U2 started their five-night Letterman residency last night (3/2) with No Line On The Horizon’s “Breathe.” Maybe they’ve finally accepted “Get On Your Boots” is the worst. They performed “Breathe” along with “Boots” when doing Jonathan Ross, so it’s more likely they’re just delaying the inevitable. When evaluating No Line we mentioned “Breathe”’s an old-school U2 rocker that, all things considering, actually works. The album’s soaring choir-esque backup vocals aren’t so strong in the living setting, but there’s no need for them: Bono turns Letterman’s studio audience into his congregation. Even though I have a hard time thinking of them as a “band,” and they spend too much time in the studio trying to sound important, U2 do bring it live. Despite that haircut.

Breathe

No Line On The Horizon is out today via Interscope.

UPDATE: U2 week continues below…

“Magnificent”

“I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”

The Top 10 Things U2 Has Learned Over The Years

“Beautiful Day”

U2 Hold Music

“Get On Your Boots”

Comments (34)
  1. I haven’t even watched it and I know it sucks. Reason: everything u2′s done since 1993 has sucked. They’re stuck in a moment they something something. I don’t remember…

  2. drew  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

    5:10.

  3. ev  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

    oh my god. im sorry. im just gonna go ahead and say it. i fuckin HATE u2. wow.

  4. earl  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

    it’s amazing how this site, as well as many others, can’t stop talking about U2 depsite a very apparent dislike for the new album. it’s very strange

  5. Iskra  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

    I LOVE this. It is clear that you guys are being forced to cover this. You skinny jean wearing punks have to do it through gritted teeth. Where are your indie values now?
    LOL.
    The rest of you haters can suck it. My only wish is that we were all in the same room instead of being online so I could laugh at you and your Animal Collective tee shirts.

  6. d@ve  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

    personally i hope they keep delivering on letterman at this level. Most people expect garbage, i did before, but i’ll probably watch letterman tonight because this made me feel good.

  7. No band has put out continually good music over the period of time that U2 has. I haven’t listened to the new album, but “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own”, from the last album, is one of the best songs they’ve ever recorded.

    Despite his haircut Bono can still sing better than any other rock frontman.

  8. On the album this isn’t bad, but live it’s a mess. “Magnificent” is the best song on the record, and sounds even better live (do a search on YouTube).

  9. who cares

    • ranger  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

      well you obviously do, enough to open this article, read the comments, and make a post on it.

  10. Andrew  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

    This wasn’t my favorite song on the album, but I think it sounds great live. Kudos to Stereogum for both setting the hipster bar AND being willing to admit when things outside of the narrow hipster boundaries are newsworthy, enjoyable, or — surprise — a mixture of both. I don’t envy Scott for having to cater to people like us.

  11. Personally, I’m not a big fan of U2 and have never listened to them much (I guess i was born to late). I wasn’t very impressed by the song, but for a performance on a late night talk show, it seemed very well done and Bono was pretty fun to watch. The best parts of the show last night, however, were definitely the parts where Letterman ripped into GW Bush.

  12. Notice how the bass player always get’s ignored or sidestepped by dave.

    Poor adam clayton, no handshake.

  13. GoAwayH8er  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

    you snobby “indie” “hipsters” can’t deny the they are one of the greatest bands in the world. 22 Grammy awards. What do your poor pathetic “indie” bands have on them? Nothing.

    • This is exactly what I hate of Stereogum covering this mass artists, every idiot on the internet that types “u2 letterman video” winds up here. When they read negative comments they come back with their snarky remarks because it’s unbearable that anyone could possibly hate on theirs (and about 100 million other people) favorite band… whatever! It’s the internet.

    • Whatevs  |   Posted on Mar 7th, 2009 0

      22 Grammy Awards??? Wooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwww. The Grammys don’t mean shit. Music is all about opinion, and just because a bunch of old guys deem something “album of the year” or “record of the year” doesn’t mean it’s the best.

      Fucking John Mayer wins Grammys, and he couldn’t be more irrelevant to modern music.

    • boo  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

      I’ve read a lot of these U2 posts and have noticed that someone posts a link to that article everytime. I’m guessing it’s you every time, so I’d just like to say,

      I don’t know why you are so obsessed with Bono partying with teenage girls or whatever, I never opened the link, but seriously,

      Nobody gives a shit.
      So you don’t have to post it anymore.

      Congratulations, you’re free!

  14. Magnificent is the one stand-out track in that album. They’re exactly were the Stones were in the late 80s (and still are): the land of irrelevance. Retreading your “sound” over and over, no edge whatsoever.

    Having said that, why do we tolerate shit like the Eagles Of Death Metal and then trash Get On Your Boots? I mean, it’s the same utter shit.

    -G.

  15. You’ve gotta give it up to their showmanship, bothering to get people on their feet and such. No matter what you think of their music, it’s entertaining.

    AND extra points for not performing Get On Your Boots! I was listening to the album and it sounds same ol’ 00s U2 to me: lacklustering. There was one catchy song though.

    I personally had a laugh at the small skit with them shoveling snow and then Letterman said the production was broke because they had to use the money they had left to pay them.

  16. Much better performance this time. Still seems beneath them to be doing Letterman. Oh well.

    -Pup

  17. Oscar  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

    “Even though I have a hard time thinking of them as a “band,” and they spend too much time in the studio trying to sound important,”

    WTF does shit like this even mean? Serious question, how many Stereogum writers/editors play an instrument and how many of you have even been a band before?

  18. Oscar  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

    I wanted to add that the reason they sound good live is because they are a band. They are very tight, commit to rehearsing, know each others’ tendencies, and can improvise when need be.

  19. John Hook  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

    Awesome performance! U2 rule!

  20. Iskra  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 0

    “Even though I have a hard time thinking of them as a “band,” and they spend too much time in the studio trying to sound important,”

    yeah, they aen’t a band. they didn’t spend the 80riding around the US in a van gigging at small bars for practically no money as they honed their craft. they haven’t performed in front of millions over the last 30 years to thousands of people. Oh, wait, they did.

    It doesn’t bother me that other people don’t like them. it bothers me when you spend so much energy not liking them and for the wrong reasons. Bad journalism bothers me. Hypocrites bother me. Indie snobbery bothers me. Uninformed comments bother me.

  21. matt  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 0

    bono is turning into robin williams

  22. I have to agree with anyone that said thank God U2 didn’t play Boots on Letterman, as it would not have been a good introduction to U2 if you had no idea of who they are and where they came from. That song sucks more than the last time I was castrated by my wife.

    With that said, Breathe and Magnificent were great choices for them on nights 1 & 2. Call them whatever you want, but they are still one of the most relevant bands today. I still listen to their latest music as they have staying power. R.E.M. is the only other band out there that comes close to U2 in longevity, and they just put out their best CD in 10 years!

    Name a band right now that will still be going 33 years from now (please do not chime in with Coldplay!).

    • Ruben  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 0

      I absolutely agree with you. You’ve very eloquently put my thoughts into words!

      Although…

      “Name a band right now that will still be going 33 years from now (please do not chime in with Coldplay!).”

      Maybe… Arctic Monkeys? I see a good future for them. They are amazing.

  23. bryan  |   Posted on Mar 4th, 2009 0

    for 49, he’s got some pipes

  24. I doubt we’ll cover every night on Letterman (unless Bono does a stupid human trick?) but we will cover the Bronx show I’m sure. That seems newsworthy. Just a HEADS UP.

  25. 2nose  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

    It’s spelt ‘teetering’, as in, “you seem to be teetering dangerously close to the edge of a complete freak out, so calm down. We’re all annoyed by U2, but it’s not the end of the world”.
    Something like that.

  26. Tc  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

    What are you, a Jonas
    Brothers fan? If you don’t like U2, I can’t imagine why you spend the time to type that. Go whine somewhere else. When it’s all said and done, this will be the greatest Rock Band in history, some of us get that.

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