Sunday, April 17, 2005

Side Stage View of U2 Concert

The U2 concert in the Glendale Arena was amazing. I only knew four of the songs in the two-hour plus set, but after the second song, I told my husband that Bono was awesome. He was involved, engaged the crowd, passionate and unbelievable to watch. Our seats afforded a view of the stage, which extended in a big loop out to the audience, but also all the backstage activities. After the warmup act of "Kings of Leon" (they were unusual, wearing very British shoes and hair, but quite good) a gaggle of roadies descended on the stage. They lowered about 7 light booms, and these guys in parachute gear, climbed on ladders and were raised up again over the stage. There were three stairways leading onto the stage, and each musician had a roadie handling their equipment. A door led out of the arena, and each time it opened, we could see who came in or out. There were 7 huge mixing setups behind the stage. When it came time to start, it went dark, the 3 musicians came out, to be followed by Bono. The crowd got on their feet for the first song "Vertigo" and stayed up, singing every word, for the entire concert.
Well, the guys in the rafters did some pretty great light variations; the stage lit up with lighting that changed colors around the edges; these light curtains came down and displayed walking figures and flags of the world. The roadie for "The Edge" (that is what my husband said the guy's name is) changed instruments for him effortlessly, and in his stocking feet, kept the cords from getting tangled or tripping him. Bono changed jackets once, though I don't know why he didn't just take it off, and put on a police hat and headband/blindfold with religious symbols drawn on it. Much of the banter was politically charged, though there was not much idle chatter, just good rock music.
At one point, Bono was handed the most beautiful, large, green (with gold accents) guitar which he added effortlessly to his singing. Cellphones, which were on, broadcasting the concert to others who were not there, got incorporated into the act as part of the support for the movement. The folks who were seated (or standing) behind the stage were not ignored as they were sung to and got some bows as well. The usher told us there were two encores the previous night, but as "She Moves In Mysterious Ways" went on, Bono told the rest of the band to just stay on stage. So they did, until he was the first to say thank you and good night. He patted "The Edge" on the back and exited the middle stairway. As he left, he was escorted out the door wearing an off-white, light weight robe with a hood. The others followed, one by one, disconnected from their mikes by their respective roadies. "The Edge" got a cold bottle of water from his roadie when he turned in his guitar or bass or whatever it was. Each left in one of those robes with the hood up. Why, I am still wondering? So not to get a chill from being so sweaty? Is it a Zen transition from the concert to a quiet time? Was it to make sure the right people get into the limo or bus before they depart for their next stop? I don't know.
It was a really wonderful concert. I admire that someone can use their position and power to make a difference in the world. It is certainly admirable to try, and, with the devotion displayed by the fans all reaching out to touch Bono, it is even possible.
We did not stay inside long enough to watch the roadies come down from their ceiling perches, but sat in the parking lot long enough for them start packing up for their drive to Denver. I never felt more like that Jackson Browne song, "Won't You Stay?"