I was flipping through the channels and caught a special concert of U2 in Milan showing in one of those music channels. Bright lights, big stage & awesome music. I was even brought to tears with the thousands clapping in unison, lighters filling up the stadium, and the goosebump-raising voices singing And I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.
Now, I’m thinking to myself how do I get a chance to watch U2 in concert. And even better — how do I get U2 to make their concert here in Manila. I’ve been a fan of U2 since back in the day when Boy was released, and I’ve had every album they’ve churned out since then. Bad is my favorite song of all time, and it shares first place rankings with In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel. I learned to play the drums because of New Year’s Day & Sunday Bloody Sunday. With or Without You was the song playing on the radio the day my dad said goodbye and migrated to Australia. Rattle & Hum is the best music documentary ever made. I secretly wish I had directed Where The Streets Have No Name because that was just such an awesome scene. Miss Sarajevo with Pavarotti sharing some awesome lines is truly a great song. And A Beautiful Day really makes waking up a great experience. Also, Wim Wenders (a director for U2 videos) is one of my favorite filmmakers, and I was hooked with his film Wings of Desire. Anyway — so U2 here in Manila!
This isn’t a new idea, and I’ve brought it up with a couple of friends before, but it’s not like this task seemed possible. I mean — just imagine the costs. But then, I just had to do the research and try to find out the answer to the ultimate question — WHAT WOULD IT TAKE TO BRING U2 TO MANILA? I watched a NatGeo special on the Inside The Rolling Stones Concert and got a glimpse on their requirements — snooker tables,, Evian, etc. I’m thinking what kind of requirements U2 might have… Popcorn-flavored jellybeans? XBOX360s? a Jacuzzi backstage? But instead of second-guess,I went on the Internet and tried my luck at doing the necessary research. Of course, I visited u2.com, then there’s u2station.com and then there’s u2tours.com. I even checked with islandrecords.com and maybe I could get a name of some exeutive who could provide me with the information I needed. Eventually, I came across an Australian Producer in one of the forums of U2tours.com who actually worked with U2 in their Zootour. This guy is “The Dude” when it comes to producing major concerts – U2’s included. When I asked “The Dude” about the ultimate question, I was just hoping he’d give me a number followed by a lot of zeroes, and then maybe I can raise that amount and that would be it. But then, “The Dude” mentioned that it wasn’t quite that simple. Because for U2 it’s more than just the money. “The Dude” raised all sorts of questions about Manila, and I had to provide some answers with regards to political climate, national security, average household incomes, social atmosphere, media treatment and not to mention stadium size and technical logistics. If I were running for office in the 2010 elections, then I’m pretty sure my answers were worthy of your vote, but…
Bono and Adam Clayton of U2
In any case, after our discussion, these are the general concerns (based on my expert conclusion) of what is needed to be done so that U2 can come here to Manila…. In no particular order:
1. There shouldn’t be a war or any kind of secession in the country. Security reasons.
2. The political climate should be stable, and the political leader (i.e President) should be a favorite of the people. Last thing U2 needs is for an unfavorable leader to use the U2 concert as part of his/her agenda, considering the weight of U2’s voice. And that’s really their main concern. Just to give an example — Back in 2007, Al Gore was planning a series of concerts around the US to support his global warming cause, and U2 was rumored to be part of the event. U2, however, hadn’t given an answer, and then they felt they were pressured into it. If they declined, it’s like they didn’t care about global warming, but that was obviously not the case and it still isn’t.
3. The average household income is important because not only would U2 tickets be quite expensive, but then it would be unfair if only the privileged few could afford the luxury of attending a U2 concert while a majority of the population couldn’t even put food on the table.
4. And then there’s the social atmosphere, which has a lot of tension considering the huge gaps between social classes. A lot of it has to do with politics, but then it’s also in the manner in which we’re managed. The atmosphere creates a lot of room for corruption, and they don’t feel comfortable around corruptible police enforcers, especially if those will be responsible for the bands security. What’s to stop them from accepting bribes to let people in backstage, or to give away their hotel information to paparazzi and the like.
5. And then, there’s the media coverage of the event, which will be fought for by the two networks, and that’s something that will surely be frowned upon by U2. They abhor the exclusivity of one network in promoting U2. If they come to our country, it has to be fair ground for all media, and nothing exclusive to a ka-pamilya or a ka-puso, but I’m sure we can sense how they’ll turn it into a circus spectacle, complete with the noon-time show guestings.’
6. And if we were to raise the funds necessary to cover the talent fees and production costs, we would surely run to the multi-national corporations for sponsorship. But then, U2 doesn’t do concerts that way, and they won’t allow coporate sponsorship to put streamers, banners and what-have-you. And they definitely won’t allow alcoholic beverages to sponsor as was the case when they cancelled a stop because an Aussie beer brand attached their name to the concert. So, although San Miguel might be able to foot the bill, they can’t even get their foot in the door.
7. And in terms of stadium size and the technical logistics to accommodate all their lights, pyrotechnics, video equipment & sound equipment… let’s just say it has yet to be built. And there’s more, but this is the main general concern from what I gathered through my discussions with “The Dude.”
But then, that’s not to say it’s impossible. It can be done. All we need is a good political leader to clean things up with the war, the corruption, the social atmosphere, the political climate, the improved economy, putting the networks/media in its place and getting the super stadium built. If he/she were to do all this, then maybe U2 will come here to play.
Of course, with the other responsibilities that come with being the country’s leader, then it might take a while longer before U2 ever comes here. By that time, the U2 concert might be billed like the recent concert of The Platters. No one would care, except for the social fossils from the 60’s who still think The Platters are cool. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I don’t think I’ll be moved to tears with only a few hundred chanting And I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. I want the hundred thousands singing in one voice so I can cry and smile and shout I LOVE U2! Anyway… perhaps I’ll run for President in 2010. And my campaign slogan — I’ll bring U2 2 U! Because if I can bring U2 here, then I’ve succeeded in cleaning up the country!
In the meantime, settle for this to inspire you.