Excl: U2 in L.A., on YouTube Last Night

 

In which we infiltrate the press box at
the Rose Bowl and live to tell about it…

 

By Gil Macias

 

A band selling
out the Rose Bowl is something not heard of very often these days. U2 are
probably one of the only few acts that can pull this off – -and they did. The
Irish juggernauts played a historic show in Pasadena, California
last night and packed in a 95,000-plus-crowd. Hordes of fans who had general
admission floor tickets arrived hours early, baking in the sun, a price
well-worth getting a spot up close to the Irish quartet.

 

U2 are
well-known for their huge concert spectacles and enormous stage set-ups, but
this latest one is not only one of their finest, but it is something that is
right out of a sci-fi movie. It’s some sort of cross between a rocket launchpad
and one of the tripods from War of the
Worlds
, only with a fourth leg. But no matter how elaborate and distracting
the stage might sound, it never draws your attention away from Bono and the
gang. There is always something unique in the air whenever U2 plays–an energy
and connection with the audience that can be felt by new and old fans alike. Bono
commands the stage and has an amazing stage presence that not all band leads
can pull off. There were moments in the show, for example during “I Still
Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” where Bono goes silent during the chorus,
and the audience turns into a gigantic choir. It’s truly something that needs
to be experienced in person, fan or not.

 

One minor beef
that some might have with the show is the setlist. When you’re a band with 30
years of material, of course, not everyone is going to hear their favorite U2
song. While Bono’s voice soared as gracefully as ever, and the band never
missed a beat, the setlist can best be described as “safe” and “radio
friendly.” Shockingly, it was dominated by material from the band’s three most
recent albums. The 24-track setlist only contained 6 songs from the ‘80s, and
only 4 from the ‘90s. Albums Zooropa and Pop were completely ignored. Notably
absent were songs like “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “New Years Day,” and “I
Will Follow.” However it was nice that the band treated the crowd to two
not-so-popular songs like “Ultraviolet” and “The Unforgettable Fire.” When you
talk to U2’s wide range of fans, opinions on which era of the band are the best
and which albums should and shouldn’t be ignored vary quite drastically, but in
the end, there is no denying that U2 remain one of the greatest rock bands of
all time.

 

As for the
setlist… You be the judge. What they played:

 

Breathe
Get on Your Boots
Magnificent
Mysterious Ways
Beautiful Day
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Stuck In A Moment
No Line on the Horizon
Elevation
In A Little While
Unknown Caller
Until The End of the World
Unforgettable Fire
City of Blinding Lights
Vertigo
I’ll Go Crazy – Remix
Sunday Bloody Sunday
MLK
Walk On
One
Where The Streets Have No Name

Ultraviolet
With or Without You
Moment of Surrender

 

[Photo via 360 Tour archive]

 

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