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Archive for the ‘u2’ Category

Apr-10-2010

at the garden: u2 rock and roll hall of fame concert

my boy q is one of the most positive guys i know. when i was able to pull up tickets to a snow patrol show at the tiny bowery ballroom, he was genuinely happy for me. when i told him that i also won tickets to an even smaller show at sirius radio’s studio for about 35 people…he then said….i was happy for you, but now i am angry and i hate you. here’s another opportunity to draw out q’s wrath.

no one like me should be getting free tickets to the rock and roll hall of concert featuring u2 as the headliner. but see here….

here’s how it happened….my small group co-leader clarence asked me if i knew that free tickets were available online for the show; and would i be interested? and i was like….free?… interested?

in order to make msg seem fuller, they were giving away tickets behind the stage. the catch was that most of the show would be obscured by an obstruction but for the final act, it would be removed providing clear sightlines. now, i’ve sat behind the stage a few times and always had a great time;  i’ve had to pay for those tickets…until now. i signed up and in a few hours, they confirmed my reservation.

i can feel q shaking his head in disgust.

i brought steph since she could get out in time to line up and because theresa is currently burnt out on her irish friends. the website scared us into not bringing cameras threatening to kick us out if we even had them. more brazen fans still brought them….and of course, they were allowed to use them. once again, the rule breakers win.

these are the crappy photos from my cheapo phone. steph’s phone doesn’t even have a camera. we are the last of the dinosaurs.

where we were seated was actually backstage and we saw stars and performers milling around. a lot of them waved to us so that was cool. as you can see, there was a big old wall that blocked us from seeing the first few acts including aretha franklin and metallica. they did set up a few screens for us to watch…and the music was clear…so we still had a good time.

but at the end, the wall was pulled back and we could see our boys…perform with bruce, mick, the black eyed peas and patti smith. a pretty short set and a bit disappointing because we heard the night before the other hall of famers kept playing deep into the night….but, listen to me… free u2 at the garden.with aretha and metallica opening. i will try to sound less entitled.

bonus pic: here’s what it looked like from the front for people with good cameras.

i’m sure q has gotten over it by now. besides, i helped him score ga tix for philly so i am not the only beneficiary of my strange mutant powers.

Posted under music, new york, u2
Mar-27-2010

at the stadium: u2 360 rose bowl

we’ve reached the end of our road with our irish friends in 2009(in the blogosphere)…on the west coast…in los angeles for the worldwide broadcast on youtube and shooting for the dvd. its the second dvd filming we’ve been in attendance for.

because the rose bowl will be packed with over 100,000 people and la traffic is the worst in the country, we get there way early with our special parking pass and get a prime spot that gets us out of the lot relatively easily and on the highway back to valencia in a time we couldn’t even imagine or dream for! no problems leaving…but getting to our seats was a scary adventure. the corridors to the seats from the promenade were packed with people and as concert time drew nearer, people got antsy. someone even screamed push! and a riot could have exploded. luckily police or rent-a-cops showed up to save us from mob mentality and we got to our seats with seconds to spare.

a great vibe in the stadium as people anticipate the spectacle of both one of the largest concerts ever and a show in front of the whole world. and the general loosey goosey california no worries atmosphere contribute to the mellowness we feel.

we had seats behind the stage but it is a 360 setup and the band moves around quite a bit. i would rather be toward the back and closer to the stage than in front and watching others watch the show. but anywhere you sit, the music will be terrific. i don’t remember being disappointed at any u2 concert and i’ve sat in all sorts of seats.

the place explodes when u2 burns through their set. it is extra dramatic as the band tries to win over….everyone. everywhere. anyone who cares to watch. the reviews are pretty good post show and the rose bowl even inspires the guys to go back into the studio to record; though we have yet to see those fruits.

the setlist includes everything that the incredible phoenix setlist had plus….i get my snippet of in god’s country! i thought it would come in the desert but i get it in an unexpected place…a nice little wink to end our touring.

new elements include graphics for in a little while featuring the return of frank the astronaut. the band was hoping to have in your blue room make liftoff but it was too obscure and too huh? for the masses. so in a little while soundtracks the space station launching into the stars.

another new feature accompanied theresa’s favorite, unknown caller. the band asked for fan videos to accompany the chorus and the above is a compilation of submissions from all over the globe; apropos for tonite.

it’s our last look at the station until 2010 and we take in the lights, the gigantic video screens, the beacons, the sounds, the 360 view……

soaking in the finale, my favorite off the new album, moment of surrender…..a song they did in one take on the album, lasting close to 10 minutes…sensing and receiving it as a gift from god…confident of its powers, it becomes the closer for each show and the tour.

hopefully not the final time i hear this song….

and so it goes and so it ends.

goodbye, friends….see you sometime in new york.

or anaheim.

one last shot and one last goodbye.

thanks to theresa for allowing, even rolling with and encouraging the madness. you elevate my soul.

Posted under u2
Mar-20-2010

at the stadium: u2 360 phoenix

in the real world, it is early spring in 2010…the weather is warming up and delightful with the winter a memory. in the blogosphere, it is still the fall of 2009 with the winter approaching. today, we are in new york. back then, we were on the west coast with a pit stop in phoenix. a few more posts from the tail end of 2009 and both these worlds will finally be in sync.

soon….soon….soon……

we had heard that u2 does some crazy, crazy shows in phoenix; one of their favorite tour stops since the joshua tree days with their americana, heartland, desert themes. some places had shown a lot of love over the years and the band always brings it on these stops. our little traveling band of friends have always listed phoenix as a future must go. the day may have come.

confident that general admission tickets would be in abundance, i proposed to my u2 tour mate, jon wu….want to go to phoenix? he said my wallet says no but crazy u2 fan jon wu says phoenix sounds good! we got some cheap, cheap tix from southwest for a day trip from la to the desert. i’ve paid more for cabs in nyc!

after a pit stop at chino bandito to say hi to phoenix friends, we lined up for a relatively easy entry into the pit.

we had a lot of time to admire the stadium. what caught my eye were tributes to american hero, pat tillman…the open roof….and the (missing)removable grass field. the field slides outside so that events like this don’t do permanent damage.

occasionally, i point to a cardinals game on tv and say to theresa, hey! we were there.

we saw our third opening act on this leg, the black eyed peas. we are more snow patrol and muse people but we could appreciate the spectacle of the peas. they showed great humility and deference to u2 even though they are currently the bigger hit maker, album seller and grammy winner. in some circles, perhaps it would make more sense for u2 to open for will.i.am and his friends.

then it was more up close and personal with our irish friends. most of our friends know how we roll.

the question is does it get old? for me, it never seems to. its like wine. each bottle is different and we get excited by the subtleties. but for theresa, it is starting to. even with the fact that we get so close so often. she doesn’t know how many more runs she wants to be part of. thankfully, she’ll let me continue my indulgence on a smaller scale.

the show was clearly a dress rehearsal for their la show which was streamed on youtube worldwide and recorded for the dvd to be released relatively soon. this meant a similar setlist, new graphics and theatrics including the return of the achtung, baby-baby. also, bono had his jacket raised to the roof.

i came to the desert to hear perhaps in god’s country or one tree hill but left with neither. we did get the return of unknown caller, which was theresa’s favorite. and i finally got to hear in a little while for the first time on this leg. i think that i have heard all the songs played on this leg from set standards to all the rarities. quite grateful having heard so much of their catalog.

overall, this was a great, great show. one of the best energy shows we’ve seen this time around. a great little day trip.

thanks to phoenix friends for food and shelter for the day/night.

onto la!

as a post script, one unique fun moment during in a little while, bono brings three sisters onstage and they are thrilled to carry his sweat soaked body.

Posted under u2
Nov-28-2009

at the stadium: u2360 at uva

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when we got into the pit, a sweet-sweet young woman turned to me and said with enthusiasm that she hoped that this show would be one of my favorites. she was excited for the night.  she had come with her husband and other family members, mostly alums of the university for an opportunity to watch u2 rock her campus.

this did turn out to be one of my favorite tour stops. first, set in a college town…it had a totally different vibe and energy. the kind of life that comes with youth.  then people were not as uptight about lining up so after a nice leisurely lunch, we hopped into line…a very short line. good spots were guaranteed.

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another cool thing about the venue is that you could actually see the stage from outside! so students camped out on a hill just outside the stadium and got a free show. brilliant move by u2 in their attempt to reach new fans. just over theresa’s right shoulder is the screen stretched out….

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we got railing….a different kind of railing! back railing

we discovered that sightlines were actually better in the back of the pit and we also are able to see the band when they come out on the outer stage. in fact, we have toyed with the idea of doing front of the outer pit…but i think enough people have discovered that already and those spots are the first to go…maybe ahead of the front of the inner pit.

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here are our clear views of muse who put on another impressive set. we will try to get into this band post tour.

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…and some shots of the main attraction bringing a lot of energy to make their case for yet another generation of college students…some who are more likely into hip hop, american idol or perhaps, even muse. they do a pretty fierce setlist that alternates new songs with old favorites similar to the tight show the second night at the meadowlands. and a brave, brave choice…..

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…your blue room…an obscure song that u2 has been courageously singing on the american tour to lukewarm responses. the blue room may even refer to the port a potties around the field level that people seem to rush for when this song is played.

it is entirely literary, metaphoric and mostly inaccesasible. but u2 busts it out for the college crowd. a shock for me…but i’m glad for my boy q who is in the audience for his one shot at u2360 this time around(we got ga’s for philly next year!)

the song contains lyrics sung by a member of the international space station named frank. more like recited by frank.

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some random parting pics….always love catching adam playing the bass with one hand. wink. to his credit, adam is the most interactive of the band…but he is often seen….resting.

then there’s a shot of the band on the outer stage right near us. great views. better than right up front because back here, the stage is lower, at waist level whereas in the front, its way above my asian head.

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the security at uva was top notch…especially our dude in the foreground who regulated pit flow, actually told people that they could not go deeper into the pit and sent them back to the sides, handed out ear plugs not knowing if he had a pair left for himself, welcomed guests to his town, chatted with people, told stories. wow.  a security person who cared.

the lawn at the back of the venue was cool. literally cheap seats at $30. it added to an overall great vibe.

so yes, tiffany, we would come back.  all you have to do is convince the world’s biggest band to encore in charlottesville.

Posted under u2
Nov-21-2009

at the stadium: u2360 dc

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an excuse to go home or an excuse to see u2? either way, we made a trip south to see theresa’s family who are more than thrilled to take care of zoe while we go touring. to review: they requested that we drop off zoe for two weeks. when we said no, they then made a counter offer of a month. they are not good negotiators….maybe with money but not their offspring’s offspring. they had to settle for a night here and a night there; extended visits by us…but no crazy separations!

they have since proposed a dropoff of 10 days. the answer is still no.

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the seats were pretty decent in the lower bowl and we got to see them as they moved around. but my dc experiences have been a bit lacking starting with my popmart show back over a decade ago. the two big themes that seem to pop up are issues with the video screen and the band seems to want to get the heck out of town as soon as they can. my imagination? or reality?

near the start of the show….the screen gives out!!!! they repair it but it is ominous. and sure enough, they play the shortest set so far in the states. two fewer songs than normal….and we know which ones! no unknown caller(theresa’s favorite)and no no line on the horizon(one of my favorites on the current album). in fact, it is the lowest number of songs played off the album all tour which is bogus since this is what they came to promote!!!

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the energy level seemed to be fine as they name checked dignitaries and beltway celebrities giving off a real american feel to the show. but its hard not to notice the shorter set especially when its new songs that are left off.

what’s the rush? linger a bit! is there a curfew???

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but energy is relative as is the experience….those of our friends who were in the pit had a fantastic time. when you are that close, it matters not what they play! we got together briefly for a world colliding reunion with people of different generations from mostly cbc but also new york. it warmed my heart to see everyone together and is really part of the magic of going out on tour.

Posted under u2
Nov-14-2009

at the stadium: u2360 nyc….actually east rutherford

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two nights at the meadowlands which started out with a scare. we had lower bowl seats but didn’t think about the overhang! a ton of fans had the view on the left the whole night not being able to see the screeen, the lights, the bells and whistles. but luckily for us we were the first row under the loge deck so our view was the one on the right and we had some cover when it sprinkled.

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pretty good seats for lower bowl without the baller prices. we like sitting closer to the stage even if its from behind it since they move around and you get the energy of the fans all around the back of the lower bowl.

the setlist was a little disjointed…going all over the place, their catalog and the songs of others: including a bruce springsteen song, a partial version of desire and the omission of theresa’s favorite unknown caller….but its still a good u2 show. rarely do they do a bad show. some are only less cohesive. but i think that’s a u2 snob thing….like a wine connoisseur who can pick up those subtle differences.

once again….driving to a football stadium is not fun. traffic, parking rob the nights of some of the joy. we would rather go to the garden in the city and zoom home in half an hour or less back to the agapeshack. or walk to k-town for some average korean food in celebration. watching cars crawl out to the turnpike blows.

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luckily for us, the next night, the great justin drives and victor rides shotgun. here we take a picture with the new meadowlands which is next to the current meadowlands stadium. that’s called foreshadowing.

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after taking our time getting to the venue, theresa pumps and we still make it into the pit! its nice to be back close to the boys. it is just a different experience… the energy and the connection to the band are thick….and these are also the some of the cheapest seats in the house. u2 prefers to get as many of these tickets in the hand of the common person as opposed to having an orchestra full of rich, fat cats. for example, bon jovi’s up front seats range up to 2k in a similar sitting arrangement!

the 2 nights have started out with a new opening act for this part of the tour: muse! the first night, we barely made it for u2. but because of the traffic, the second show starts later and we catch muse in full. we enjoyed them in principle hearing most of the stuff for the first time….it did make us wish we knew more of their music. a few more shows left with muse until we are stuck with the black eyed peas.

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tonite’s set is much tighter including stay! i’ve heard it three times on this tour already but later it turns out this would be the last time they play it for the 360 tour in 2009. maybe they decided that after bono flubs the lyrics and has to restart. he even makes some small mistakes with the words during streets!

unknown caller is back so theresa is pretty content. this song also goes missing for awhile. we wonder if u2 thinks americans get this song.

overall the ny/nj shows were good but not out of this world which is a surprise. the shows at the garden made some of the best memories for me. maybe its the larger venue. maybe its the larger stage. maybe its nj. i can only speculate.

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though we did not sit together, some of us were real close….and we met up to celebrate the night afterwards.

weiling and becky came late and hung out by the soundboard where the vip’s hang. they saw a ton of stars and celebrities.

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finally, here we are tailgating after the show as we wait out traffic. the great justin brought tons of drinks, snacks and food from chinatown.

bono announced that this was the largest crowd ever for the outgoing meadowlands….even larger than for the pope or king springsteen. so the traffic is extra killer. but the afterparty takes the sting out of the wait.

theresa snoozes as we drive home.

Posted under u2
Nov-7-2009

at the stadium: u2360 boston

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i got to go to boston 2 on my sabbath which turned out to be a pretty good show! boston 2 is distinctive because it was the only show so far that opened with magnificent and not breathe….in fact, breathe disappears from the set entirely.  your blue room showed up again to a stunned crowd. only me and 4 other diehards enjoy it. i did get to hear stay! which is partly what i was hoping for. the show has more hits and familiar tunes tonite which i am happy about because…..

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its a show that i got to go with my brother in law, trent, my sister anita and efc folks now residing in the boston burbs. my family is not as fanatical as i am so less your blue room-y and more mysterious ways-y worked for them. the shows are never just about the shows and reuniting with family and dear friends makes the show for me.

the crowd responds well to the band and we all have a great, great time. it is also snow patrol’s last opening gig for the band so there is a celebratory, wistful tone to the evening.

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our seats are slightly off to the side, swinging toward the back of the show so for the first time, i get to see the full stage and light show. pretty impressive. though i am further away than i was in chicago….the setlist, the 360 screen and stage still make for an intimate experience. and you can’t beat the price….these were $50 seats which surprised me since comparable tickets at other venues ran for $100 plus. though for the same price, ga’s could have been bought but trent likes his personal space and doesn’t like to stand the whole time.

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now the downside…..the drive to the stadium and the exodus from the parking lot was frightful. where were the attendants who collected our $45 for parking? you heard right…$45 for parking! then they split leaving the masses to navigate for hours out of the lot. it made me think twice about coming back to gillette again….but i won’t have to make that choice as boston does not get a third show….because boston did not show up! tons of seats were available and conveyed to the band-we don’t need another 360 show. you only have yourselves to blame, boston.

meanwhile, sold out chicago and new york will get another 360 appearance in 2010(maybe even two more).

Posted under concerts, u2
Oct-29-2009

tour’s over

the 2009 u2 tour is over…on a few levels….

but for those who missed it, here’s a full concert from la on youtube! the whole thing!!

get it while it lasts!

see you in 2010!

Posted under u2
Sep-27-2009

at the stadium: u2360 chicago

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as usual, the chicago shows were epic. i came to hear the new tunes, stay and bad….and we got them all!

i’ve come to chicago the past 5 tours dating all the way back to zoo tv in the early 90’s and we’ve always had a great, great time…and the band loves chicago….turning out super unique setlists and gems just for this city. i would almost dare say i would rather see u2 in chicago than in my hometown of new york. luckily, i don’t have to choose.

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we got into the pit both nights…the secret this time around was to not…not…not…i said: not being in the front row. the stage was so high that some complained that after waiting all day, they looked at a wall and only saw the top of the band’s heads!!! and so much happened around the stage that they needed a 360 degree neck to see it all.

so we hung out in the middle of the pit. and sang our innards out.

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but u2 shows for us are not just about music and the band. they are very much about reunions and friends. we take the opportunity every 3-4 years to reconnect with old friends in different cities around the country.

chicago is a homecoming for a lot of my efc friends! this time around efc people came from ny, md, la, chicago and almost vancouver! we missed debby this time around. and we made new friends with rachel, christine, alexi…teaching them our secrets and helping them get closer than they had ever been.

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and are you kidding me??? snow patrol opened for them?? it was 2 concerts in one.

chicago equals epic. these shows renewed my soul again.

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goodbye, chicago. thanks, again. we will see you soon. don’t you, forget about me(us)

Posted under chicago, u2
Sep-10-2009

world tour countdown

this video resonates with me on a few levels: live!, u2, (singing)the beatles, our jokes about adam playing/not playing(he’s shooting this video???), the blackbird-fly, getting up close, touring….and of course…in 3 days. or less.

Posted under u2