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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Having given a few cursory listens to the new U2 record, No Line On the Horizon, we feel confident in concluding that it is not a masterpiece. We'll hold off on calling it a dud until we've given the record the chance to do that odd thing which records tend to do even in the age of instant interweb leaks: grow on you.

Regardless of how we feel about it, though, a dud just might be the best thing that's happened to U2 fans in years. 

Why? The buzzword in their press releases during the rollout is "intimacy," and it would seem that the self-proclaimed "biggest rock band in the world" has decided that less -- or at least the mirage of less, which is never quite the same thing, is it? -- is more. So instead of rolling out the album with the typical slate of awards show appearances and gigantic tours, they're instead rolling it out with a spate of awards show appearances, gigantic tours (this summer) and . . . secret shows, evidently. The first of these secret gigs transpired last Friday from the roof of the BBC building in London, from which the above video was taken. There is another "secret" but already well-reported gig scheduled for March 6 at Fordham University, just up the way, which will be aired on Good Morning America -- a gig itself made possible by U2's unorthodox five-night stand on the Letterman show.

There's still no official word on the location for U2's secret Boston club show on March 11 -- though late last week our sources told us the leading candidate was the Paradise. That, of course, would be poetic, seeing as it was the first place the band ever played in Boston, opening for the since-forgotten Barooga Bandit. (Click here for the Phoenix's review, from the archives, of the other Paradise show the band played in March of 1981, when they returned as headliners.) 

As it happens, the Paradise (and the House of Blues) are technically booked for March 11 -- although that wouldn't necessarily preclude the band from occupying either joint earlier in the day. Word is that the band will play a truncated set and answer questions from fans. If all else fails, they can make like they did in London -- might we suggest a certain parking garage on Brookline Avenue next door to Ace Tickets? C'mon, Bono -- that roof has been hexed ever since Limp Bizkit played there. We need a cleansing. 

So -- TICKETS. They're not selling any, which means your only way in is to win them on the air. Seriously -- even we are desparing of getting into this thing. WFNX has a few pairs left, and will be giving them out TODAY at 1:40 and 4:10 pm, and again tomorrow at 8:50 a.m. You can listen on your radio -- or listen to the live stream on

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