:: What a difference two weeks make. Two weeks ago, Ashlee Simpson reduced the musical history of Saturday Night Live to one of its lowest points ever. Last week, Modest Mouse brought the level back up to where it belongs, enough to convince me to purchase their new and second newest albums. Tonight, U2 raised the bar much higher. I finished watching the east coast feed of SNL, the actual “live” broadcast, which I can watch at 9:30 pm here in Edmonton, because I have digital cable which carries the Detroit NBC affiliate. U2 opened with Vertigo, followed with a brilliant and moving ballad from the new album (don’t know the name yet), and closed the show by bringing the house down with “I Will Follow”. Rarely do bands perform three songs on SNL (I can think of Springsteen, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., and Paul Simon – there are probably a handful of others.)
I felt exhilarated watching them perform on the show. During the closing number, the entire cast of SNL was off to the right, watching, enthralled and entranced, smiling broadly, almost in disbelief that U2 was actually performing in their house. I taped the show, and rewound to watch them perform again afterwards. Three amazing performances, inspiring to watch and experience. A great band, about to hit the top again. Last Sunday, Jon Parales, writing in the NYTimes, suggested that How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb is the best album of their 25-year career.
What dumbfounds me is that Lorne Michaels presents us with top notch bands like U2 and Modest Mouse, but counters with absolute assembly line shyte like Simpson. Perhaps U2’s performance will encourage him to book top-notch high quality bands that actually perform live, well crafted, original music on a live show, and that haul ass while doing it. HTDATB will hit #1 within days of its release on Tuesday. Its purchase will be an antidote if you will, to help me forget about the upcoming result of our forthcoming provincial
coronation election on Monday.