This is a great book, presented as a series of reminiscent conversations between the 4 members of U2 and their manager, as they reflect on different periods of the band's history. What comes across very clearly is how they all differ from each other: they each have certain foibles and idiosyncracies that they acknowledge and respect in each other, often in a gently mocking and self-deprecating way, which makes entertaining reading. It is touching to read about how they stand by each other, and there is a clear sense that U2 are very much about life and death - they're not just a rock band.
The interesting thing is that U2 is such a model of successful team dynamics. The shared vision and quest for the perfect melody/album/gig is what compels them and keeps pulling them forward into the future. And along the way they each get to bring their own stuff to the party - Bono's chaotic creative process and intuition, Edge's technical brilliance and dogged determination, Larry's "so what" tests, Adam's steadiness and wisdom and Paul's expert management. It's all held together with great humour, authenticity, honesty, patience and love. A great lesson in hard work, determination, motivation and a healthy acknowledgement of what work life balance really is, even if sometimes it's hard to live up to. A must read for any music fan, and anyone who finds themselves working in a team environment where the whole needs to be greater than the sum of its parts.
Similar in tone to the Beatles anthology book written in the mid 1990's, U2 by U2 sees the band and other contributors, such as their long term manager Paul McGuinness, discuss all aspects of U2. From their formation in the mid 1970s, through to Live Aid which really helped cement them on to the global stage, to their most album, every aspect of U2 is considered and analysed. Of particular interest is the early 1990s period, when U2 elected to totally revise their sound and image after the huge success of The Joshua Tree, relocating to Berlin and producing the superb Achtung Baby with its European influences and dance and industrial feel, a million miles from the American style rock of its two predecessors. The band also give an insight into the famous Zooropa tour, in which they would regularly ring the White House from the stage in an attempt to speak to the President , as well as welcoming such figures as Salman Rushdie on to the stage. It is also interesting how critical the band are on certain aspects of their own music, in particular their 1997 album POP. This book has not sold as well as it was hoped, which is a shame, as it offers a real insight into one of the world's most popular acts.
I really like u2. Really like them. But the official books have been somewhat of a disapointment. When I found out this book was coming out to partner the u218 best of ( an album I will not buy. The 3rd volume of there best of must be out in 2010 and most of the tracks are on the first two best of's anyhow. Anyway ....)I decided not to bother investing.
Someone, however got it me as a gift and after reading it through I must say it's a great book and the most honest and genuiene feeling book I have read about them
Don't be put off by the dodgy cover ( although fair play to them for looking back to the begining )