Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

U2 played live for the world, were you listening?

October 26, 2009

bonoU2 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 onfan 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-edgeThe 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?

Comments

I have to say that I stayed up for the You Tube webcast last night from Pasadena and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the proceedings. I am gone beyond lining up all day for live concerts, being manhandled by over zealous security people and then having drunken fans fall over themselves on the way to the can whilst one of your most favoured songs is in full throttle. That is why I swerved going to the summer gigs to see them in person. I also enjoyed rolling into bed a few seconds after the show rather than the dreaded trip home on either public transport or busy roads. What was amazing was that viewers on the website could share the experience, broadband internet connection accepted, for free. Pro Bono indeed, although how the impoverished kids in the African plains got on is debatable! The event will probably open up huge opportunities for pay per view webcasting in years to come. Would I have paid for it beforehand? Probably not. Would I pay for it now, having had the experience, most certainly yes. It occured to me that live football on the telly can be equally as exciting as been in a ground at the event. The sound and picture resolution on You Tube was mighty impressive and the site never stalled. What impressed me most was that they made a seemingly plain set of new songs sound richer in the live setting. Although the stage looked silly and the vastness of the platforms made them seem remote to the audience in the stadium it appeared a pretty flawless delivery (although there were technical problems in the stadium for thos who had shelled out up to $250 each) that will probably now help sell their poor selling album, which perhaps set the agenda for the redirected PR machine following poor performances in the charts.

 

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