Sadly for us Californians, U2 did not actually fall into the shining sea; it would have been great if they had, as it would ensure that we could keep them in our neck of the woods for another week (at least!). So this post concludes my trilogy of U2 LA show reviews for the Innocence + Experience tour, and I feel genuinely blessed (I do kneel, by the way), to have been in attendance for three out of the five nights of U2’s Los Angeles residency. Here’s my review of the June 3 show, for what it’s worth.
Unlike May 31st and May 26th before it, I found myself in seats on June 3rd and not regretting it one bit. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing like being in GA, seeing U2 up close in “real life” – plus, the energy of the floor is incredible. If you’ve been there, I don’t have to tell you! But being up in the stands is a pretty great experience too, especially for this tour because of the effects happening on stage. For example, the picture above: For the two nights we were on the floor, my concert companion (that would be Mr. U2 Radio Brook, at least that’s what I’m calling him now) and I were unaware that the lights on the stage were forming an Irish flag, even when we were right on the rail and it was literally a few feet in front of us. So of course, we were blown away when we saw it from our seats on Wednesday night! Another example: From the floor, we had no view whatsoever of the yellow lights forming the “e” on the e-stage. But from the seats, there it was. So if you didn’t make it to GA this time and have seats for your show, my advice is don’t move, don’t talk out of time, don’t worry, everything’s just fine. Just fine!
Here’s the setlist for the June 3rd show, which brought us the first time Volcano and Ordinary Love were played on the tour. I expected a better reception for Volcano, since it seems to be the fave SOI track of many fans (specifically those of the male persuasion). But of course, it sounded great live – and Ordinary Love got quite a response, maybe even a better one. The highlight of the night was a complete surprise to all, including the band, when the mic on Edge’s piano failed to work for Every Breaking Wave and Bono improvised like the white hot pro that he is.
Without missing a beat, he went into stand-up mode: “Four Irish guys walk into a bar…” and the crowd went wild. It was perplexing, amazing fun, and it went on for close to five minutes as Bono scanned the rail, reading fan signs like “Lesbians for Bono” and “87 U2 shows,” saying, “You look about 30 years old – 87 shows?!” When the Elvis impersonator he allowed onstage briefly sang a few bars of “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” there was a glimmer of hope that he might join in, perhaps in Zoo TV falsetto fashion, but it wasn’t meant to be. I guess he wanted that guy to have his moment.
Things got even more exciting when Edge – who had been taking care of biz on his end the whole time, pantomiming with the tech crew as they attempted to fix the problem – walked over to Bono and whispered in his ear. “Okay,” Bono narrated, “You’ll go over there, and I’ll stay here.” So Edge made his way over to the main stage, and Every Breaking Wave was played on an electronic keyboard – but it didn’t matter a bit, because Bono’s voice carried it amazingly and the crowd loved it. One final note: I want to put it out there that One has never sounded better than it does on this tour. This audience – even some of the more annoyingly stale members of the LA crowd – knew the lyrics enough to make this a great closer. When Bono held the mic out, people not only got the lyrics right, but the key as well – the completely different, higher key he uses live. Usually, I think, the less devoted audience will sing the album version of a song like that because they aren’t used to hearing U2 live. Not so with One this time, so yay! It was awesome to see Bono’s emotional response to the fan participation there. For show reviews, that’s it from me until July! See you – some of you – in Boston! Until then, find me on the Twitters doing some live tweets for the first Denver show this weekend.