Mick Jagger on why U2 were “not really a stadium act”

Mick Jagger

U2 is possibly the most divisive act ever to grace the music scene – and the best part? It’s all by choice. Bono and his bandmates are well aware of their gimmicky reputation. But it’s all part of the fun, just like secretly infiltrating everyone’s iTunes one random day in 2014.

U2 is as divisive as it gets in modern rock music. For some, referring to them as genre legends is a stretch; just ask Liam Gallagher. “They call themselves a rock ‘n’ roll band, but what the heck? “Come on, man, I’ve never seen fucking Bono,” the former Oasis frontman told Loudwire. “I mean, I’ve never seen any of them do anything remotely rock ‘n’ roll.”

Even those closest to the band, personally and musically, appear to have something to say. The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger, for example, has previously collaborated with Bono and considers him a friend. “I’ve known Bono since I can’t remember,” he said. “We’ve always had singalongs… When I finished ‘Joy’ but hadn’t finished all of the vocals, I thought it would be great to collaborate with him. U2 were performing in Cologne, so I brought my small recording system to his hotel room, and we did it.”

Mick Jagger, on the other hand, could not be more in sync with U2’s live music approach. “I love Bono, and I like the band and the records,” he was quoted as saying. “But, having said that, I don’t think they performed as well as I expected. You must transcend the production. Okay, if you’re Bono, you don’t want to be like me, constantly running up and down the fucking thing. But it’s one way to get people’s attention, right?

He continued, “There he is! That’s him in yellow! Listen: it’s a theater; it’s big; it’s entertainment. I believe U2 is not a stadium act at heart. They always appear to be apologizing. I never want to apologize for spending $10 million, on the Steel Wheels tour…”

According to Jagger, U2 appears underwhelming in terms of performance and entertainment. “We were always out there with a good show for market price,” Jagger says of the Stones‘ live performances. “And, honestly, I always try to get out there and make sure we’re keeping their attention, working the audience, whether we’re in a club, a theater, or a stadium. You cannot just walk through it. I wish you could, especially on the second night in wherever when it’s 41 degrees and raining. But you need to push it.”

U2 has become a cool band to dislike, similar to acts like Coldplay. But decisions like automatically downloading Songs Of Innocence onto people’s iPhones have felt like a necessary indicator of musical value. It is a consensus that the band has succumbed to the commercialization of music over the years.  Many of their songs are considered classics in the world of rock music. It helped them to be one of the most successful bands of recent times.


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