First real rumblings? Who knows...

Anyone who has read my chapter on the theological history of U2 in Get Up Off Your Knees might remember my expressing a certain surprise that there was little or no public criticism of U2's return to a) omnipresence and b) wearing their heart on their sleeve during (in particular) the 3rd, post-9/11 leg of the Elevation tour. I talked about the Rattle and Hum backlash and wondered why there seemed to be no similar attacks from the critics in 2001-2002. Though I haven't seen a show yet, it's obvious the overt political tone is back, as is a more explicit Christian profession most of us thought we'd never see again. I've been wondering, as a Joshua Tree-era fan myself, if U2 were possibly going to be able to get away in 2005 with combining their current massively high profile with the same kind of stuff that got them branded as self-righteous, pious, know-it-all, and over-impressed with their own importance in the late 80s. While I've seen some critical comments on the political content of the show and on the band sometimes going through the motions, they have been in dominantly positive articles, and there's been plenty of wholesale fawning, too. Chicago, however, marks the first real "give us a freaking break, U2" stuff I've read: this one, but most especially "The Rev. Bono" from the Sun-Times. "Every bit as phony, bombastic and manipulative as a Britney Spears concert, the Republican National Convention or a televangelist's miracle-working dog and pony show." Man, reading that put me right back to 1988. What's next?

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