U2 360 Rose Bowl

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As always, an evening with U2 is a bit of a religious experience, a communal give and take between the band and the audience. It’s arguable that any stadium show is too big and the case can be made for that with the current 360 Tour, but with its open architecture and in-the-round feel, it’s hard to imagine anybody being able to bring the show closer to the masses than this outing. Unfortunately, this tour suffers from having to support U2’s weakest effort since Pop and the inclusion of six of No Line On The Horizon’s songs seemed only able to dampen the energy stoked by the show’s best moments: a cathartic Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, furnace-hot Vertigo, funky Elevation and one of the more moving takes on One that I’ve heard live in awhile. Hard to say why the band continues to flog With or Without You since Bono seems so uninterested to the point of barely bothering to sing it. The true star of the 360 show is the stage, the well-documented and discussed Claw that manages to put all the stadium-show superstructure up out of the way, on top of four legs, allowing for a 360 degree view (or pretty close) in the vast setting. It’s every surface lights up, pulses, expands and contracts; concentric rings allow some of the audience up close while also bringing the band members within reach even to the 50 yard line. An incredible 550,000 pixel, 880 light LED array brings sharp live images to a round screen over head that expands downward making a screen twice its size. There’s even a disco ball at the very top, 179 feet above the ground. Band? What band?

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Our vantage point near one of the rear legs gave us a good look at the behind the scenes and an up-close-and-personal view of the scale of this endeavour. We were also just above the VIP tunnel and got to wave at a number of celebrities as they came out before U2’s set. Among them: Pierce Brosnan, Barbra Streisand, Paris Hilton, Ben Stiller, Pau Gasol and Slash (who did a rocked up Sweet Child O’ Mine with openers The Black Eyed Peas). A start-studded event, no doubt.

It was a long day spent at the Rose Bowl but a spirit of positive energy and the immensity of a pure rock and roll show pervaded the Arroyo and for a little while all was good.

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One Response to “U2 360 Rose Bowl”

  1. Paul Stanley Says:

    Too big. Too many people. Sensory overload. Wanton excess. Let us not forget, they’re four veeeeerrrrrryyyyyy wealthy men up there, singing about inequality, injustice and the experience of the common man. It must be very easy looking down from that great height.

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