Essay on In the Eyes of the Beholder

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In the Eyes of the Beholder

The Contrasting Views of American Culture between Foreign and American Musicians

The crowd of over 60,000 bursts into a thunderous uproar as the stadium suddenly becomes dark and anticipation rises like the temperature under a blazing Georgian July sun. After a seemingly infinite wait, one solitary image suddenly lights up from the seventy-foot video screen: an American flag. The Star Spangled Banner then booms from the massive speakers with the crowd growing frantic in the waiting for what is next. The national anthem fades out with “o’er the land of the free...” and a brief silence exists before a fierce drum beat begins, pounding away as the crowded frenzy is at an ecstatic high. A
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The Irish-bred rock phenomenon U2 met in Dublin, Ireland in 1977 and became a near instant hit. Lead singer and lyricist Bono initially concentrated his efforts on issues related closely to himself or his homeland, such as the “Bloody Sunday” massacre of 1976 where sixteen Irish were killed by British paratroopers for still unrecognizable reason. In their politically-motivated song “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” Bono says, “broken bottles at the children’s feet/bodies strewn across a dead-end street/I don’t heed the battle call/it puts my back up against the wall” (U2, War). But as U2 quickly became a more well known and worldly band, Bono and his fellow band members The Edge, Larry Mullen, Jr., and Adam Clayton spent much time visiting and touring in the United States, soaking in American culture. Bono's views of America and its culture were nothing short of critical, however.

U2's 1987 Grammy Award-winning album "The Joshua Tree" was an exploration and discovery of America. Songs like "Bullet the Blue Sky" delved into the darker parts of the American psyche with challenging lyrics and bold statements. Bono says, "so this guy comes up to me/his face red like a rose on a thorn bush/like all the colors of a royal flush/and he's peeling off those dollar bills/slapping 'em down/one hundred, two hundred" (U2, The Joshua Tree). A staunch believer in God, Bono

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