U2 kicked-off their historic 5-night residency on David Letterman’s Late Show last night, with a performance of Breathe. They even participated in a little sketch, where Dave had them outside on 53rd Street, shoveling snow.
The residency is to celebrate the release this week of their twelfth studio record, No Line On The Horizon. And it just so happens that you can grab a copy of it in non-DRM MP3 format for $4 from Amazon. I don’t regularly listen to U2 much any more, but this is a great thing for a major-label artist to do, and I’m more than happy to give it a few listens for that price and format.
UPDATE 3/5: Night two, the boys played Magnificent, which sounds like a classic U2 song. Bono needs to treat his voice with more care, though.
I TiVo most of the late-night talk shows each night, in the hopes that some band or author that I love is featured – somehow, that’s easier than preemptively scanning TV Guide. But, I was genuinely surprised and thrilled to see the illustrator and writer Bruce McCall as a guest on David Letterman’s show, the other night.
I’m far too young to know his work from the National Lampoon, but McCall’s New Yorker covers are ingrained in my memory:
Some of Bruce McCall’s New Yorker covers, from 1995–2008.
Letterman’s show might not have the cultural relevance that it once did, but you get the sense by watching the segment that he’d rather be sitting there talking to McCall, than Mary-Kate or that chick from Twilight. It’s just one of the many things that make Dave tick, and why I have a TiVo season pass for the Late Show.
In the clip below, Letterman and McCall look at and discuss some of the work in McCall’s new children’s book, Marveltown.
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Breaking news from late-night TV land:
Letterman Makes Deal With Striking Writers
“David Letterman has secured a deal with the striking Writers Guild of America that will allow him to resume his late-night show on CBS next Wednesday with his team of writers on board…”
Most of the late-night comedy shows are going back on the air January 2, however CBS will be the only one with writers. I still can’t fathom how John Stewart and Stephen Colbert are going to cope without their writing staff – my fear is that both shows will be slightly more awkward versions of Charlie Rose, (if that’s possible), with better production values.
Kudos to Dave’s negotiators, and let’s hope that the bigger companies step forward and offer to work out something reasonable as well.
UPDATE: Dave kept the beard! This photo is from the taping of his January 2 show.
There were rumors that Jon Stewart was going to pay his writers through the WGA strike, which turned out to be false. While I’m sure that the Daily Show host sympathizes, he doesn’t have Letterman money.
Dave is already losing an estimated $600k a week in salary, and because he owns the Late Show, CBS has stopped paying his production company, Worldwide Pants. What’s interesting is that while Dave is shelling out for employees of Pants, much of the show’s technical staff are CBS employees, according to one blog:
These employees (at least in Los Angeles) have been on the street since day 1 of the strike. CBS does not want to pay them. They’re like the bastard child nobody wants to claim.
So, this thing goes on. Letterman is doing the right thing by his writers and staff – hopefully this thing will get resolved soon. In the meantime, the Late Show writers have a strike blog, and Ze Frank has returned to the really small screen to offer his thoughts: strike day, and strike #2.