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"We still make music for virgins. That is the most powerful moment, the discovery." -- Bono, 2005

by Victor Yu

Review: U2: Glendale, AZ 4/14/05 @ Glendale Arena

The night before I went to the venue around 11pm to scope it out, and was able to drive freely aroundonly when I got to the back loading docks did security chase me away. Since I was actually on venue property and not across the street, I didnt see the line of rabid U2 fans who had already queued up overnight.

The next day I got to the arena around 6am-ish. There were 4 fans there from Juarez, Mexico and some security guy said that we couldnt line up right outside the general admission doors, but we could around parking lot G. We went there for a few minutes and after realizing we were the only 5 in line (and 4 of us werent even from this country!), I decided something was off. I went to the security office in the northwest corner and was told there what the folks from the previous night (unbeknownst to me) had been told until 9am the day of show, no one could park or wait on venue property. This meant we had to go across the street, park in a residential neighborhood, and wait on the sidewalk. When we got there, the standard practice of signing up in a notebook and writing your numerical place in line on your hand with a Sharpie was already being implemented. Obviously these were big U2 fans and everyone was down with this honor system. Around 9am-ish we went over to the building and lo and behold, yet another group was already in line. They had been told by yet another security person that they could line up at the actual doors starting at ~8:30am. Huh?

Then the unpleasantness began. The screaming and yelling between some of the folks in the 2 lines of fans. The swearing at each other. For 1 thing, it was too dang hot to argue (the day peaked at around 95 degrees, no cloud cover, no wind). For another thing, thats not how U2 fans are supposed to treat each other. I really expected better of these folks. I talked to about 4 security managers, including the head of venue security. All had different answers to the same questions, except for 2 things which they agreed upon: (1) They had never heard of the above-mentioned self-policing fan line, and while they respected it, (2) They werent going to honor it. Scott (from U2 security) was at this point in the building and had been apprised of the situation. We were told that if he wanted it, venue security would honor the fan line order. Unfortunately, it never happened. Instead, people randomly jockeyed for position when they began forming the 2 lines for fan club people and the general public. (To be fair to the venue security folks, they did openly admit that the whole thing was their responsibility, and therefore, their fault, and promised that they fix it for Friday 4/15s show. I asked why they didnt have 1 written policy, have it communicated to all security staff, and then posted on the door of the venue for the publicno one could answer me.)

About 2pm I got sick of standing around in line and took a walk around the venue. In the back area a small of crowd of fans were waiting for U2 members to arrive and possibly autograph things. (The venue has a long, 3-story ramp that is gated off and which is the only way to access the loading/artist-entry area, so if you want to meet anyone you need to be at the gatehouse where the ramps mouth is at street level). Around 3/3:30pm-ish, Adams car arrived and went straight down the ramp. About an hour later he was driven back up (supposedly to get dinner) and stopped for not quite 10 minutes to autograph things. I got a hinky feeling about how everyone was mobbing Adam and no one was watching the ramp. Sure enough, 2 SUVs rolled up immediately after. I tried to tell the crowd that other U2 members were there, but no one was paying attention, so I went over by myself. It appeared to be John (Bonos bodyguard) in the shotgun seat, with Bonos wife Ali behind him and possible Bono to her left. Larry looked to be in the second vehicle. I tried to wave to them but John motioned to me that they werent going to stop, so I moved back. They zipped right in down the ramp and no one was the wiser just like they planned, I guess. I turned my attention to Adam and he signed my U2 Best Of 1990-2000 CD cover, and then took a picture with me. He was very nice, but was concerned that the crowd was not paying attention to his security guards instructions. Its sad, but I guess grown people do need to be babysat.

[Insert soapbox here]: Attention, idiots. When the security person says Line up in a line and hell sign for you. Dont crowd him! perhaps the best thing to do isline up in a line. Dont crowd him. When you get your thing signed, move on so someone else gets an opportunity to say hi. These are not super-secret-special rules this is common sense. Be polite and respectful (Golden Rule, dontcha know). The schlubs who mobbed Adam like the first half-hour of Saving Private Ryan ruined it for the other folks who were trying to comply and be nice, and it made him take off that much quicker. [Remove soapbox here.] Sorry.

Anyways, no other band members came out, so that was that. The GA doors opened just after 6:30pm and everyone scrambled. As noted at other shows, for some reason the U2.com line was much slower than the public line. And, for our show there was only 1 line per each; not multiple lines for the public as in the CA shows. Dunno whats up there. Also, they checked each ticket, so its not like as a fan club member you could see the faster moving public line and jump into it. Unfortunately, I didnt make it into the ellipse, but got 2nd row against the outer railing of the ellipse, Edge side. Celebs sighted in the audience included T-Bone Burnett, still rocking the shades and comb-over hair.

Kings of Leon went on at 8 and played for 45 minutes. A lot of mixed reactions to them, though the crowd was politely appreciative. I would say they sound like the Black Crowes, but with less Southern funk and more NY garage rock. Also, the singer sounded like a cross between Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) hitting the high notes in Dream On and the singer Jeff Keith from Tesla. An acquired taste, to be sure. I did think the band had good musical chops, and the drummer was particularly good.

U2 came on right around 9pm and did a pretty energetic show. The stage show itself is pretty similar to the Elevation tour (but with much better lights), and I thought it was just fine. The setlist was:

Love and Peace or Else, Vertigo/Stories for Boys, Elevation, Cry/The Electric Co., An Cat Dubh/Into the Heart, City of Blinding Lights, Beautiful Day, Miracle Drug, Sometimes You Cant Make It On Your Own, New Years Day, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bullet the Blue Sky/Hands That Built America, Running to Stand Still, Pride, Where the Streets Have No Name, One, Zoo Station, The Fly, Mysterious Ways, All Because Of You, Yahweh, 40

Most folks have seen the discussions on setlists, so Ill just add a few notes. Bonos voice was very strong; definitely steadier than the early CA shows. Edge had some wireless issues, particularly on New Years Day, Sunday Bloody Sunday, and The Fly. Adam was quite mobile and walked the entire ellipse a few times. Bono and Edge were a bit less mobile than I expected. Larrys hair is growing out long in the back, so he would really look at home on his beloved motorcycles.

Bono really wailed on the solo drum kit at the end of Love and Peace or Else and continued into the rhythm of Vertigo. The look of surprise on some peoples faces as they busted into the songs from 1980s Boy was priceless. The Beatles Blackbird was the tag on Beautiful Day. There were shout-outs to the late Pope, MLK, and Nelson Mandela. Of course Bono beseeched us to take action for Africa. "Bullet the Blue Sky" had tags of "Hands That Built America" and an old Civil War song from 1863 "When Johnny Comes Marching Home." Running to Stand Still was dedicated to the folks in the U.S. military, and I liked how Bono honored their efforts while also addressing the horrible catch-22 these folks are in. One had a different outro than the standard one that has been used since the Zoo TV tour. A fan was pulled onstage to stomp around during The Fly, and no women were brought up to dance during Mysterious Ways Bono mustve learned a lesson or 2 from the CA show with the overzealous female fan. Yahweh was acoustic and done at the tip of the ellipse, with all 4 members there (Larry on a Star Trek-looking keyboard). 40 was the old 80s version, with Edge and Adam switching instruments and the band leaving 1-by-1 (Larry last). Edge nodded his approval at our singing before leaving the stage.

Afterwards I met long-time U2 soundman Joe OHerlihy and he signed my CD booklet also. I got a picture with him just because (1) its Joe OHerlihy and (2) being surprisingly short and having that righteous beard, he just looked cool (no lawn gnome jokes allowed!).

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