Making The Unfabulous Forum Really Fabulous… The Utter And Astounding Magic Of U2

So let me just say it… the new Forum sucks. I prefer the old Forum. I have been there three times now, and am not impressed… and what blew me away last night was U2. Emotionally, musically and technically… They should be designing the audio and visuals for every single arena… everywhere!!!

I’ll get my griping out-of-the-way, and move on to the mind-blowing, joyous, Rock n’ Roll show that will melt your face… and your mind.

The parking… a rip off at $20… and the people they have at the end “directing traffic” is like the blind leading those who have NO IDEA how to drive.  Couple that with the jerks and the timid, non-aggressive drivers and add in the kids with colored flashlights who have no spatial conception or any idea how to take 20 lanes and merge them into ONE. They were basically just moving their lights back and forth as they talked to each other, utterly clueless.

The food… In a word… disgusting… and expensive… And while the employees are all really nice, the wait times are ridiculous and the lines drift into the walkways which are crammed and ill-designed.

The bathrooms… huge, but equal opportunity waits, as the women AND THE MEN had lines up the stairs and out the door. Thanks to the one security woman who lead a group of us guys to an outside and fairly empty restroom.

The seats… narrow on the sides… and in front… BANG! Ouch, there go my knees.

The floors… I kid you not, the “stick” in our row was so strong it felt like we were Crazy Glued to the floor… Dancing? Almost involved twisted ankles. Seriously.

The sound… If you sit above the speakers, which we did for Fleetwood Mac, it is horrible and sounds terribly muffled…

Which brings me to U2… who created and brought their own sound system… and it is MAGNIFICENT!!!

Crystal clear and loud enough without blowing out my ear drums… And the visuals… Stunning… mind-blowing… and created a multi-media experience like no other.

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U2 – Live At The Forum (May 26, 2015) – Opening Night In LA
This is what a rock band is… This is what a rock band does.

Bono can sometimes be a little… well… too much… But he is a true Rock Star in every sense and idea of the word.  He commands the stage and when he moves or speaks or does anything, you have no choice but to take notice… Iconic, powerful, hypnotic… and while he can be preachy, he can also make fun of himself for it. And the fact remains, that he DOES make a difference in the world… and he DOES use his pulpit well.

Each and every band member probably covered a few miles as they moved from end to end… side to side… up and down… It was beyond expectation and something I have not seen, to this extent… well… EVER!

The Edge is just the coolest cat in the room, and you realize the leaps and jumps he has taken as a musician. He plays like a M—– F—–, but also gets sounds out of his instrument that had never been heard of before him… He is a master innovator and the joy with which he plays… watching the music take over his body… is joyous for the audience. This is what Rock n’ Roll does.

I noticed Adam a lot more on this tour… and not just because he was on “our side”… but because he seemed more vibrant than I have ever seen him.

They just looked like they were having the times of their lives… and I hope that there are no stories of secret hate and in-fighting…

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Larry was also on fire… and had drum kits on the satellite stage and on the riser… as well as a few traveling pieces.  This was a whole band effort and not at all just a two-man show.

This was a spectacle… this was visual and moving and breathtaking… This is the kind of show you just don’t want to end… and there are so many things going on at the same time… so many things flashing by you, that a repeat show, or three… would only add to the magic!

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The mix and integration of the live show, live video and animation is mind blowing. Yes, that is live Bono walking down an animated version of his street. While we understand the technology and appreciate it for what it is, watching the elements come alive so seamlessly and perfectly is astounding… miraculous… and a hell of a lot of fun. There is always something to see and hear… to the left, to the right… in front of you… above you… below you… The way the cameras and crew move… Stunning. Not sure about Bono’s obsession with spitting water on/baptizing the audience… but I am sure those drenched in his backwash and able to get one of the few bottles he tossed out into the crowd feel blessed! Ah, the simple things…

I would easily rank this amongst the best concerts I have EVER seen… and while I still put the Boss firmly at the top of that list, this had some similar spiritual moments… While not quite a “religious experience”, it was moving and got me thinking about my place in the world… and all the good that we as humans could and SHOULD do.

U2 has always had a message… has always had a deep spiritual tint to their music… And of course, have never shied away from politics… But their songs resonate for so many reasons… and most importantly because of their beauty and power… They write great music! If they didn’t we would not be listening for as long as we have. Heck, I first saw this band live in 1984… Yes, the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, with the Waterboys opening… Wow! I am still a huge fan… still love the music… still turn to so many tunes, in good times and bad.

Simply put… U2 rocks. They leave it all out there, on their records and on the stage. Blood, sweat, emotion, passion, connection… U2 is easily one of the greatest Rock n’ Roll bands of all time, and they should always and absolutely be uttered in the same breath as The Beatles, The Who, The Stones, Led Zeppelin, Bruce and the E Street Band.

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Just Look at that visual!!! Phenomenal!!! The staging was brilliant… BRILLIANT!!!

FIRST SET
The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)
The Electric Co. / Send In The Clowns (snippet) / I Can See For Miles (snippet)
Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio? (snippet) / Vertigo
I Will Follow
Iris (Hold Me Close)
Cedarwood Road
Song For Someone
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Raised By Wolves / Psalm 23 (snippet)
Until The End Of The World

SECOND SET
Invisible
Even Better Than The Real Thing
Mysterious Ways / Burning Down The House (snippet) / Young Americans (snippet)
California (There Is No End To Love) / God Only Knows (snippet)
Sweetest Thing
Every Breaking Wave
Bullet The Blue Sky / 19 (snippet)
The Hands That Built America (snippet) / Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Beautiful Day / I Remember You (snippet)
With Or Without You

ENCORE:
City Of Blinding Lights
Mother And Child Reunion (snippet) / Where The Streets Have No Name
California (There Is No End To Love) (snippet)
One / Invisible (snippet)

VERY SAD POST SCRIPT
Literally moments after I posted this, news broke that U2’s longtime tour manager was found dead this morning… Allow me to dedicate the post to his memory, and to the band, who is going to need some amazing emotional strength to perform tonight. This band has been through so much lately, and the fact that they carry on so valiantly is a testimony to the power of the individuals and their music. We need music in times of pain and crisis… and even those who make the music, realize how important playing it becomes. Music gets us through so much.

RIP Dennis Sheehan

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Filed under Live Music Reviews, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

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