Thursday, June 2, 2011

U2: disagree with the politics, love the music

The U2 show I attended last night reminded me why some bands are timeless.  I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I enjoyed the evening, even with the minimal preaching that Bono did.

But something bothered my girlfriend after the show.  We agreed that as minimal as the preaching was, U2 is a band that feels very strongly about some of their causes and makes no bones about using their popularity to promote those causes.

What got the girlfriend though, was how they achieved that popularity in the first place.  This is a band that supports Greenpeace, and yet uses the resources of a small city for each and every tour stop they make.  This is a band that uses up to 450 semis to transport their stage and setup (and keep in mind that they, like many other big acts, have 2 set ups to allow for faster turnarounds on their shows).  This is a band that sucks up enough electricity during each concert to power a small city for the day.  This is a band that makes no bones about flying around the world to tour and to meet with world leaders while supporting an organization which seeks to limit the amount of resources each person uses.  All of these didn't sit right with my girlfriend.

What didn't sit right with me is that for all the lobbying of world leaders, for all the social activism, for all their so-called power, you never hear of U2 putting any skin of their own into those games.  You never hear of them using some of their own money to solve these problems.  This, despite the fact that their tour grosses $10 million per night and netted them $130 million in earnings for the year ended June 30, 2010.

It would be very easy for them to bump their ticket price by $10 with the extra money going directly to a specific cause (like the One campaign among others).  This alone would have seen contributions of $30 million for the last measured year.  Alternatively, they could pressure Ticketmaster or Live Nation to give the option to donate with each ticket purchase, allowing those who want to donate to do so, and those who don't to not be forced to donate.  They could also consider giving 10% of their own net to their causes just to make sure that it looks like they are doing more than talking.

In the end, it's good that they are talking about their causes, but talk is cheap.  Their tour is a huge platform to talk, but if they aren't willing to put their own money and resources on the table, why should we?


  1. They also incorporated outside of Ireland to avoid taxes which support the social programs they stump for.

  2. Entertainers should entertain and STFU when it comes to things they know nothing about.Same for the teachers in our school,teach the lessons and STFU about politics and the GREEN program which is a scam.Leave our children out of the brain washing and we will make our own minds up without some musicion and Al Goremeister lying to us.

  3. Bertie: When you think about it, that's what teachers want you to do... STFU and pay them. In fact that`s their acronym (with only the addition of a word): the Saskatchewan Teacher`s Federation Union (STFU for short).