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Life Arts    H4'ed 12/13/15

U2: THE DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY--Does it Fill Me in? i.e. As I work and Spin Around the Globe as they have done?

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As I write this, I am listening to a recent concert of U2 carried out in October of this year in Cologne, Germany, and I can hear the failing voice of singer Bono and yet marvel at the Majesty of songs and messages created by the band as musicians. Meanwhile, I know the band has had and has propelled cultural, political, and economic influences as individuals and at times as a group along the way to a degree that has been seldom observed before.

For me the early classics of the group will remain often the most meaningful, despite the great success the band had in the 1990s reinventing its music at least twice, first with Achtung and Zoo and later with Pop. It was in the early days (late 1970s to mid 1980s) that the band struggled to walk the line between message and music--often revealed in references to war, religous struggles, struggles with who appropriates our histories, and struggles with worldly pressure to peg their music in particular genres.

It was at this time that young people could still hope to change the world and fight nuclear catastrophe. In that error the band reflected the stress of the post-1970s disillusion that was pushing many into sensing itself to be a no-hope generation--while at the same time tinging their music with energy that inspired even when we could only envision uncertainty at best.

That was the era in our lives that we now 50-somethings supported causes like Aid for Africa--even as we cynically questioned the idea that our moneys and attention would ever arrive in the right places in a time of hunger on that continent--or elsewhere.

At that time, we listened to the U2 and Bono diatribes against the Reagan era political propaganda in its dealings in Latin America, South Africa and elsewhere. We knew Reagan charm and hoopla were fooling too many folks and friends around us. Someone in mainstream of our lives needed to speak out--and often only musicians answered the call.

The relevancy of U2's Bullet the Blue Skyremains so very relevant today in 2015 as refugees flood Europe AGAIN via USA and through other nations' bombings or endless wars. The internationally financed intrigues spinning our world today were well-observed in earlier eras--we tell our children.

The lyrics refer to money and bombs sending refugees into the arms of America even as we pay more and more arms dealers to keep the fires stoked.

"See the flames higher and higher

Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue sky
Bullet the blue
Bullet the blue

Across the field you see the sky ripped open
See the rain through a gaping wound
Pounding on the women and children
Who run
Into the arms
Of America."

While during the earliest versions of Bullet the Blue Sky[1] U2 simply retold of Bono's personal experiences with Central American refugees in the USA and his subsequent excursion with his wife to rural El Salvador circa 1986. Current versions show how the band supports the open arms to refugees of the Germans to the closed arms of much of the rest of Europe these days--even linking it to Zooropa in a recent set in Italy.

She's gonna dream up
The world she wants to live in
She's gonna dream out loud
She's gonna dream out loud
Dream out loud

In my own personal journey, I left the USA around 1986 to live a kind-of-exile for most of the next 3 decades. Meanwhile during the late 1980s, by its own accord, the U2 band and its members began to be too hyperfocused on approval in America while neglecting its earlier European fan base.

It would take a trip to Germany for the band to record--i.e. where I lived from 1986 to 1990-- in old Berlin Achtung Baby and Zooropa which would get the band back into its earlier creative groove.

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KEVIN STODA-has been blessed to have either traveled in or worked in nearly 100 countries on five continents over the past two and a half decades.--He sees himself as a peace educator and have been-- a promoter of good economic and social development--making-him an enemy of my homelands humongous DEFENSE SPENDING and its focus on using weapons to try and solve global (more...)

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