here, but of course (from what I hear not having seen a show live yet), there are real astronauts in "Your Blue Room" this time around. The line also echoed some comments in an interview with the Edge which I recently skimmed (can't remember where; anybody?) that touched on the theme of how a faith commitment enables you to look at life from an overview sort of perspective, as if you were lifted above to see an entire landscape rather than your little issues. (That is my paraphrase.)

From everything I hear it seems as if this show has way too many themes going on, but perhaps this throws a sliver more light on one of them?

8 comments:

Bob K said...

I saw the Chicago show opening night, before "Your Blue Room" made it's appearance. It seems to me that the theme of the night is possibilities - even Bono's "throwaway" comments in introducing the band had that theme. He talked about his humility and said (paraphrase) "It's hard to be humble with this band and all of you - we can accomplish anything." Take this with the Tutu speech, opening with "Breathe" and closing with "Moment of Surrender" and you have a bit of a theme cooking.

At least that's how I saw it from the upper deck.

U2 Sermons said...

Insofar as I can say this having only heard bootlegs (until tomorrow)....
Yeah, possibilities are definitely one of the concepts they're putting out there. A friend wrote me very insightfully after the Chicago show, "Hey, let's try to do a show about time and space travel, about the kingdom come and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, about kissing the future, about getting ready to leave the ground, about being 'already gone,' and about the classic hits of the 80s that made us famous!" (And that doesn't even really quite include the two things Bono has explicitly claimed are the main point, surrender and the two-act paradigm he outlined to Neil McCormick....)

Matt McGee said...

I'd forgotten about the comments in the Stokes book. Very interesting. In light of the Kingdom / No Line on the Horizon / Heaven on Earth themes ... and in light of the presence of astronauts in this particular song, I'm wondering if "your blue room" is earth and Bono's speaking to God when he sings "It's time to go again to your blue room..."

U2 Sermons said...

Very interesting suggestion Matt!

Lil' B. said...

I got the impression that the band is still very much trying to figure out what this tour is about. When you get to that point, you will feel like you're being taken on a journey. I didn't quite feel that in Chicago.

Megan said...

I just returned from 200 level seats at Boston 2 and to me it seemed to divide into 4 parts- praise-perspective-struggle-surrender. Magnificent through Elevation seemed to consist of mostly vertical aimed songs and the Your Blue Room up to City of Blinding Lights seemed to be about perspective and God's eye on things. Struggle and negotiating the horizontal, for me, seemed to start with Vertigo and end with One and Amazing Grace/streets allowed some release and celebration before they headed into the last three songs, which all seem to play with the Surrender theme. I also saw the first Boston show and this second one felt much more like it had a discernible arc.

U2 Sermons said...

Megan, thanks for that. I was at both Boston shows and while I didn't sense the structure you are talking about, I can see where you're coming from. I think in particular the notion of a Perspective section and a Surrender section makes sense, at least in an abstract way.

Chip said...

"Your Blue Room" was the highlight of DC for me. I had not read this thread (or any, for that matter) on it beforehand. After the concert, on our drive home, I commented to my wife and a mutual friend that the earth in the accompanying YBR video clearly was meant to be God's "blue room." Both of them immediately agreed and felt that had come through clearly.