The Rockwall Summer Concert Series has seen its share of tribute bands, with groups covering the Beatles, Bon Jovi, Elvis, and Dave Matthews, to name a few. If recent social media activity is any indication, this Thursday’s rescheduled performance by With or Without U2 (WOWU2) is one of the more eagerly anticipated to come along in awhile. When their July 17 concert was cancelled due to weather, Facebook posts reflected disappointment, followed by relief that the band would appear this Thursday, July 31.
One of the most popular bands of the 80s and 90s, U2 formed in Dublin Ireland in 1976 and is one of the rare bands still performing with all four original members. In the 2000s they were the second-highest grossing touring act of the decade, second only to the Rolling Stones, and were the only band out of the top acts to sell out every show they played. So, it comes as no surprise that dozens of cover bands would spring up all over the world in their honor. According to reviewers and fans alike, WOWU2 is one of the best around.
We had an opportunity to talk with two of the band members during one of their rehearsal sessions last weekend. Taking on the role of U2’s Bono is Barak Alexander Seguin. Originally from San Antonio, he moved to the Dallas area “Because the music scene was way better here.” Having been a fan of U2 from an early age, he was often told that his voice sounded a lot like Bono’s. He started checking out local bands doing covers of U2 songs and quickly decided he could do a better job of capturing the essence of the band he loved.
Seguin began to seek out like-minded musicians in the area, and in early 2012 With or Without U2 was born with the addition of Chris Mcuin as The Edge, Steven Knight as Adam Clayton and Alan Musico as Larry Mullen Jr. From the outset, the band worked hard to provide as authentic a U2 experience as possible. The lengths they will go to this end include costume and makeup changes that showcase different periods in the band’s history. Drummer Musico even arranges his drum kit in the same unconventional setup as Mullen’s with one of the tom-toms to the left of the snare to accurately re-create the original sound. Says Seguin, “There are lots of moving parts in our set. Everything we do is geared toward giving our audience the ultimate U2 experience.”
Guitarist Mcuin said “One of the things I like about playing in this group is that The Edge has so many playing styles. In 25 songs you will hear 25 different sounds. We put a lot of thought and effort into replicating them.”
WOWU2 has had a pretty solid schedule, playing in clubs all around Dallas, as well as venues in Puerto Rico and New Orleans.
How do they feel about their upcoming gig in Rockwall? “We’ve never played there, but we hear the location is beautiful. We’re looking forward to it. I think the costume changes will be a challenge without a green room, but we’ll figure it out. You can expect a great show regardless.”
Meeting members of the original group, especially Bono, is one of Seguin’s ultimate goals. Asked what he feels Bono would think of his tribute act and the care they take in keeping it real, he says, “He probably thinks it’s cool.”
And in a post on their Facebook page from March 24, 2013, “We’ll tribute this band till the day we die…”
by Bob Lewis – Photos by WOWU2