Angels Smiling on Anaheim

By BEN WENER: We can split hairs over whether U2’s first show at Angel Stadium this past weekend was fully awesome — a perfectly paced concert as moving and meaningful as their Rose Bowl blast just before Halloween 2009 — or whether it was simply as impeccable as the Irishmen’s performances always are. I’m apparently a cynical, narcissistic, arrogant jerk for suggesting in my admittedly overlong first review that some indefinable spark — some touch of magic — was missing.

I rambled through 2,300 words trying to make up my mind if it really ranked with the inspired and inspiring encounters I’ve had with this band over the years. Days later it still doesn’t feel like a truly marvelous one — only a warm-up to the fiercer, fleeter, far more galvanizing set that seemed to seize the 50,000-plus fans on hand in Anaheim Saturday night, zapping them full of infectious excitement and deep emotional resonance, and never allowing either feeling to let up.

This much is indisputable: The second show was better. Way better. Dare I say: magical.

“I know this is Angels territory and miracles abound,” Bono said after four songs, including terrific takes on “Even Better Than the Real Thing” and “Until the End of the World” that were much more torrential than the night before, plus a funkier “Mysterious Ways” that had the singer shouting out “James Brown!” (like in the Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love”) as well as the explosive tour debut of “The Fly.” From further up Katella Avenue Friday afternoon I heard them sound-check that last one, along with another welcome Achtung Baby tune that snuck into Saturday’s show, “Ultra Violet (Light My Way).” (That one replaced “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” as the encore-launching piece that Bono vocalizes into a red-glowing ring as big as his head.)

It was already a bold opening, the band attacking the material, the frontman in his trademark leather and shades lurching at the audience. But that wasn’t enough: “There’s a magic trick we’d like to do tonight. We’re gonna try to shrink the stadium. We want to feel right up close to you in the top tier.” I’d never dream they noticed my earlier review, let alone took any of it to heart — why should they care? And still it felt as though they were trying to disprove my notion, that the enormous scope of such shows makes it immensely difficult to leave everyone within earshot feeling overwhelmed.

Rather than rely on the often jaw-dropping sight of this 360 Tour production — which inside the Big A looked less like a giant claw than some strange interstellar craft that had touched down around second base — U2 instead used two of its mightiest weapons of love and hope and peace to achieve that seemingly impossible intimacy. Stunningly, the group yanked forward the back-to-back wow of what until now had been its opening encore: the universal anthem “One” and the ever-thrilling rush of “Where the Streets Have No Name,” here joined together by a verse of “Amazing Grace,” the lights turned stark on Bono and the screens faded to black.

Good Bye Anaheim

Two nights of Anaheim and that’s all she could take. U2 packs up and hits the road today on to Baltimore, MD.

Memphis Mullen hits the road too early this am, traveling all the way to the east coast. The ride will be filled with memories and great tunes of the shows past. 6 shows down and well a couple more to go. While road tripping to every show across America seems so Jerry Garcia like this adventure is more about getting the ultimate fan book right. Making that connection between music, fans and of course the band. U2 has the connection when you strip all of the trappings of the machine ( nameless ) that creates the new image of U2.

Most fans will agree that U2 in some ways with the new “machine” has lost its touch with its fans,last nights show the boys took a helicopter in to the venue and a runner afterwards left some fans with a sour taste.  Its not the bands idea of how to arrive to a venue. So who is the machine, well you have think about the 360 deal that they signed years ago to understand who the machine is and how they operate. Maximum impact marketing for maximum returns for shareholders. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. Just remember the fans are the ones that keep the lights on.

Anaheim II had a bit of surprise visit from “The Fly” and the setlist seemed to be a setup for Glastonbury wtith the mix of Actung Baby songs. “The Fly” was last performed on December 9th 2006 in Hawaii. Streets moved up early in the set and a couple of other little changes. Bono and the boys paid tribute to The Big Man  Clarence Clemons who pasted away the day earlier.  Bono sang a couple of lyrics from Jungleland a Springsteen fan favorite.

At its best moments — and there were so, so many — the show instantly brought back that magical feeling of old U2 shows, be it with the sublime beauty of “Miss Sarajevo,”, the always spine-tingling “Where The Streets Have No Name,” a glorious “Moment Of Surrender,” the anthemic “Walk On,” and the thrilling call to yesteryear, “I Will Follow,” from their debut album, 1980’s Boy.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the production, though, is that the much documented and hyped four-tentacled structure engulfing the band and those closest in the pit actually does succeed in giving off the feeling of intimacy. Yes, while in a stadium setting and among 70,000 fans, at times if felt as if it was just the band and its music — an apt reminder of why U2 earned the title of biggest band in the world.

We will see you in Baltimore. Thanks Anaheim fans we had a great time.

Anaheim Take me Higher

Memphis Mullen: The U2 360 show in Anaheim had the best energy so far of the five shows I’ve seen in the US on this leg. The audience was really into it. It was the same set list as the previous US shows this leg.

I spent the day in my hotel room conserving my energy for tonight’s show. I left for Angels Stadium at 2pm. I got a little lost walking to the stadium - I went the wrong way twice. I got to the stadium shortly after 2:30, even though the stadium is just a few blocks from my hotel. I was tired and sweaty, as June Gloom brought the humidity today. I think I got a little overheated and dehydrated because I had a terrible migraine the rest of the day and throughout the show.

Arriving at the stadium, I noticed 2 GA lines on opposite sides of the stadium. I walked around to where I thought the band would drive in and found most of my friends already there waiting. Of course we were all in the wrong place, so we moved around to the right place about a half hour later. U2 arrived around 4pm, not in their usual black towncars, but all in one white van. No one stopped, but Larry did smile as he drove by - I like to think it was because he saw my Larry Mullen Band shirt. This was the first time Bono has not stopped in the US this leg.

We got in the GA line and listened to the soundcheck, which included both The Fly and Ultra Violet but neither were played in tonight’s show. We entered the stadium just after 5pm, got our stamps to re-enter the inner circle and then went up to the stands to sit and relax in the shade. Anaheim Stadium is a beautiful baseball park. Lenny Kravitz and his band arrived to the stage in golf carts. They played from 7:30 to about 8:15 and the same set list as the previous four shows I’ve seen.

After Lenny’s performance, I went back to wait for U2 to walk in. The venue security tried to get us to leave, but Rocco told them we were allowed to stay there to wait for the band. U2 walked to the stage just after 9pm and Larry once again smiled and waved at me as he entered.

The inner circle was very crowded, probably because of all the VIPs. I stayed behind the stage for the entire show, which is fine because that’s the best view of Larry anyway. Bono’s band introductions were great. He thanked Larry for everything that U2 was, saying they would be nothing without him. Bono also brought Paul McGuinness on stage for the first time ever. Yesterday was Paul’s birthday, so we sang Happy Birthday to him.

During With or Without You, I went back to wait for U2 to leave. I stood in the same place I did in Seattle, hoping that Larry would once again grace me with a handshake. He didn’t, but he did smile and wave at me. So a smile and wave from Larry on the way into the show and on the way out of the show isn’t too shabby.

Tomorrow there is another U2 360 show at Angels Stadium in Anaheim. This is the only time in the US that U2 are playing two back to back shows in the same city, so hopefully they will change up the set list a bit. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to blog about it tomorrow night or post videos or pics. I have to get right to sleep in preparation for my 3000 mile cross country drive to make it to the Baltimore U2 360 show on Wednesday. Please send good thoughts my way :)
 

U2 Advisory for Anaheim

 

Anaheim: U2 arrives today in Orange Country and expect traffic to be major, above normal for the whole area around Angles stadium. We have a few updates from around the area that are important for you -

U2 performs at the Angels Stadium in Anaheim on Friday and Saturday. The show begins at 7 p.m., but the stadium parking lot will be open at 8 a.m. to facilitate the wrist-banding process for those who have field tickets. (GA Ticket Holders) Doors will open at 5 p.m.

U2 fans are encouraged  to carpool to reduce the number of vehicles attempting to locate
parking.( Check out U2ROCKBUS.com)

• Alternate off-site parking will be available at Honda Center and other areas
surrounding Angel Stadium.

• Please follow the directions of traffic control personnel, who wish to get you to the
closest parking locations in a timely manner.

• The possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages in the parking lots of
Angel Stadium of Anaheim and Honda Center is prohibited, and police will be
enforcing this law.

• Re-sale or purchase of tickets from re-salers on stadium property is prohibited.

• To prevent from being victimized by counterfeiters, you should purchase event tickets
from authorized dealers & brokers.

More than 50,000 fans are expected, and officials advised concert-goers to arrive early, carpool and take public transportation is possible.

General parking at Angel Stadium is $25 per car, cash only. Parking will also be available at the Honda Center, and it will also be cash only.

Metrolink will provide special train service on both concert days. The round-trip ride to the Anaheim Station from the L.A. Union Station and Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo Station is $7.

U2 SPECIAL TRAIN SCHEDULE

Southbound

  • Los Angeles Union Station: Departs at 5:50 p.m.
  • Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs: 6:11 p.m.
  • Buena Park 6:17 p.m.
  • Fullerton 6:24 p.m.
  • Anaheim: Arrival at 6:33 p.m.

Northbound

  • Laguna Niguel: Departs at 5:50 p.m.
  • Irvine: 5:59 p.m.
  • Tustin: 6:07 p.m.
  • Santa Ana: 6:13 p.m.
  • Orange: 6:18 p.m.
  • Anaheim: 6:22 p.m.

We will update as more details come in - Meantime get up and get out and ready to Shake your ass !

GA Line Starts in Anaheim

Who are you ? Fans already standing, sleeping, eating or just kicking around some time. We want to know who you are ? Why are you already lined up almost 3 days before the show. Who is paying you to stand in line ?

Send us some daily photos of your line experience fans around the world want to know why ? Memphis Mullen has not even arrived to the venue  yet so your ahead of the game - Well good luck to you the mighty fan.

U2TOURFANS.2011@twitpic.com

U2 Wave from Around the world

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