Jun 1, 2015

you too

I went to a rock concert last night. This is unusual because 1) I haven't been to rock concert in like 20 years and 2) I used to go to a lot of rock concerts. When I was young in Minnesota, rock concerts were just a major part of my entertainment. I camped out in -20F to score front row Billy Idol tickets 1988 or so. I recall walking into a bar on Hennepin, removing my clothes, wrapping the bar's entire supply of toilet paper around my body, and putting back on my clothes in an effort to not freeze to death. How my parents sanctioned this kind of behavior I have no idea. And then in grad school in San Francisco I kept at it visiting much smaller venues and more obscure bands in the SoMa and Haight-Ashbury areas. And then I got a job and I can't recall seeing anyone live except for Gary Numan in Chicago in 1995 or so. I wasn't about to camp out in lines any more and the hustle and bustle of the shows was unpleasant. 

So it was a little weird going to see U2 last night. I'm not a huge fan of them. I was when I was young. All the pre-Joshua Tree stuff. And then they got big and I moved on. I did see them on the Unforgettable Fire tour but we had such nose-bleed seats that I'm not even sure it was them. This time around we had some primo seats thanks to my wife.

They played at the Forum. I don't really know what the Forum is but it used to be where the Lakers played so I think it has some meaning to the locals.

Unlike previous concerts where you jostle with the crowd to get in, my wife also scored some VIP passes from a friend so we ate and drank in some VIP thingy inside the Forum. A lot more pleasant.


It's a nice venue to see a large band. Not too big. And well laid out. And U2 was smart in that they built a catwalk that stretches from one end to another. That way everyone kind of gets to see them up 'close'. That pit of people below reminded me of my moshing days but it was a pretty civil (and old) crowd.

The band came on. When I used to like them they were kids and scrappy and... They were honed professionals now. They could sing and play their instruments before but the showmanship and presentation is what separated them. It was almost too slick for someone like me who likes scrappy bands. But it was easy to see why people like going to their shows.

They had an interesting cage above the catwalk that allowed them to either project visuals onto it or it actually had LEDs built into it. I couldn't tell. I think the latter because there were no edge-effects. Here you can see the cage with nothing projected onto it. Again as professionals it's a smart move to be near all your fans at various times to give them a personal experience in such a big place.

And here it is with something projected on it. They had artistic visuals as well as live footage of the members playing. As a guitarist (a shitty one) I kind of watched The Edge the whole time. It's funny recognizing guitars and chords and techniques. From what I can tell The Edge actually plays very easy to play stuff and uses effects like echo to boost up the sound. Whether you consider that a cheat or very smart is a personal decision. But I think it's clever how he's able to get such clever sounds with such little effort. For me The Edge's playing was really the best thing about the band. Anyway it was fun.

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