Daily News from New York, New York on March 11, 1992 · 125
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Daily News from New York, New York · 125

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New York, New York
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Wednesday, March 11, 1992
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125
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NEW YORK'S BEST ENTERTAINMENT SECTION LTD U2 lets loose with a video blitz on L.I. By JIM FARBER -Daily News Staff Wmer , NE DIDNT KNOW what to look at first dur ing U2's blowout at Nassau Coliseum Monday. You could cast your gaze on the scores of TV monitors that dotted the stage, flashing fe- verish colors, instructions and slogans. Orthe six bulkier screens that throbbed with patterns of TV static as compelling as a pointillist painting. Or the mirrored balls that shot a thousand points of light out from the stage, dicing up the entire arena until it looked like an exploding bowl of confetti. You could even look at the band. '- For a guitar-based rock group like U2 to launch such a visual tour-de-force was unprecedented. Groups like R.E.M. and Talking Heads may have used some similar effects in the past (especially the Jenny Holzer-style printed messages). But never to this extent It was the first time a pop act mounted something this theatrical when it didn't have to. NUKE, SAY, JANET Jackson, U2's performance obviously would have raised goose bumps on its own. But the entire production, dubbed the "Zoo TV Tour" (which returns to the Meadowlands on the 18th and the Garden on the 20th), underscored the radical shift in attitude the band has taken with its latest LP, "Achtung Baby." After playing stone- By RANK GALLO N THE BIG SCREEN, IT'S story of two rubber-nosed clowns one kind of bad if i the other nowhere near good. In the big picture called life, however, it's the story of two very different clowns standup types who are close friends. So close, in fact, that when comic Bobcat Goldthwait wrote, directed and decided to star in "Shakes the Clown" A mm A THOUSAND POI?TS OF LIGHT: faced rock saints, U2 did everything it could to loosen up on this record, pounding out harder-edged music and crafting lyrics that were less searching than resigned. Accordingly, the new tour played down the spiritualism of the band's last roadshow (in f X " . " I !- )fr-.: ' I - V f t .... ' I I ' .- ; f I '( - rw- Its1 - mm J it , ... " ' .....V .. . i S v:: ' :'.wW.;'.i;mv (in the title role as an alcoholic, mime-bashing birthday party entertainer), he called standup Tom Kenny a guy he's knowTi since kindergarten to co-star. Kenny's onscreen assignment? To play Shakes' coke-snorting, murderous, evil nemesis, Binky the Clown. "Bobcat wanted something over the top," Kenny recalls about first being approached for the film, opening Friday. "Which appealed to me. Bobcat told me, "You'll be in clown makeup all THE and IF LP U2 conssts of (from leftj Adam CJayton, 1987) in favor of pure spectacle. While the last tour was ascetic, the new one openly embraced showmanship and star quality. Clad in black leather and bug-eyed sunglasses, Bono strutted around on a catwalk (extending to the very heart of the orchestra), exud mm ,aa it the time, you won't be wearing your glasses, you get drunk and you take drugs and you have a weird knife-throwing bondage scene with Julie Brown.' "At first," Kenny continues with a laugh, "I said, 'Are you only asking me to do this because Jaleel White is unavailable?' I really thought he wanted that Steve Urkel 'Family Matters' magic." No, Bobcat wanted Kenny. He did not, however, necessarily want the WEDNESDAY MARCH 1 1 , 1992 " ------ iiiyiiniaiM D J The Edge, Bono and Larry Mullen Jr. ing charismatic attitude. The show also diverged from past tours in repertoire. Occupyingthe first 45 minutes were cuts from the new album. Nothing in the 105-min-ute performance was offered from releases prior to 1984's "The Unforgettable Fire." a There was one surprise selection: an acoustic cover of Lou Reed's "Satellite,- delivered in a reverently dry style. Such spare, acoustic numbers offered respite from the mediocre sound quality of the rest. Bono's vocals were often buried, while Edge's stuttering guitars were even more vague than intended. The strongest instrument, and the most impressive playing, of the night came from Larry Mullen Jr., who pounded his drums with brutal resolve. Still, musicianship was not li:inia!':t'n-i'"iti!!l(l Instead of viewing TV as the enemy, U2 used it as an ally. the high point of this evening. Openly anchoring itself on the lighting (some of which earned ovations on its own), the show displayed a remarkably progressive attitude toward video-age glitz, at least for these classically substantive rockers. Instead of viewing TV as the enemy, U2 used it as an ally. The blitz of messages that flashed behind "The Fly" both mocked and embraced media overload. Better, toward the end of "Pride," when Bono announced, "Let's see what we're talking about," he stopped to stare at footage of Martin Luther King Jr., letting King's image overtake the music. It was a stunning moment, utilizing video as an emotional enhancement rather than a distraction. Like the whole show, it provided a model for how rock bands can project themselves into the future. maelstrom of clowntroversy that has clouded his movie's opening. The Clowns of America International, for instance, which represents 5,000 of those guys, pulled out of a promotional march for the movie Monday. And it didn't end there. "Bobcat and I were supposed to debate some real clowns on Sally Jesse Raphael," informs Kenny. "But the clowns decided not to. You'd think. See CLOWN page 39 PI2AHTGK1 OF THE F.I0VIE5

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