PRINT September 1997


U2's PopMart

Pop art is the arena rock of art history. So why shouldn’t U2—whom everyone expects to deliver a jam-the-stadiums extravaganza with each new album—latch onto Pop and its glib iconography in order to revivify their fading image? The band’s final Meadowlands performance on the troubled PopMart Tour summarized the exceptional crassness of this tactic: what better way to resist becoming an anachronism than to follow the example of an art movement that refuses to grow old quietly? Rest assured, these lads are never going back to the sooty Dublin days of Boy and Kajagoogoo haircuts, not as long as they can jump on the electronica bandwagon, load up the semitrailers, and hit the yellow brick road.

PopMart was certainly big. Scary big. A vast digital screen—the largest ever built, strobing live images of the band mingled with animations of famous Pop paintings—shared the stage with an enormous

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