Entertainment behind the scenes
U2 played live for the world, were you listening?
U2 played live for the world on Sunday night via YouTube.com, and as they were in Hollywood, Bono gave the band a movie star sheen when he introduced each member. He compared drummer Larry Mullen Jr. to James Dean, bassist Adam Clayton to Clark Gable, The Edge to Mr. Spock of “Star Trek” and himself to a mix of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito.
But if the setting was L.A. (Pasadena’s Rose Bowl to be exact), the show’s direction was aimed at a global audience. Before U2 performed “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” images flashed on the screen of green-glad protesters in Iran, some of them stained in blood. The crowd reacted with cheers of support for Iranian dissidents, just as they cheered on Bono’s rendition of “Walk On,” a tribute to Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, later on in the show.
“Thank you America, thank you everyone watching on YouTube on all seven continents,” Bono said at one point in the show, as he acknowledged the global audience that was tuned in for the live Web stream.
U2′s new concert contraption, The Claw, performed without flaw, transporting the band members around on giant moving bridges over the audience, with a huge video screen that slowly expanded and contracted like an accordion.
The big surprise of the show came during the opening act when the Black Eyed Peas brought on former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash to play “Sweet Child of Mine.” Fergie leaned on Slash’s shoulder during a solo, and Will.i.am moved his head to the beat. But anyone hoping to see The Edge and Slash trade licks on stage went home disappointed because that did not happen.
Bono said after U2 took the stage that having the Black Eyed Peas open for the band was like, “Xena the Warrior Princess joins Parliament-Funkadelic.”
The crowd of nearly 100,000 fans at the Rose Bowl sang to their favorite tunes and held up their cell phone lights when asked, first by Will.i.am and later by Bono. On that note, during the sound check a member of the stage crew who introduced himself as “nobody” told the crowd that the reason the live YouTube show was done from Los Angeles is because of the sing-along factor. ”L.A. sings U2 songs better than anyone except my bosses,” the purported U2 employee said. What would Paris or Rome think about that? Or Dublin for that matter?