A good idea can be invisible to logic - Bono

“A good idea can be invisible to logic” - Bono

If you can’t feel the music, what is the point? The U2 360 Tour started to be an adventure in light, sound, and intimacy with the audience and now, years later, it is the foundation to which bands will stand on.

The most expensive date with the audience that created memories for a lifetime without any thought of what the future of U2 holds.

It’s July in New York and, while enjoying the summer off from anything major, I begin to think of

yesterday and imagine that we are about to start this adventure all over again and yet it’s not the same.

Everything U2 was doing was about finding new ways to connect with the audience to share an experience that was not to be forgotten as well as to present the music for which fans come to shows to be a part of without limits.

As Willie Williams, show director said, “Video is always the loudest voice in the room, think about it. If you are in a bar, chatting up a conversation, and the TV is blasting in the background, you cannot help but look up. The band was ready to take the next “quantum shift” or leap from The Joshua Tree and Zoo TV.”

The birth of the 360 tour comes from visionary ideas that push the envelope of possibility and create space to which you can grow that seed of an idea into that which is the 360 Tour.

An experience I am sure you will not soon forget. We here at U2TOURFANS.com have been working on the next phase of our future connection with you the audience. The bridge of videos, music, set lists, and of course thousands of hours of photos, is all possible because of you. We have taken some time off this summer to create some new ideas.

Dream some new possibilities. It’s clear to me that we will see U2 again out on tour, but not likely as massive as 360. However, it will be a chance for us to connect again.

In the meantime, we continue to work on our new site development, applications for your mobile device, and shopping opportunities for thousands of U2 merchandise. We look to you for suggestions and ideas. Be active in U2TOURFANS. Your stories, photos, and videos can only make our free community stronger.

revised by Holly C

double of bono.jpg

“A good idea can be invisible to logic” - Bono

Bono / U2 360 Tour / U2TOURFANS

If you can’t feel the music, what is the point? The U2 360 Tour started to be an adventure in light, sound, and intimacy with the audience and now, years later, it is the foundation to which bands will stand on.

The most expensive date with the audience that created memories for a lifetime without any thought of what the future of U2 holds.

It’s July in New York and, while enjoying the summer off from anything major, I begin to think of

yesterday and imagine that we are about to start this adventure all over again and yet it’s not the same.

Everything U2 was doing was about finding new ways to connect with the audience to share an experience that was not to be forgotten as well as to present the music for which fans come to shows to be a part of without limits.

As Willie Williams, show director said, “Video is always the loudest voice in the room, think about it. If you are in a bar, chatting up a conversation, and the TV is blasting in the background, you cannot help but look up. The band was ready to take the next “quantum shift” or leap from The Joshua Tree and Zoo TV.”

The birth of the 360 tour comes from visionary ideas that push the envelope of possibility and create space to which you can grow that seed of an idea into that which is the 360 Tour.

An experience I am sure you will not soon forget. We here at U2TOURFANS.com have been working on the next phase of our future connection with you the audience. The bridge of videos, music, set lists, and of course thousands of hours of photos, is all possible because of you. We have taken some time off this summer to create some new ideas.

Dream some new possibilities. It’s clear to me that we will see U2 again out on tour, but not likely as massive as 360. However, it will be a chance for us to connect again.

In the meantime, we continue to work on our new site development, applications for your mobile device, and shopping opportunities for thousands of U2 merchandise. We look to you for suggestions and ideas. Be active in U2TOURFANS. Your stories, photos, and videos can only make our free community stronger.

revised by Holly C

U2 Bloggers Wanted

Do you consider yourself a U2 fan or U2 expert ?

Either way we are looking for a few good bloggers to team up with us on our newest community. U2TOURFANS Forums designed to provide you the fan a place to share and exchange everyhing U2.

We are building out our site to include a forum section and U2 Fan blogger section. Which will allow you the fan to share your passion.

You can write once a week, month or quarter for us. We also will allow budding U2 authors to write and promote their books with our community.

This is a brand new section for us. We welcome your ideas and feedback.  So far we have been asked to inlcude the following areas.

  • Concert Videos
  • Concert Audio
  • Concert Photos

All of these areas can be viewed right now. We have also welcomed you to upload any concert audio or video that you would like to share.

October

 

 

October

And the trees are stripped bare

Of all they wear

What do I care

October

And kingdoms rise

And kingdoms fall

But you go on…

 

At the beginning of every October, I play this track. I don’t know why, but I just do. The song is a haunting song, consisting of 26 words and two themes. 

The first theme has to do with death. Obviously, it’s Bono’s reflection of a tree losing its leaves, which I think is a metaphor about losing his mother. The mother I feel he is speaking of is Mother Nature, stripping us bear of our emotional being as we take on winter. As I listen to the track, I envision a heavy, grey sky above me, almost suffocating. A lone tree, away from the forest on the horizon, stands naked before me.

The image is not in color but in high contrast black and white. The starkness reminds me of those days trekking across the University of Iowa campus as fall slipped into winter. Harsh wind, howling through the through the streets flanked by buildings made of brick and limestone, wisps dry leaves from unsecured spot to another.  

The second theme spoken here is one of kingdoms and very little has been said about this other that it may be a reference to the Russian revolution. It’s interesting how these two themes meet in this song, especially when the band was still in their religious phase as the album October was being worked on. Kingdoms could also loosely refer to the Kingdom of God or Jerusalem or Babylon or Rome for that matter. Yet, it is has been said that Bono was reflecting on the Bolshevik October uprising and how that intertwines with the emotions of losing a mother is the biggest mystery here.

I will say this, October, for this U2 fan, has been the biggest month of my life. I saw th Irish quartet in concert for the first time on October 20th, 1987. I was just a sophomore in college at the University of Iowa when Bono et al came to Iowa City to play on the Joshua Tree tour. Our campus wasn’t on the initial tour schedule. We got the show by default thanks to the University of Northern Iowa not allowing the band to set-up their outdoor stage.

It was a stroke of luck that they came and played Carver Hawkeye Arena on that foggy night where trees were stripped bare of all they wore much like in the song. A year later, I relived my Joshua Tree tour experience when the band released Rattle & Hum on compact disc.  It would be another three Octobers before their next release, Achtung Baby, and I waited them out – patiently and impatiently.

Eric Shivvers is the author of I’m a Fan: How I married U2 into my life without going to the altar. You may find him on Facebook: I’m a U2 fan or on Twitter: @iamau2fan. His book is available at Amazon.com.

Bring on U2! Moncton Is Ready !

Bono / U2 360 Tour / Dave Long / 2011 Like the very first song on U2’s very first 1,000-copies-in-Ireland-only EP - the song Bono wrote on his 18th birthday - tonight’s performance by the biggest band of our times is bound to be Out of Control.

But in the best possible way.

If it’s possible for the music legends’ storied 32-year career to come a full 360 degrees to a place where those humble beginnings meet unimaginable worldwide success and a long-awaited conclusion that might be a conclusion - or then again might be the beginning of a whole new, even greater orbit - if it’s possible, that circle might just close tonight on a tour called 360 in a place called Moncton.

Yes, Moncton is the place where mere concerts have a way of becoming events. But no event has the potential to go down in music history like this one, the wrapup of the most successful concert tour ever held.

The Rolling Stones’ 2005 Moncton show was huge and AC/DC’s 2009 show was huge, both the biggest shows of their respective North American tours when they hit a farmer’s field turned fan-freaking-tastic festival ground.

But tonight we break whole new ground on our whole new grounds, looking like they never have before as a result of the combined efforts of 2,400 people, a place where today stands a giant spaceship taller than almost every other building in our city, and where a population greater than the city itself will soon be pulled into the orbit of its perfect circle stage, the saturnalian ring wrapped ‘round its heady atmosphere.

All of that sounds hopelessly over-the-top, of course, unless you’ve been to one of the 109 other shows on U2’s 360 Tour.

If you haven’t, you’ll soon understand. It’s over the top and halfway to space. There are no superlatives to describe it. It is the superlative.

And if you don’t go see and hear it for yourself tonight, you’ll just have to find something else to talk about at pubs and parties and water coolers around here for the next 32 years or so.

If you hate U2, you’ll still end up hating yourself for missing this one. If you love U2, it looks like you’re about to be in really good and growing company around here.

Less than 24 hours ago, a crowd of print and television and radio and online journalists, bloggers and even a couple of pseudo-freelance BSers who talked their way through the gates just to get an up-close look at the concert site got that up-close look and knew all their previous descriptions of this thing coming had somehow been inadequate.

It’s rock ‘n’ roll, baby, like it’s never rocked and rolled before.

Donald Tarlton, the real man behind what millions of Canadians over two or three generations know as Donald K. Donald, picks up the story from there.

“It all started about three years ago,” Tarlton said yesterday, the giant claws rising 15 storeys above him. “I had a dream. My partner André Hudon had a dream - wouldn’t it be great to get U2 to come to Atlantic Canada?”

He admitted it seemed like an impossible task when they first investigated it because the show was built to play in stadiums.

But then, “an unfortunate incident involving Bono’s back forced a reschedule and André and I spotted a window of opportunity,” he said.

“It’s a great coup for Atlantic Canada and a great thrill for us to be involved.”

Tarlton said when he heard it would indeed be the tour’s finale, he said, “if it turns out to be the last show of the tour, I’m telling you there’s no greater place for a party than Atlantic Canada. The fans of Atlantic Canada will give this band the greatest send-off for a tour they could possibly have. We know we’ve got the fans coming tomorrow and we know we’ve got the band coming tomorrow, and it’s going to be great.”

U2 production director Jake Berry takes over from Tarlton.

“As everybody knows, this is a very special show for everyone on the tour because this is the last one.” Follow tonights show via twitter or facebook streams. 

On Monday, the three spaceship/claw stages go up for sale, their work complete after helping the band entertain more than seven million people around the world.

“It’s not very special for us crew people because we’ve got to look for jobs on Monday,” Berry said, but, “we chose to finish off in this beautiful site, and we’re ready.”

The show is special enough for U2 fans that they’ve literally been coming to Moncton from all over the world the past few days, whether they have to save money by staying in tents or they can afford their own private jets.

Look around and you may see that one of U2’s fans who is saying farewell to the 360 Tour is actor - fellow social activist and fellow Irishman Pierce Brosnan. If you do spot him, remember you heard it here first, folks.

While the Brad and Angelina and Oprah story particle colliding in an uncontrolled chain reaction yesterday seemed too far fetched to believe - Oprah doesn’t go to concerts; they come to her - the chance of seeing Eric Clapton might be better, though far from confirmed.

And the speculation about Neil Young having breakfast at Cora’s yesterday seems to actually be true, with several reported sightings. Moncton’s Tracey Suley was among them. She didn’t see the Canadian music icon at Cora’s, but did cross paths with a man who was either Young or the identical twin brother he didn’t know he had in behind the restaurant near the Delta Beauséjour Hotel.

And speaking of special visitors, don’t be surprised if for a spilt second or so tonight there is in fact someone at the site louder than the show itself. At the site, or maybe over it.

Craig Evans, U2’s 360 Tour manager, picks up the story.

Asked about all the swirling talk of other celebrities coming to Moncton because it’s the 360 Tour’s final date, he said yesterday, “there are certainly other people who we are expecting here tonight. This band has a lot of fans who are both celebrities and common people. There will be a bunch of familiar faces. It happens at most shows.”

There’s a huge amount of loyalty among those fans, he said.

“You get to understand the passion that they feel. That passion is when every show happens, the first time when the lights go down and the audience stands up and starts roaring and the band comes on the stage, everybody has an arm with hair standing up on end, feeling that moment. In a U2 show, what’s kind of unique is that happens several times during the evening.”

He couldn’t speak of what surprises the band might have in store, but “without a doubt, the crew has a few things in mind that we can’t speak about yet because it’s going to be a surprise to the band.”

And by the way, Evans said U2 is well aware the Town of Springhill, N.S., has made them honourary citizens for their keeping the memory of the town’s mining history alive through their singing of the classic Springhill Mining Disaster.

He said, however, travel timing would prevent the band from visiting the town in response to an invitation from the mayor, but he did hint the kindness might be acknowledged somehow at the show.

Evans predicted people will be really taken by the whole spectacle that is U2, especially on this mother of all tours. Beyond the show itself, he spoke of the view of the city and the acres of forest in their full summer greenery just behind the venue will make the final night special.

“That’s an amazing thing,” he said. “It’s one thing playing in a well-designed cement stadium. It’s another thing entirely to play in nature and grass and people. This is real. It’s more of an event than a concert. I think we have a very special opportunity to end this tour in a very unique and special place.

“This was a big decision to end the tour here, but it was very much a part of the band’s decision and wish.

“The band’s going to be emotional. They have had a huge journey. I think you’re going to see that.”

Memphis Mullen and Larry Mullen Jr

Larry Mullen Jr / U2TOURFANS 2009 /2011 PITTSBURGH – How many miles would you travel for a hug? U2 fans come from all lifestyles, the tour wrapped up last night with a surprise kick off for one fan. This fan has traveled to every USA show this summer.  Traveling to every show by car, behind the 168-foot stage that leaped frogged the country in search of that one Larry Mullen Jr. experience.  If you followed the tweets, you knew that Larry had not come out to greet the fans the whole tour and last night was no different. This fan made a name for self and with the support of other fans and security the final dream happened.  The walk out was a bit different last night, Larry not in the lead and walking behind with The Edge, rumor has it without a word just a look he walked right up to that well traveled fan and gave her a hug. Now all of this happened just before the start of the show

U2 has performed over 100 times in three years and one would think that 360 is sure to be put in the past and that the marketing machines are ready to churn out the next album (which we heard some time in the fall) However last nights show was nothing short of amazing. Yea “No Line on the Horizon” tossed aside for some more popular tunes.

A few songs from “Achtung Baby” kicked off the night to remember and for one fan a lifetime of memories. U2 music has defined a generation of activism and hope for a better world; the power to make a difference is in all of us. We can make a difference, Bono once said “There’s nothing worst than a rock star with a cause” Bono has been crossing the world with causes for many years and in all that time, fans have never turned their back on him.  This tour all but wrapped up, so what is next?  Get ready for the next tour, turn up the music, and let the sound in.  We would like to thank the many thousands of fans that have supported our little project. We too have had our challenges however all along we all knew why we started this journey it was about the music and the fan experience.  

U2 Rocks Steel City

U2 360 Tour/ Mark Peterson 2011 PITTSBURGH – The final USA show of the 360 Tour after 24 months was out of this world.  U2 had a couple of surprises.  The 2 ½ hour show ended as normal with “Moment of Surrender” which has been the last encore song for a couple of shows. Out of Control had appeared as the last song a couple of times. Well last night after a brief huddle the boys belted out “Bad” and snip of “40” Bono said the song “Bad” was inspired from someone around here. 

The boys took the stage a few minutes after 9 pm with the normal opener; “Space Oddity” by David Bowie and during “Beautiful Day” a snippet of Bowie’s song reappeared to support the space station clip. 

Bono referred to Pittsburg as “The Steel City” a few times a reference to some pretty cool people that have come from around here such as Andy Warhol, Perry Como and Bronson – We will spare you the references to the boys.

U2’s first gig was way back in 81 a place called “The Decade” Bono said “I was proud of my mullet” an interesting look during the time period.

The show was the last of a very long tour, which had its bumps along the way. However last night was not the night to rehash all of the bumps; Bono did have his chance to talk about politics, and social causes, shoot out to Aung San Suu Kyi and brief word on Amnesty International.

This was the final night of the band’s U.S. tour — the last stop of the two-year trek is Saturday in Moncton, New Brunswick — and Bono thanked fans “For this grand madness,” motioning to the band’s gargantuan, record-sized stage with its 150-foot tower.

Philadelphia What Time is it ?

Fans around the world want to know if your in line already ? Are you ready for a great show tonight. If you have tickets and are attending we would like to see your shows. Snap, Save and Send to U2TOURFANS.2011@twitpic.com  Your images will be posted to the U2TOURFANS Photo stream.

Right now fans are in line, follow the all the news via this stream.

Its free for all U2 fans live show updates from fans in Philadelphia.

If you’re tweeting from - or about - the show, use the hashtag #U2360PHL or #U2360USA, that way we can feature your updates in our rolling feed.

Could Philadelphia see something like Chicago ?

 

50K Vandy Fans Rocked

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Thousands of excited fans made their way into Vanderbilt Stadium for their chance to see rock and roll legends, U2.

From outside the stadium, a disco ball peaks out over Vanderbilt Stadium, but walking inside you can see U2’s “Claw” has a gigantic grip on Dudley Field.

In Nashville, Country music is king, but Music City has an appreciation for all genres. The more main-stream band “U2” took the stage at Vanderbilt for nearly 50,000 fans for its “360-degree World Tour.” Thanks to heat and humidity, medical staffers and paramedics watched over those attending, many of whom had been there since 6:00 a.m.

The group has a lengthy, 30-plus year career track record, and the group was well-received in Nashville. Crowd control workers made up a crowd of their own, and Metro Police used the typical “game day” traffic flow plan and on-site security.

Many U2 fans also signed up with the group “ONE,” an advocacy group combating poverty in Africa, headed up by Bono, the group’s 51-year-old leader.

This “360-degree Tour” has been going on since 2009 when it started in Europe.  It wraps at the end of this month in Canada.

Bono and the gang head from here to Chicago for a sold-out show Tuesday night.

For Sale: One Used Stage

U2 are to sell off the 29,000-square-foot steel ‘claws’ they used to create the stage on their ‘360 Tour’.

Tour director Craig Evans tells Billboard.com, “It’s certainly our intention to see these things recycled into permanent and usable ventures. It represents too great an engineering feat to just… put it away in a warehouse somewhere.

“We are in discussions to send them (parts) into different places around the world and have them installed as permanent venues. Some major events have shown interest in these, from four different continents.”

Reports suggest The Claw could be used as part of the London Olympics opening ceremony next year.

The run of shows - which have spanned across three years - are due to come to an end on July 30 in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, and rather than just let structures sit in a warehouse the group and their management intend to sell them off.

“We’re now in discussions to send them into different places around the world and have them installed as permanent venues. Some major events have shown interest in these, from four different continents and we haven’t even really put the word out yet.”

U2’s ‘360 Tour’ is the highest-grossing concert tour of all time, with ticket sales totalling over $700 million and it requires 120 lorries to transport its 50-metre tall sound system, stage and lighting rig making it the most expensive tour to hold.

Guitarist The Edge - who played the Glastonbury Festival with his bandmates Bono, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen last weekend - previously admitted the rockers will never be able to go on a bigger tour.

He said: “We’re actually at the limit, the absolute limit, when you consider the economics and the practicality of transportation. We’re really as big as we could ever get.”

 

Police ready for U2 concert

For the first time in more than a decade, Spartan Stadium will be hosting a concert event, leading many local police to stress the differences between this event and a typical football Saturday.

This Sunday, U2 will be making their long-anticipated trip to East Lansing to perform, and MSU police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor emphasized for concertgoers to be aware of the area.

“Football fans are familiar with the university, they’re familiar with the ordinances and policies,” McGlothian-Taylor said. “Most of the people that are coming to this area (on Sunday) are unfamiliar with the university. I think it will be very important for people to come early.”

Because of the tens of thousands of people expected to be in attendance, the MSU police has teamed up with the Meridian Township, Ingham County and East Lansing police departments to make sure there aren’t any problems, McGlothian-Taylor said.

East Lansing police Capt. Kim Johnson estimated the department will have 25 officers working at major intersections to improve the flow of traffic, as well as inside the stadium itself.

The construction on campus is expected to make things difficult for commuters, with the closure of Harrison Road requiring travelers to use Exit 76 on US-127, Kalamazoo Street, and Exit 110 on I-96, Okemos Road, instead of Exit 9 on US-127, Trowbridge Road, McGlothian-Taylor said.

Finding a spot to park for football Saturdays often is difficult, and Johnson said the expectation shouldn’t be any different this Sunday.

“Parking is at a premium sometimes, but people find their way around and find legal places to park,” Johnson said. “People do park illegally, so we’ll have staff on hand to answer any calls.”

One option for concertgoers is to park for free in Lot 89, the commuter lot, located on the corner of Farm Lane and Mount Hope Road, and pay $5 to ride a shuttle to the stadium, McGlothian-Taylor said.

Assisting the officers at the arena will be 110 Greencoats, security volunteers who will aid in crowd management, said David Oslund, an MSU police officer currently assigned to the special events unit.

The Greencoats are asked to work any concert with more than 1,000 people attending, so Oslund doesn’t expect this event to be markedly different from other events they’ve covered.

“All the concerts at Breslin (Center) over the last 15 years have had Greencoats at them,” Oslund said. “The biggest new policy we have is that there’s no bags allowed in the arena, and that’s from a security and safety standpoint.”

Though fans are allowed to bring water bottles to MSU football games, in compliance with Live Nation Entertainment Inc. policy, water bottles, or bottles of any sort, will not be allowed into the arena, McGlothian-Taylor said.

The East Lansing Police Department recognizes that, because of the nature of the event, it’s likely loud music and noise will be affecting people in the city. Instead of calling the police, Johnson asked citizens to exercise patience.

“We’re expecting some noise complaints, just from the concert itself, so we’re asking people to be patient,” he said. “Enjoy the opportunity we have for a concert to come to this community, which is good for us.”

80,000 Welcome U2

The next time the Ravens win a game at M&T Bank Stadium, they should be so lucky to get the kind of response four 50-something Irish guys got there Wednesday night.

Thousands of fans - the stadium estimated some 80,000 - welcomed U2 for their first regional show in two years like Bono and company had just ended the N.F.L lockout.

Billed as the record-setting spectacular to beat all concert spectaculars, U2’s 360-degree tour employs the latest advancements in live entertainment, including a moving, four-legged stage that looked ripped from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”

It’s been joked that for a band as bombastic as this one, a stage that big was needed to contain all of their egos, mostly Bono’s. But the spacious arena, as big as a small club, allowed for maximum showboating, and for the band members to pull off pyrotechnics that would have been difficult at 1st Mariner Arena, where they played the last time they were in Baltimore in 2001.

Over two hours, The Edge got to sing directly above fans, thanks to the moving stage; other band members strolled the circular stage within reaching distance of the spastic crowd, got the stadium to sing along several times - most memorably on “I Will Follow” - and Bono got to show off some favorite Bono-isms, grunting, wearing a glow-in-the-dark jacket, and plugging his favorite political causes.

An ambitious show to say the least, it also featured cameos from, incongruously, Desmond Tutu and Gabrielle Giffords’ husband. Now on its second year, the 360-degree tour confirmed why U2 is still among the few headliners that can sell out stadiums.

The setlist stayed close to what the band’s been playing at other recent concerts, straying only at a few key moments. Over all they played some 24 songs, with all but a couple of their albums represented, going as far back as “Boy” and up to their most recent outing, “No Line on the Horizon.” “Achtung Baby,” “The Joshua Tree,” and “No Line” had the most numbers in the show. The British band Florence and the Machine opened the show.

The band walked on stage at 8:56 p.m. to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” strutting out from underneath the stadium like a bunch of gladiators in tight jeans. Though they looked huge on the video screens, from where I was sitting on row 11, section 151, they looked like bendable action figures. At least one woman near me brought binoculars.

As everyone pulled out their phones to take pictures, a clad-in-black Bono barreled through “Even Better than the Real Thing,” from 1991’s “Achtung Baby.” He kept going with six more songs that were each over 20 years old. Undercutting the solemnity of the first few songs was a helicopter flying overhead advertising strip club Scores.

Bono strapped on a guitar on a muscularly remade “The Fly,” which also featured some of The Edge’s shredding and vocal accompaniment. At that point, it was hard not to be envious of the crowd directly in front of the the stage, who looked ecstatic.

The rest of the stadium only nodded along politely, but they started to move on “Mysterious Ways,” a love song that was blown up here into a stadium anthem, and where Bono and The Edge took their first stroll around the circular stage and walked over the moving bridges.

By fifth song “I Will Follow,” it was already nightfall and the enormous stage was the only source of light in the stadium, surrounded like a supernova by the thousands of flickers of light from peoples’ cell phones. On “Get Your Boots On,” Bono showed how, despite his self-serious star-with-a-conscience public persona, he knows how to play the role of rock star with all the panache it demands. He never did take off his tinted sunglasses at all.

Bono introduced the next song by saying The Edge would be channeling Frank Sinatra, which suggested perhaps they’d do Bono’s remake of “That’s Life.” But instead they sang “Stay” as a slow, almost acoustic song.  The band got Mark E. Kelly to introduce “Beautiful Day,” which, tailor-made for this kind of setting, sounded excellent.

“Elevation” had the crowd near the front practically moshing. “Miss Sarajevo” showed off another genre where U2 is unassailable, the heartfelt power ballad.

The concert hit its stride around 10 p.m., when the band played “Vertigo,” maybe because it’s one of their most recognizable recent songs and maybe because the alcohol from the afternoon tailgaiting was finally making a difference. “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” was certainly the night’s emotional peak, milked here for all its possible relevance by being played over news images of the Arab Spring.

The Bono-isms started to rear their ugly head by then. He dedicated “Scarlet” to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese political dissident, a gesture that was only politely applauded for the crowd. Maybe they didn’t know who she was? Not to worry. U2 helpfully provided an introductory blurb. “One” was introduced by Desmond Tutu. During the encore Bono both sang “Amazing Grace” and later thanked another kind of god, Live Nation, for organizing the show.  Fifty-year-old Bono also sprayed the audience with water and wore a jacket that shot off lasers on “Ultraviolet.”

But there were great moments to compensate for those that were cringe-worthy.  “Moment of Surrender,” dedicated to Clarence Clemons, was moving and “Where the Streets Have No Name” was undeniably beautiful; without a doubt, the concert’s highlight.

Bono’s stated goal was to shrink the stadium and turn it into a little club, a difficult rask when your singing from a metal, 200-ton arachnid. But for the Baltimore crowd, a majority of whom had likely not seen them in years, a stadium packed with thousands of like-minded fan did just fine.

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 :)
 

Massive, Impressive Worth the Wait

By Aidin Vaziri: It was massive. It was relentless. And, above all else, it was heartbreaking. But enough about the gnarly traffic jam outside Oakland’s Overstock.com Coliseum on Tuesday, which turned a typically easy commute to the ballpark into a panic-laced three-hour ordeal dotted with beaming red lights and a robust chorus of car horns.

The real action took place inside the stadium, where nearly 70,000 fans slowly filtered into their seats to finally catch a glimpse of U2’s big-budget 360° world tour, rescheduled from last year after the group’s front man, Bono, injured his back during rehearsals.

The singer, wearing his ever-present sunglasses in the middle of the evening, made up for the nightmare commute with a little flattery and a lot of passion.

“You guys invented the 21st century, didn’t you?” he said, surveying an eclectic audience that boasted lifelong fans, kids, unwitting contest winners, Silicon Valley glitterati and even a few real-life rock stars (Lou Reed was reportedly in the house).

Bono regaled the audience with details of a dinner the night before at San Francisco’s A16 with members of local platinum-shifters Metallica and Green Day. “Music shaped the Bay Area,” he said. “And the Bay Area shaped the world.”

Or as guitarist the Edge put it, “We talked about the most important issues of the day - the best Tequila available.”

U2, meanwhile, put on a formidable live show, with the singer breathing new life into some of the band’s most well-worn hits. Bono bellowed his way through decades-old songs like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Pride (In the Name of Love)” as if he were singing them for the first time.

With the Edge at his side, the front man delivered a stunning, full-throated acoustic version of “Stay (Faraway, So Close!).” He even convincingly filled in for Pavarotti on the understated operatic duet “Miss Sarajevo.”

The concert, built around a circular stage and enormous four-legged 400-ton structure known as “the Claw,” initially launched two years ago in support of the group’s indifferently received 12th studio album, “No Line on the Horizon.”

Going by the fervent reception that greeted the band at Tuesday’s concert, though, U2 didn’t lose any of its momentum during the time off, even though it failed to finish a promised follow-up release and has spent a good deal of time trying to untangle the problems with the Broadway production of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” (finally set to open next week).

In fact, the politically charged concert was part of what has officially become the highest grossing tour of all time (and most expensive to produce thanks to the 500,000-pixel video screen).

“Thank-you for your patience,” Bono said. “Some of you were two years younger when you bought those tickets.”

Despite the focus on the special effects at the outset of the evening, the band was never swallowed up by the technology - even when they were completely enveloped by it during “Zooropa.” The Claw came to life a few times during the 2.5-hour show, spouting green smoke and shooting red lights high into the sky, but it never felt like the main attraction.

Some people in the crowd grumbled that the giant screens made it feel like watching a DVD at home - especially from the back rows. But no amount of high-definition engineering could wring out the kind of emotion the group - rounded out by bass player Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. - summoned during its mesmerizing run through “One.” That took real soul.

Hello Seattle !

When U2 climbs onstage tonightl at Qwest Field, many in the crowd will have waited almost two years for the show. The U2 “360 Degree” Qwest date was originally scheduled for May 2010 and tickets first went on sale in November 2009. But when Bono injured his back and needed emergency surgery, the Seattle date was postponed for a year. Memphis Mullen is expected to be in the GA line early and will have some U2 swag for some fans.

Bono is back to leaping and jumping again, and the delay in the end might prove lucky. During the past year, U2 has honed its show, added a few songs and integrated video of the Arab spring revolt into a moving “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Reviews of this leg — the seventh of the tour — are stellar. “Fresh and edgy as ever,” proclaimed The Salt Lake Tribune. “Lives up to image, hype,” raved The Denver Post.

The staging for “360 Degree” includes a 164-foot-high steel support rig, nicknamed “The Claw.” If that sounds like an expensive stage prop to haul around — it requires 120 trucks to transport — U2 can afford it: Even with a break for Bono’s rehabilitation, the “360 Degree” show has become the highest-grossing tour in concert history, surpassing the Rolling Stones’ “Bigger Bang