I am a huge U2 fan. I think they are one of the best bands in the world. And, yeah, they are everywhere. And, yeah, they've lost street cred over the years. Whatever. I don't care. I was never the kind of girl to hate a band she loved once they went mainstream. I never saw the sense in that (I preferred to turn my ire to the Johnny-come-lately "fans" who wrecked the scene).
The closest thing I've ever come to a religious experience was at a U2 concert. Really. It was during the Joshua Tree tour. The show was at the LA Sports Arena, which is a smaller venue (smaller than The Forum and tiny by Staples Center standards). Lone Justice opened (j'adore Maria McKee) and then the Dublin lads took the stage. The entire arena was on their feet. We held hands, swayed to the music and sang every word to every song. It was unlike any show I had ever seen. I wasn't just a witness to it, though. I was part of it. We all were. It was beyond kumbaya. As their shows have gotten bigger and bigger, and more fashionable to attend, I've missed that unity. It's still there, but occasionally interrupted by someone who doesn't get it. You don't ever sit down and you do sing along, people. I always get a little pissed when I see folks like that at their shows. They've taken away a ticket from someone who would actually enjoy the concert. U2 is a big band meant to play to intimate audiences. But, global domination requires stadium-sized crowds. So, I have no choice but to suck up the triple-digit ticket price to get my Bono on.
But yesterday, that all changed.
Yesterday, I got an email from U2.com. Apparently, I am a member. I don't recall signing up, but suspect I did after their last tour when I was still on that U2 high. I did the same after the NIN concert. I know. I'm a total nerd sometimes. Anyway, U2 has relaunched the site and asked me to sign up again. There was something about a free album download mentioned in the email. How very "The Slip" and "In Rainbows" of them, I thought. So, I clicked the link to sign up and then realized that the "subscription" they were talking about cost FIFTY DOLLARS!!!
WHAT. THE. FECK?!?
The biggest, richest band in the futhermucking world is CHARGING their fans for a website subscription? It's time to put down the Guinness, lads. Seriously. You are way too high.
Now, this fee isn't going to charity. That would be different. I double-checked to see if it was going to the ONE or (Red) foundations, but I saw nothing alluding to that. Oh, you get a remixed, remastered download. OF SONGS I ALREADY HAVE! Everything else they offer, I get for free on NIN.com (and they are uploading awesome videos from the Australia shows...at no cost to you).
I sat there with my mouth hanging open. With the state of the world economy, this band -- this mega corporation -- wants to charge its fans? Jaysus. Well, they lost a fan in that moment. My love and respect for U2 wilted. Shriveled to the point that I have no interest in their new release or catching them on tour. Who needs it? If it's not about the art, and it's not about those who appreciate you, I guess it just comes down to the money, honey.
So disappointed. Bono, you really let your woman down.