U2’s colossal 360 Tour made its U.S. debut last night in Chicago, but for some of the band’s brainer fans, the real intellectual action starts next month at U2: The Hype and the Feedback, the world’s first academic conference devoted to the Irish megaband.
Set for Oct. 2-4 at North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C., the conference will feature a keynote by Rolling Stone editor Anthony DeCurtis, as well as addresses by Ugandan AIDS activist Agnes Nyamayarwo, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Vice President Jim Henke, UK music critic (and childhood friend of the band) Neil McCormick and Matt McGee, founder of the @U2 fan site and author of the new book “U2: A Diary.”
The organizers of the event — which is titled after the two band names Bono and Co. tried out before settling on U2 — plan to bring together “scholars, teachers, students, journalists, clergy, musicians and intellectually curious U2 fans.”
“Is this band of ambitions, paradoxes, ironies and sincerity the real thing? If you think U2 has played a role in changing the worlds of music, entertainment, popular culture, humanitarian relief, peace and social justice efforts — or has changed the world in you — then come join the conversation.”
For $209, fans can take in the whole conference, soaking up such weighty panel discussions as: “Nothing Succeeds Like Failure: U2 and the Politics of Irony,” “The Meme of Surrender: Bono’s Lyrics of Recovery and Revelation,” “Vertigo-Event-Context: The Interpretive Lyric/Music Binary in the U2 Corpus” and “Botanizing on Asphalt: Representations of Laissez Faire Inherent in U2’s Music.”
On its first night, the conference also will screen Australian filmmaker Natalie Baker’s “Meet Me in the Sound,” a new documentary about the international U2 fan community, and “It Might Get Loud,” the just-released guitar-centric doc about The Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White. Plus, there’ll be a post-confab party featuring a screening of last year’s “U2 3D” film.
Oh, and it just so happens U2 is playing just down the road in Raleigh, N.C., on the second night of the conference.
For a full schedule and registration information, visit the conference’s official site.
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