First, the NYPost has some photos up of this morning’s U2 concert at Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus. You can see the slideshow here. I have posted some other photos on the America fan page on Facebook.
1. Bono’s frontman skills remain undiminished--he is able to inspire a crowd and then feed off its energy as well as ever, and his energy levels felt entirely in sync with that of the audience. He occasioned a discussion on the way home about who has better stage presence--Bono or Bruce Springsteen--with the consensus being Bruce by a slight margin. Why? Bruce never went through the campy, ironic, self-parodying phase that Bono and U2 reveled in during the mid-90s, and so can seem a little less arch in his embrace of his audience than Bono.
2. On the other hand, the last time I saw Bruce it cost me a month’s personalia; all today cost was some inconvenience, some lost sleep and some serious claustrophobia.
3. Why claustrophobia? Because the crowd up near the stage was impossibly packed in, with the absurd result that at one point the student standing directly behind me took advantage of our proximity to take a nap against my back.
4. A book along the lines of Dylan’s Visions of Sin by Christopher Ricks needs to be written about U2’s vision of longing for grace.
5. It is amazing to see the degree to which digital technology is now ubiquitous among college students. The lighters which would have come out two decades ago have been replaced by digital cameras, cellphones and digital video recorders--some of my own photos (I will admit I had both a digital camera and a flip camera on me) of the stage show little more than a sea of upheld camera screens. In the future, everything will be documented for fifteen seconds.
6. Getting up at 4:00am seemed a lot more fun when I was 19 than it does at 34.