Sunday, March 6th, 2011
"Running To Stand Still"
Elbow covers U2
War ChildI don’t know why it came as a surprise that Elbow would list U2 as a major influence. Certainly both acts have a flair for grandiose musical statements, though U2 favours the more conventional “big rock” way of phrasing them as opposed to Elbow’s more stately approach. Maybe it’s just because Guy Garvey seems like such a fine, modest gentleman and Bono is so… Bono.
But apparently the Irish band were huge for the Mancunians, so much that Garvey said that “Running To Stand Still”, arguably the best song on The Joshua Tree, was “the first thing we ever played together as nippers”. So it’s seems completely logical that for their contribution to the 2009 War Child: Heroes compilation, wherein artists covered their influences to raise money for the War Child organization, they’d choose to do a proper take of said tune.
It’s a faithful rendering, perhaps more spacious and thoughtful, with Garvey’s husky voice providing the greatest contrast with the original and for my money, emphasizing even more the inherent beauty of the tune. Contrast that with the fact that digging around on YouTube for a live video of U2 doing it – there was no official video since it was never a single – and I couldn’t find any where the song wasn’t undermined by either Bono’s hamminess or just the band’s inherent bigness. But still, props must go to the band for writing the song in the first place and for inspiring great(er) bands like Elbow to do what they do.
Elbow’s new record build a rocket boys! is out this week in Europe and Canada, the US will apparently have to wait until April 12 but hopefully the extra patience will be rewarded with the band’s first headlining tour dates in far too long – they’re already going to be at Coachella on April 16. U2 are making up for their aborted Summer 2010 tour with dates this Summer, including July 11 at the Rogers Centre. They are also rumoured to be releasing a new record, perhaps in time for said dates. What is certain is that Bono will at no point take his sunglasses off in public.
Both Elbow and U2 will be appearing at this year’s Glastonbury, with the former as the lead-in for the latter.