U2's Greatest Hits hit me hard tonight - U2 Feedback

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Old 11-14-2001, 06:24 AM   #1
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U2's Greatest Hits hit me hard tonight

So Iím at work today and the buzz is that last nightís U2 show at Staples Center, what we here on Interference would knowingly and matter-of-factly refer to as "LA#1," was, in terms of rock concerts, the greatest and most important thing to hit L.A. since Chai Tea. Three females in our offices went to see the concert, casual fans they were, and here they are today spreading the gospel, telling others how the show was sooooooooo goooooood and saying oh my god, I have to tell you this concert was amazing and so on.

One female friend of mind who works down the hall hunted me down in the afternoon and asked me if I was going to see either of the remaining L.A. shows. I explained that, yes, I would see the band next Monday, and this weekend Iím also going to Vegas to see them at the Thomas & Mack Center. She begged me to find her a ticket to Mondayís show. I was somewhat amused because prior to today when I had mentioned to her that I would be attending a couple of the upcoming U2 shows, she was rather ho-hum about the whole thing. In fact, by today she had almost completely forgotten that Iím a fan of the band. But then she remembered and asked me about tickets. So I told her, what the hey, Iíd try to dig one up for her.

Soooooo, anyhoo, upon hearing the reviews of my friends at work, I began mulling the possibility of attending tonightís show (LA#2). It helped that a local radio talk show host was today waxing poetic about LA#1, and telling his listening audience that out of the hundreds of concerts heís seen, he believes last night's U2 show was the best of Ďem all. Ever. (Apparently, he was a casual fan before last night. So many of Ďem are. **sigh** *shakes head*).

I couldnít help it, I had to at least try to get a ticket for tonight. So after work I drove down to Staples Center and started asking the scalpers if they had something theyíd sell me cheap just so I could get in the building. I set a spending limit of sixty dollars, sixty that I didnít really want to spend, sixty that -- if I were responsible and prudent -- I probably wouldn't have spent.

After talking to a gaggle of scalpers (or maybe they were a brood), I got a ticket in Section 207 for exactly $60, a ticket that at face value plus service charges costs $101. Not bad. But still, I spent the goddamn sixty bucks. How compulsive of me. How irresponsible.

These scalpers crack me up. Theyíve always got their sob story that youíre taking Ďem for a ride Ďcause youíre not even giving them face value for the ticket. Yes, Iím sure theyíre going broke. (Tonight in front of Staples Center, and not ten feet to my right, a scalper unwittingly dropped a bill on the ground. He was in the middle of a sale and was talking with his customer, kept walking and had no idea he dropped anything. Once I realized it was money, I figured it probably a $20 bill. Much to my surprise, I picked it up and saw that it was a $100 greenback. Jaysus, Joseph and Mary. I watched the clueless scalper walk further away with his client, then I went after him and gave him the money.

So, I get into the arena. Iím happy. Not ecstatic, though. I was actually a little depressed because, again, I had just dropped another $60 on a U2 ticket, which may not seem like much -- but tickets for the Vegas show and LA#3 are costing me a total of $200, and that doesnít count food, lodging and the partying that I am sure to do in Sin City.

No Doubt came on and they were pretty good. Played all their hits. Frankly, though, I donít think their act translates that well to an arena. I think theyíre the type of band thatís much better suited to an amphitheatre-sized venue. Although, if I had been in the Heart Iím sure I would have felt differently.

No Doubtís set ended. Cue music under the crowd noise while U2ís guitar techs go about their tuning. Then, finally, when the guitars are ready, the soundboard guy cranks up "All You Need is Love," and my blood started pumping a bit. I thought, geez, this is the song they played right before the boys took the stage on the Joshua Tree tour. I had seen the JT show at the L.A. Coliseum.

Then came Sgt. Pepperís and it worked really well --- sounded as though it were written for just this occasion -- and the crowd in the Heart was into it, waving their arms back and forth and singing along. The moment Influx kicked in, I suddenly felt like my $60 was pretty well spent.

The thing that struck me immediately when U2 broke into Elevation was that this band is still incomparable to any other Iíve ever seen.

How do they do it? How do Bono and his chums fill up an entire arena with sound, beauty and power, in a way I imagine no other band can match? How do they continue to blow me away?

Iíve been bitching, moaning, crying, complaining, nagging and making a general ruckus about what I have viewed as U2ís "going through the motions" when they play the old hits, namely I Will Follow, New Years Day, Sunday Bloody Sunday and Pride. Hell, during the first leg of Elevation, I even took an informal poll about the Hits here on Interference. I asked first-time U2 concergoers if they liked the performances of these songs live. Most said yes, but I still had my doubts.

I am happy to report, though, that New Years Day was beautiful tonight. It truly was played as well as U2 can play it. Sunday Bloody Sunday was sung with passion and intensity as well. Hell, there were moments during both songs where the bandís sound and Bonoís voice hearkened back to Red Rocks. It was such a joy to hear All I Want is You. My eyes welled up a bit toward the end of Where the Streets Have No Name... I was truly moved. Bullet the Blue Sky rocked the ceiling, and New York was inspired, uplifting and energized (and yes the staging counts for a lot).

I remember looking at the band tonight, and realizing that close to 10 years ago I was standing in the San Diego Sports Arena watching Bono playing the role of "Mirror Ball Man" while so many video screens attacked and delighted the senses of my friends and I. I thought about the fact that at the beginning of an equal span of time prior to that, Bono and Co. were just beginning their rise to fame in the States. They were boys.

I then realized that looking 10 years forward from now, U2 will be in a different place, as different as tonightís show was from the Zoo TV era.

Why did I compulsively spend that $60 tonight? It was sixty dollars I probably should have held onto, if I were a reasonable and responsible guy.

The answer is, Iím enjoying the band as much as I can right nowÖ because time flies.

And, I dunno, it just felt really good being irresponsible tonight.


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Old 11-14-2001, 07:09 AM   #2
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Old 11-14-2001, 11:54 AM   #3
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You've made me even more excited to see them at LA3!!!! (and you give me hope for getting a decent ticket in Dallas as well)

CANNOT WAIT. 14 years is long enough!!!
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Old 11-14-2001, 12:10 PM   #4
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I was in the heart last night and couldn't agree more with your review!

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