i+e versus previous tours (part 2)

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Now that I have talked about what my first impressions of i+e and how is it that they remain in top form for over thirty years, I’d like to talk about the show itself.

I deliberately did not visit their website days before the beginning of the tour because I did not want to catch any sneak peaks. I like to go in unspoiled by preliminary images or photos of the first shows. There is something very special about walking into the arena and seeing the stage, sound equipment and video screen for the first time.

It is always impressive because there is the sense that we are seeing professionals coming to work. With the house lights on, seeing their set and maybe a few of the stage crew, I have always said to friends, “these people really know what they’re doing.” They move about with a sense of purpose. I can see that they take the duties seriously and they are devoted to helping make the band look and sound great.

The first time I saw the stage it reminded me of their ZOO TV tour in 1992 – 1993 where there was a runway to a B stage. This time around, the runway nearly bisects the entire general admission floor and terminates in a B stage. This is brilliant because it allows so many on the floor to be as close as possible to the band as they perform. And, in keeping with the band’s idea of making the best tickets in the house also the cheapest tickets in the house, fans on a budget can still afford to go. GA ticketholders may have stand all night but they are closest to band. That is so awesome.

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Above the runway is a colossal video screen that it almost as long as the runway. Since ZOO TV, the band has taken video enhancement to the next level with each and every tour. It may seem counterintuitive, but the video screen actually enriches the experience. The band does not have to compete for our attention with the screen; instead the screen allows us to focus on the band even more. It’s strange how that works.

The best example of this is when Bono invites the audience to come with him to the street he was supposed to grow up on, before launching into “Cedarwood Road”. As he speaks we walks up a ladder into the video screen. On the screen is a video rendering of a street and he enters into the screen the city block becomes animated and begins to move. Slow at first but then faster with what looks like wind and rain. It is an amazing scene and cannot be described with words. I’m going to post a recording of it that I took with my iPhone.

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The screen, the lights, even the mirror balls all seem like gimmicks when recounted in a narrative like this, but when experienced you realize that they are not. The performance has activated your senses and you truly connect to the band. Bono has often said that they write and perform their music to get closer to the audience. After seeing a U2 show, you realize that it’s not just idle talk. You do feel closer to them. The good friends that were not fans that I have invited to come with me have always left extremely impressed. They admit that they had no idea how great the band was until seeing them live. None have left unimpressed or bored.

Going to a U2 show is a life event for me. I’ve had others, but the best thing about this particular one is that it is recurs. I only wish it was more often.

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U2 conquers San Jose

The Irish rock machine pummeled SAP Center during a two-night attack.  On the first night the band from the north side of Dublin opened with The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) announcing to the crowd that this was beginning of their U.S. adventure.  I+E 1st night

The band went on the offensive achieving their version of shock and awe with two sets and an encore for a total of twenty-three songs that nearly blew of the roof off the arena.  Here is a set list from the first night.

Set 1

The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)

Out of Control

Vertigo

I Will Follow

Iris (Hold Me Close)

Cedarwood Road

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Raised by Wolves

Until the End of the World

Set 2

Invisible

Even Better than the Real Thing

Mysterious Ways

Angel of Harlem

When Love Comes to Town

Every Breaking Wave

Bullet in the Blue Sky

Pride (In The Name Of Love)

Beautiful Day

Without Without You

Encore

City of Blinding Lights

Where the Streets Have No Name

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour 2015

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With U2’s 2015 Tour less than a month away, here is a link to their full schedule.

It’s a good time to talk about Bono’s health. For those that don’t know—and I don’t know who among us that would be—Bono suffered serious injuries while bicycling in New York’s Central Park. They were so severe that it required surgery and he now has metal plates in his arm. There have been reports that he may never be able to play the guitar again.

At the beginning of the year, Bono wrote a long blog (A-Z) while in recovery. He even posted an X-ray image of the metal plates and screws in his arm. I’m guessing he was also suffering from cabin fever and just needed some kind of creative outlet for all of that pent-up energy as his blog was very long. In addition, he stated that his blog would be the last time he would talk about it.

It has been over three months since his post and one has to assume that he is getting the very best medical care and physical therapy that money can buy. I’m not trying to be glib; I’m saying if you’re a multi-millionaire and you have an upcoming tour to prepare for, you will spare no expense.

Back in 2010, Bono & company were supposed to start the second leg of their North American Tour only to have to cancel it due to emergency back surgery for him. I was very disappointed because in that leg, they would have a show in the San Francisco Bay Area. I didn’t want to be insensitive, so I was glad that he had the surgery and was in recovery.

So here it is five years later and Bono is once again on the mend. From everything that I know, he is smart about his body and does whatever it takes to be healthy. Aging rock stars fall into two groups: those who still act like they’re in their twenties and those who don’t. For the former, Father Time can be unforgiving. But, I don’t know of many who still do the sex, drugs & rock ‘n roll thing in their fifties. With that in mind, should we have nothing to worry about?

I was comforted by the fact that the band had added more shows to the tour. You don’t do that if you have doubts on whether you can sustain the long and strenuous span of a world tour. So, I’m having faith that they will do what they always do: put on an amazing show.

I’m ready to have a Yabba-Dabba-Do Time and am just counting down the days to May 18th & 19th.