the ragin asian reviews the U2 concert

april 6th, 2005 was an important day for me for two reasons. first it marks the one year anniversary of bob ngo, the blogger. for that all important historic first post you can click here and see how much of a hack that i've become when it comes to writing.

anyways to celebrate this historic occasion, i went down to LA to see my favorite band in the world, U2 in concert. i got to be honest with ya, i was a little nervous about going to this particular show. one of my greatest fears in life is that U2, in their advanced age for a rock band will turn into the roling stones or the eagles, a walking caricature of themselves and cease to be relevant as a musical force, thereby making me, one of their number one fans, officially old and out of touch with today's music scene. also, while i like the new album quite a bit, i'm almost sure that i would place at least four other of their albums as better. i figured that they would play a lot of the new stuff and then consequently, i would be disappointed that they didn't play some of the songs that i would like to hear. fortunately, i had nothing to worry about since U2 basic blew the roof off of the place.

you can view the whole set list here, cuz i'm just going to hit on some of the evening's highlights. first off, the thing that really stuck out for me from the night was the fact that the edge was OFF HIS ASS. i've always really enjoyed the edge's guitar work and sound, and i've always appreciated that he seemed to play what was perfect for the songs, but tonight, he blew me away both from a technical standpoint, as well the usual artistic soundpoint. i don't know if it was the sound mix or what but i don't think i've ever heard such great guitar work live. during new year's day, they let him take a bit of an extended solo and he really was shredding his fretboard, something that he's really not known for. this was done several times throughout the night. coupled with the exceptional tone he was getting from his rig and it made for a little bit of guitar nirvana.

the whole band actually sounded exceptional that night. i'd go so far as to say that this is the best that i've ever heard them sound musically in the three times that i've seen them. bono of course was the consummate showman. some of his antics included playing the drums during love and peace or else, a rather moving tribute to the pope, donning a dodger's cap, and imploring the crowd to light up the night with their cell phones. but as always, despite his advanced age, his voice is still top notch. the set list was kinda weird in that i was correct in that they didn't play a lot of their usual concert staples such as with or without you, even better than the real thing, and desire. they also didn't play anything off of zooropa or pop life, which i know are albums that everyone else really hates, but there are a few songs on those that i think are quite outstanding songs. there were a lot of deep cuts as well, they played at least three songs off of boy and october aside from sunday bloody sunday and new year's day which was nice. they also played zoo station, the opening song from achtung baby, which was really cool to hear live.

you see the thing with U2 is that everyone always accuses them of selling out and being really pretensious when they do stuff like try to save the world. but seriously, in concert, it still seems really earnest to me. i really believe that bono misses the pope, and that he thinks that the problems in africa are more important than some other issues. in other words, he still moves me in that idealistic/quasi-homoerotic way that rock stars should. and i for one think that makes for a good show.

another interesting thing is that it was a typical LA crowd for anything, a little lacking in enthusiasm...you know, the applause that you usually hear after the encore was a bit lacking, but we made up for it in other ways. something that was really neat i thought was during vertigo, was after bono sings "hello, hello, hello", the whole crowd didn't miss a beat and said in unison, "HOLA!"

lastly, some of you know that i think that there is no greater song to grace the face of the earth than U2's one, and it sounded amazing. bottom line, this is probably the best i've ever seen these guys, which is something considering the circumstances.

one last note from the show before i move on to the next review. during mysterious ways, bono, as he has during the last few tours, brought up a woman from the audience to dance with him. so he's doing his thing with this lady, and somehow a second woman gets on stage. this woman is smoking hot, too and she starts kicking up a notch by doing some really dirty dancing. i mean she's really shaking her money maker out there. even from my vantage point (our seats were behind the stage, a little obstructed by some of the stage props, but still quite good), it was a bit much. so during the guitar solo, bono and the first woman do this fake running away thing from the scary/nasty hot woman. she follows of course, and then i don't quite remember how this happened, but she's still dancing, and then she gets down on her hands and knees, with her ass facing bono and starts backing up while shaking her ass. bono's reaction was kinda funny, in that you could tell, in his head he was thinking, "ok, that's quite enough of this", and he walks back on stage while security gets the lady off stage. without missing a beat, bono sings but in a concilatory manner, the chorus of mysterious ways, "it's all right...it's all right, she moves in mysterious ways", as if explaining to the crowd the behavior of this woman. it was a good time.

anyways, here are the photos that i got from my cell phone camera. they suck, but what do you want, it's a cell phone camera. i could only get pictures of bono. the stage was set up where the spotlights were reflecting off the stage and it was too bright to get a picture of any of the other guys.

i went to see the SFJazz Collective last night, but considering that this post is already quite lengthy, i'll blog about it later tonight.

lastly, i apologize for the untimeliness of my blogging. between the concert, school, going home to texas next week, and something else, i've been super busy lately. the quantity of posts will still be light until another couple of weeks when things hopefully settle down.

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