Tag Archives: U2

One last look back at 2011

Here’s my 2011 list of concerts.  A little shorter than some years, but I had a lot of work distractions in the past year, so it’s actually a pretty good tally all things considered.  There’s a lot of quality there and a few once in lifetime shows.  I’ll make a few individual notes where appropriate  (But, of course there’s a review of each if you’re so inclined to read more.

Phil Vassar – A nice little private show at the PCMA conference for people with a CMP designation.  Fun and loose show.

Robert Randolph & the Family Band

Chromeo – A bit of a letdown, but I’m still hoping to see them again and see how they evolve.

Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine

Delgado Brothers

Jeff Beck & Imelda May – Once in a lifetime and one of the best shows I saw all year.

Prince – Another show that for all the hype was a bit of letdown.

Doheny Blues Fest – Tedeschi/Trucks, John Fogerty, Experience Hendrix, Mavis Staples, The Blasters, Funky Meters, Big Head Blues Club, (Plus others) – Two great days on the beach.  A couple misses, but mostly hits. Tedeschi/Trucks being the very best of day 1 and the Blasters the best of Day 2

KSBR Birthday Bash – Brenda Russell, Kieko Matsui, Brian Bromberg, Dan Siegel, (Plus others) – A really cool gift from my friend Eliott.

Eels – Confounding and complex.  It was great in some very unexplainable ways.

U2 & Lenny Kravitz (2x) – Night 2 was the better of the two nights, both were strong but night 2 has the edge (pun intended).

Weird Al

Kansas & Blue Oyster Cult – Not very good, one of the most disappointing shows of the year for me.

Rock Candy Funk Party – Going back in January, a top five evening and surprisingly it’s not once in a lifetime, looking forward to it very much.

Barenaked Ladies – Good, but not great.  More and more I miss Stephen Page.

Return to Forever & Zappa Plays Zappa – I’d say that along with Jeff Beck this were the most amazingly talented musicians I saw all year…or in many years.

Frank Turner – My best find of 2011.  Seeing him in February once again!

Fountains Of Wayne – I wanted this to be better, bit it wasn’t up to the pervious levels I’d seen them perform at.

Airborne Toxic Event – Another cool find of 2011 and this was the Filmore show in SF that was really cool.

Big Head Todd w/Ruthie Foster and Charlie Musselwhite – Again, a sort of letdown show and slightly disappointing overall.

Airborne Toxic Event, Tokyo Police Club, Built to Spill – Good headliner, the rest of the bill was hit and miss.

Bob Segar – Just reviewed, the man still has it!  Great show.

So there you have it.  My 2011 in a nutshell.

Looking ahead to 2011 I already have four shows slated.  Joe Bonamassa, Frank Turner, Social Distortion and Roger Waters.  Plus, I know Springsteen is touring.  So, lots to be excited about in the coming year.  Thanks as always for reading!  Happy New Year!


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U2 – Anaheim Stadium – June 18, 2011

Back for the second night, there were lots of changes.  I went with my friend and co-worker Mike who flew in from Oakland.  We had a podcast to record earlier in the day which kept us on the run from the time he landed.  We dropped by a near to the stadium pub called the Auld Irisher and raised a Guinness in toast.  About then, my phone rang…

I hadn’t mentioned it to too many folks, but a friend of mine is friends with the Lighting Director for U2.  I’d put out a feeler to see if we could interview him for the podcast and he had time while Lenny Kravitz was doing his sound check.  We quickly finished our beers and drove to the stadium to park.  I wish I could tell you about some grand opportunity, that he took us backstage, etc…

But, in reality…we sat on a planter outside of Gate 3 and talked with him for about a half an hour about the show, the design, how to engage a crowd….stuff that would be mundane to many reading this.  But, was thrilling for me.  I’m fascinated by the “machinery” behind concert tours and this fellow has done some of the biggest ever….The Rolling Stones 40 Licks, U2 (of course) and many other really cool well regarded shows/tours like My Chemical Romance, Return to Forever and Fall Out Boy.  It was very cool for him to take time to chat and you’ll be able to find the interview int he next day or two on our company podcast site: http://www.meetingspodcast.com

We went inside and found my friend Wayne and his wife and chatted away the rest of the time before the show started.

Kravitz once again was out first.  But, to somewhat better effect.  The sound was measurably better than the early train wreck of the day before.  His set both nights ended up being better than I had anticipated.  I may not rush for tickets the next time he hits town, but I gained some respect or his music and the many hits he’s had a hand in.  Nice call as an opener.

U2 opened with “Even Better Than the Real Thing” once again, but the second song was a surprising turn to “The Fly” that carried into a very nice versions of both “Mysterious Ways” and “Until the End of the World”.  Then, things got very interesting….

Up next was the usually encore (or set closing) paring of “One” and “Where the Streets Have No Name”.  A cursory look through the U2 website revealed (as far I can see) that’s a first for this tour and the past three years.  And I totally dug it.  I really thought it brought the set alive and for all of us who’d seen the show tossed everything in the air.  From there on who knew what they might play.  With the crowd thus energized, the band went back to “I Will Follow” which had been performed the night before, but as the second song of the night.  It’s funny how swapping two songs could change the whole context of the show.  But, somehow it did.  The songs that followed were mostly the same with “Stuck in a Moment” stepping into the acoustic slot of “Stay…” from the night before.  While many were happy to hear “Stay…”, I;m more of a fan of the Elevation album and loved having “Stuck in a Moment” as an addition.

One nice touch both nights was the video written about extensively of Mark Kelly quoting David Bowie about his wife and then singing a verse of “Beautiful Day” with the band.  I wasn’t sure what to expect for an encore, but they played a somewhat conventional  (by 360 tour standards) of “Ultraviolet”, “With or Without You” and “Moment of Surrender” to close.

A very nice moment at the end was the bands tribute to Clarence Clemons who had died earlier in the day.  After brief remarks to intro the song, Bono stepped behind the amps and asked a roadie for something.  A short time later he was handed a paper which he read from to close the song.

Outside the streets on fire in a real death waltz
Between flesh and what’s fantasy and the poets down here
Don’t write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be
And in the quick of the night they reach for their moment
And try to make an honest stand but they wind up wounded, not even dead
Tonight in jungleland

He repeated them a second time once the band had ended, then wished us goodnight and then they walked from the stage.

Here it is:

Of the two nights, I preferred the second.  Swapping a few songs, changing the pacing and then a tribute to Clarence brought it into the realm of legendary in my mind.  I think that when I look back years from now, night two will be the one that sticks in my mind.



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U2 – Anaheim Stadium – June 17, 2011

I’ve been a bit neglectful of the blog for a few weeks due to work, travel and general craziness.  So, I owe a review of the Eels from June 1st.  But, the long awaited return of U2 to Southern California happened tonight…and I just can’t ignore it or delay the review.

The media preached about horrible gridlock and to stay away from the area or arrive early.  The only horrible thing I saw was the jacked up parking prices.  An Angels game is usually $12…tonight it was $25…and the surrounding lots sensing blood in the water were all between $20 an $30 to park.  Wanting to actually be able to afford dinner, I opted (along with my stepson Dan) to park a couple miles away and ride our bikes to the stadium via the river trail.  An excellent plan that was only hampered by my breaking a spoke as we reached the parking lot.  That lead to a very wobbly ride back after the show…but, it still only took 20 minutes and saved us almost the cost of dinner.

Parking and transport aside, we arrived perfectly early and met my friend Dave and his wife Karen who had opted to ride their motorcycle in and avoid the worst of the traffic themselves.  We had a quick bite and settled in for Lenny Kravitz.

First off…what a horrid sound mix.  The first song was so bad it was rendered almost unintelligible…it improved and the engineer dialed it in a bit, but never really cleaned it up to where it was clean and well rounded.  Kravitz was one of the “oh, he did that too….” acts.  Lots of stuff I’d forgotten it was him.  A few new (I think) cuts.  But, his 45 minute set hit the high points….”Fly Away”, “Let Love Rule”, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” and his cover of “American Woman”.  His only misstep seemed to be choosing to try and engage the audience to sing along to “Let Love Rule”…it was a U2 crowd and I don’t think the majority of the audience had a clue to the lyrics….”American Woman” or “Fly Away” would have both been easier for the crowd to latch onto.  Not a bad opener, just not a challenging one…I’d have loved to have Snow Patrol, Muse or Florence and the Machine who all have opened shows on this tour for U2.

Speaking of U2:

Here's my view for the show

It was a very different show from the Rose Bowl in 2009.  If one can call any stadium show “intimate”, it would be this one.  Somehow the gestures felt less over the top and the scale felt more human.  The set list was very different as well.  Four songs from No Line on the Horizon remained in the set.  “Magnificent”, “I’ll Go Crazy”, “Get on Your Boots” and the set closing “Moment of Surrender”.

Songs that were eliminated: “Breathe”, “Unknown Caller” (sadly since it was a song that really came to life at the Rose Bowl when played live), “In a Little While”, “MLK”, “Stuck in a Moment”…and maybe the biggest omission of all…”I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”….(Seems a huge miss to eliminate that, but overall Joshua Tree was very ignored this time around).

The set opened with a double blast of “Even Better Than the Real Thing” and “I Will Follow” in the same order as the Rose Bowl show, “Get on Your Boots”/”Magnificent”/”Mysterious Ways”.

There was a nice moment with Bono and the Edge doing an acoustic version of “Stay (Faway, So Close)” that lead to a sublime “Beautiful Day” and then “Pride (In the Name of Love)” which was dedicated to Maria Shriver who he said was in attendance tonight.

“Miss Sarajevo” and “Zooropa” were solid in the middle of the set, leading to a pair of Vertigo songs, “City of Blinding Lights” and “Vertigo”.  The set closed with a salute to the now freed Ann Suu Kyi and a plea for the other political prisoners in Burma to be freed.  During the encore break they played a video of her thanking U2 fans and leading into a great double punch of “One” and “Where the Streets Have No Name”.

The last encores were “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me”, “With or Without You” and ending with “Moment of Surrender”.

The biggest thing I noticed tonight, aside from the cool technical parts.  Was how music from a specific time or place seems to resonate back so clearly.  Elevation was released during a rough time or me, and that somehow gave the songs from that album a greater impact to move me.  “Beautiful Day” and “Walk On” were both able to bring a hint of tear to my eye, simply because of the association with that time….and they were both damn good versions.  But, so was “I Will Follow” and it didn’t hit me in the same way.

The fellow next to me had gone to his first concert and seen them on the Joshua Tree tour in the 80’s.  He’d flown in with his wife from Austin to see the show and see So Cal.  The couple on the other side had also seen them previously back when they were in high school, I noticed that we all reacted slightly more or less to different songs.  Which I assume links back to life experiences and the way we each connected different songs into the fabric of out lives.  I guess that’s another cool thing about live music.  50,000 people there tonight all had a unique and different experience even from the folks who were standing right next to them.

A  great show and wonderful time…even with the struggle back to the car on a wobbly wheel with a broken spoke.

Tomorrow night I’ll see them one more time on this tour, and a week from tonight, I have friends who will see them at Glastonbury…I envy them that experience, but I can’t complain.  I got a darn good show and didn’t have to buy camping gear this time.

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U2 pt.II

So, the other shoe dropped today and U2 cancelled for Glastonbury.  The Anaheim shows are off too, but should be rescheduled in 2011 it’s been announced.  So, where does that leave us?

Still lots of rampant speculation.

My gut feeling says Coldplay is still likely to step in.

But, it’s been reported by the BBC that Jimmy Page was asked if Led Zeppelin might consider stepping in.  His reply was “I wouldn’t rule it out”…Hummmm, quite cagey really, it leads to lots of attention and speculation without actually answering the question.  Could they play?  Would they play?

Just in case I blasted the Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker and Black Dog really loud on the way home from work tonight.  (I figure that it never hurts to try and appease the “Gods of Rock” once in a while…maybe they’ll deliver a gift in return?)

Hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new land,
To fight the horde, sing and cry: Valhalla, I am coming!

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Clashfinders and my Friday “Must See” List

…this is not about the band Joe Strummer used to be in….

Something new I’ve discovered as I’ve researched my upcoming Glastonbury trip is a “Clashfinder”.  Basically someone takes all the bands that are listed as playing and makes a huge grid so you can feel even worse about all the people that you won’t have time to see in a day.

This one is a pretty awesome site:


Anyway, I started filling on out tonight to try and make some sense out of who are my “must sees”, “maybe sees” and my “avoid at all costs”…(see: Snoop Dog for one example of the latter…)

Anyway, I’m told that you do  ton of planning and then likely end up throwing the list away and listening to some random band from that catches your ear (after multiple drinks, I’m told many of the bands increase suddenly their appeal immensely, as does the appeal of not walking far).

But, the list is nice to refer back to when you want to verify exactly who you missed that day.

So, on Friday my list starts off with a TBA…But, it’s the opening of the biggest stage on the 40th anniversary…so, it has to be good…(one rumor is Coldplay…and another is Rolf Harris, so God only knows who or what may show up?)  After that there is a wide open space of time that will allow me to wander and get my bearings…maybe to “West Holts Stage” for Mariachi El Bronx?  (Mariachi music by a punk band?…cool

Around 3:30 I guess I’ll have to head over and hear Wille Nelson, just one of those odd chances to hear a legend that I’m unlikely to go see a full concert from here at home.  But, as mentioned before I am duty bound to flee that stage before Mr. Dogg “performs”.  Leaving me to maybe head over and see the end of Phoenix and then LaRoux.  I could split early and try for Vampire Weekend or Breakestra, but if it’s good may just stay right on through Florence and the Machine.

Then comes my only really “must see” so far….Hot Chip…discovered these guys because of the festival and really liking their new CD that I bought.  If they don’t sound good live, I can always pop away and try to catch Mumford and Sons…(but, since I can see them at Hop Farm it’s not vital on this day.)

They finish and leave me with my one last clash of the day.  U2 or Flaming Lips?

Everyone says I should like the Flaming Lips, everyone says they are amazing live, the cover they did of Dark Side of the Moon is cool.  But, I just can’t seem to warm to them as much as I’d like to try.

U2 on the other hand I will have just seen twice in Anaheim before I leave on the trip, and I’ve seen them four times.  Do I go for “art” and see the Lips?  Or, do I go for one of my all time favorites who may do an epic one off set on the first festival they have played since the early 80’s?

Or, do I wander off and hear “The Bootleg Beatles” or Fatboy Slim?

It may be a decision made on the spot, and  coin flip may be involved….


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My Concert Agenda for London

Well, since this is going to be a trip mostly about seeing concerts, I now have most of my shows scheduled and tickets bought…Only one more show to still book, and more about that later.

The Plan:

June  19 – Richard Thompson – “1000 years of popular song”.  I have the CD of this show he did a few years back.  He touches on songs from the 12th century right on up to Bowling for Soup.  This is part of the Meltdown Festival at the Royal Festival Hall and he’s one of those guys who somehow I’ve missed each time he’s passed through town.  Critically, he’s names as one of the top 20 all time guitarists.

June 20 – Elvis Costello – Solo Acoustic. Also part of Meltdown.  Really, what can you say about him?  Plus, seeing him in London…should be awesome!

June 23-27 – Glastonbury….MUCH more about this later…

June 29 – Jackson Browne & David Lindley.  Found a great single floor seat for Royal Albert Hall when I get back from Glasto.  They are playing twice at the festival, but knowing I can see them here will free me up for others acts at the festival itself and reduces my potential clash list of bands by one.

June 30 – Jack Johnson at O2 Arena.  Another show I found a great single for.  Love his music and never seen him live.  He’s also playing Glastonbury, but for the reasons above, knowing I’ll see him in London takes another potential conflict away at Glasto.

July 1 – Laura Marling – Serpentine Sessions in Hyde Park.  Honestly, don’t know much about her, but the little I’ve heard puts her into the Regina Spektor, Imogen Heap class.  Close to my hotel (short walk) and I’ve always wanted to see a show in Hyde Park.  She’s also at Glasto and Hop Farm.  But, the setting of Hyde Park is too cool to pass up.  Support acts still to be named…so many be Mumford & Sons who record with her?  One can only hope…

July 2 – Hop Farm with Van Morrison!  Just amazing…a chance to see Van in the UK at a really interesting sounding smaller festival.  Still no idea who else will be playing, but Van is enough draw to get me out there…

July 3 – Hop Farm day 2…No ticket yet, but leaning this way.  Bob Dylan, Ray Davies top the bill….pretty sure I’ll end up going to this.

A small gap with the potential to see Dr John, CSN or Buddy Guy…still not nailed down…and I may need a night off…:)

July 6 – My last night- Jools Holland at Kew Gardens.  An outdoor show in a botanical garden with one of my favorite bands that never tours the US.  A suitable way to wrap three full weeks of music.

So, there you have it.  Less than three weeks that includes pretty much a who’s who of the rock and roll hall of fame (U2, Stevie Wonder, Ray Davies, Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan) my favorite songwriters (Squeeze, Nick Lowe, Al Stewart, Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson, David Lindley) and newcomers that I’m enjoying already (Muse, Midlake, Hot Chip, Magic Numbers, Imelda May, Laura Marling)…and all to be seen live and in person in less than 20 days in the UK!

WOW, am I excited?…a little, just a little….

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