When the stars align
Two of the most popular touring acts in pop music make this an unusual weekend in Utah as Neil Diamond and U2 hit the Salt Lake Valley.
With a combined 78 years in the music biz, Diamond and U2 always land in the list of top-grossing tours whenever they go on the road. It was true when the acts last played Utah, just nine days apart in the fall of 2001, and it surely will be again when the numbers are counted for 2005.
Rabid fan bases and bombastic live shows aren’t all these seemingly disparate acts share. U2 covered Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” on parts of the band’s “Pop Mart” tour. There’s no word on whether Diamond will return the honor with a cover of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” at his show tonight. (Hear from Diamond himself on Page E4.)
The U2 concert is sold out. Diamond plays the E Center in West Valley City tonight at 8. Scattered tickets, $42.50-$75, remain through Smith’s Tix and the venue box office.
Did you know that both have . . .
. . . enjoyed post-millennial creative
Diamond’s new “12 Songs,” famously recorded by ber-producer Rick Rubin, not only earned him his best reviews in two decades; it also marked Diamond’s first Top 10 debut on the Billboard Top 200 album-sales chart.
After so-so reviews and dwindling concert attendance for 1997’s “Pop” album, U2 came back huge in 2000 with “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” an album that spawned four hit singles and a triumphant return to sold-out arenas and stadiums across the globe.
. . . made seriously
questionable film choices?
Diamond’s starring role in 1980’s “The Jazz Singer” proved that, as an actor, the man is a consummate songwriter. Aside from a cameo in “Saving Silverman,” Diamond wisely has avoided the silver screen ever since.
U2’s “Rattle and Hum” proved that, despite some great concert sequences, watching the biggest band in the world visit places like Graceland and Sun Studios is as exciting as watching a friend’s vacation video.
Between the sequins, bangles and baubles hanging from his clothes, and some color schemes on his shirts that would make Garth Brooks blush, Diamond probably cringes when he looks at his tour pictures from the ’70s.
Bono had the most famous mullet in the business until around the time of “Achtung Baby,” when he mutated into a fashion chameleon à la David Bowie. His “Unabomber” look on the ’97 “Pop Mart” tour was a low point.
. . . been playing some true oldies on their current tours that you might hear at this weekend’s shows?
Diamond’s shows always reach back to his ’60s beginnings, and chances are you’ll get to hear 1966’s “Solitary Man” or 1967’s “Kentucky Woman” sometime during the show tonight.
Set lists from U2’s yearlong tour have included songs like “I Will Follow” from 1980’s “Boy” album, and “Gloria” from 1981’s “October” album.
. . . sung odes to the USA and Diamond’s hometown of New York City in particular?
Diamond’s most overtly patriotic moment came with “America,” the grand finale of “The Jazz Singer,” while “Brooklyn Roads” powerfully evokes his childhood neighborhood.
U2 packed its 1984 album “The Unforgettable Fire” with songs like “4th of July” and “Elvis Presley and America,” and later recorded New York-inspired songs like “Angel of Harlem” and “New York.”
Stage & Screen E2 v Movie reviews E3, 4 v Mix listings E8-10 v Clubs & concerts E11 v Dining guide E12 v Comics E13, 14 v Carolyn Hax E14 v Remote Control/TV E15
December 16, 2005
Page E6: A Utahn paints U2 to raise money for its charity. Coming Saturday in Faith: Does the religious symbolism in U2’s lyrics make it a Christian rock band?