The Substance of Things Seen

Here's an interesting post from State of Formation comparing two 2011 "big budget pop concerts": Lady Gaga's Monster Ball Tour and U2's 360 Tour. The author, who very helpfully does not confuse leitourgia with worship, finds a deeper liturgical sensibility in Gaga's current tour than in U2's. "Lady Gaga, whatever you think of her message, unflinchingly embodied that message at every point in her production.... Gaga’s production just is an enactment of that freedom with and for her fans," he writes, "which is why it more nearly approached an authentic liturgy — the work of a people — than did U2’s production, which was largely a spectacle."

I haven't seen the Monster Ball show, so I can't comment on it, and I have no idea if the author has seen any of U2's other tours (some of which IMHO succeeded far better than this one - as masterful, mature, and fulfilling an experience as the 360 show now is - at enacting the kind of corporate emotional and spiritual "trajectory" the author was looking for in which "the medium just is the message.") I also think it's important to remember that any U2 show is crafted collaboratively by lots of artists and it really won't do to ascribe the whole tenor of the experience to a "Protestant" worldview on Bono's part. But based on the five 360 shows I saw, I would tend to agree that any specifically liturgical sensibility of this show taken on its own is, indeed, uncharacteristically weak.


Mary said...

I have been unable to see the 360 tour (haven't seen U2 since the ZooTV tour, but not for lack of wanting...craving, to see them).

I have seen about 30 minutes of the Gaga tour on HBO and personally found it revolting.

dave said...

a very insightful article: thanks for letting us know