Monday, June 13, 2011

How was the concert?

A: It was amazing.

That is how this exchange is supposed to go right?  It's like Q: How are you?  A: I'm fine.  It's a good way to ask a question that you don't really want an interesting answer to...

However; How was the U2 concert? 
Why I am so glad you asked!

Last week I went to my third U2 concert.  My first was in Louisville KY 2001, then in Oakland CA, 2005... Where to even begin about what it is like to attend a U2 concert?  I suppose part of it is linked to the connection I have with their music.  If you know me, you know that they are my favorite band and have been since about 1993.  Are they my favorite band because their concerts are so special or are their concerts so special because they are my favorite band?  I'd like to think that the two are not mutually exclusive.

The beauty of a U2 concert is unique.  U2 is not just about the music.  Each of the U2 shows I've been to, I've been far far in the back... they are usually a centimeter high from my perspective and yet they manage to make the place feel full.  The use of multi-media as a fifth member of the band helps. This tour features a giant 360º LED screen that expands and changes height.  The screen helps add elements that could not otherwise be achieved in mere reality.  What other rock group could/would integrate astronauts in their rock show?

Astronaut Mark Kelly did this for Oakland (and probably other cities on the tour... but we went crazy when this came up)

What other group could/would take down the audience to discuss matters of humanitarian importance?  I had no idea about the prisoners of conscience in Myanmar, now I do.  Every show is a teaching opportunity for the band who spend a lot of their non-rock-band time in humanitarian efforts.
U2 will build you up, will play you the greatest song you can imagine (yes this is a biased opinion I know), but then they want you to think about your privilege, to think about the suffering in the world and to do something about it.  Every show I see they are grateful for the crowd, grateful for their careers and mindful of others.  Every show, they thank the audience for being there.  They are not spoiled rock stars.  At this concert Bono thanked us for our patience (we did wait an extra year to see this because of Bono's injury last summer, it has been two years since the tickets originally went on sale).  Because of this thought provocation, every show is filled with happy, mindful and friendly people.
After the show, at least half of the Coliseum funneled back to BART (our rapid transit) in a sea of people... you will never see a happier mob in your life.  At the end there were people keeping others from loosing keys, clearing the way for those on crutches, fun banter with strangers and no panicked pushing (gentle pushing maybe). In any other crowd I would probably have been fully freaked out.
I do get out to see concerts whenever I can, but there is nothing like a U2 show.



I'm with you on U2. Best band ever. I was horrified a couple of months ago when I quoted a U2 song to a group of junior highers and none of them knew who U2 was. How can that be?

al'xae said...

Perfect time for education! I didn't discover them until Jr-high-ish (yes I lived in a cave for most of my childhood)