U2 Blues (The Miracle)

From the deepest valley to the highest mountain. After nearly three weeks of disappointment—bordering in depression—I have risen out to the pit of misery. Dilly-dilly!! 

After the announcement of more shows being added to the tour (Las Vegas, Chicago, Montreal, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Boston & New York) I was mildly hopeful that there would be a second show for San Jose. The boys usually play two shows here in the Bay Area but I was far from confident. Furthermore even if a second show was added, I had strong doubts on getting tickets, given the whole fiasco last time (see my previous posts).

But Lady Luck smiled upon me and I was able to score 2 GA tickets for the second show (5-8-18). I’m guessing Ticketmaster fixed some of the problems that plagued fans last month. I can attest that I did everything I was supposed to do to ensure access to the pre-sale, but I was locked out. This time around I was successful and it felt like being invited to a very exclusive party.

So, I’ll just keep it short and sweet on this post.  I am happy to be going to another U2 show and on my birthday no less.


U2 Blues (week 2)

The long and ongoing tragedy of trying to obtain tickets to Experience + Innocence 2018 has entered its second week.  I wish I could say there was hope that with addition of shows there would be another chance to get tickets.  But Ticketmaster is employing the very same method of tickets sales as before.  The idea that this was supposed to “put tickets into the hands of fans and not scalpers or bots” seems to have failed.  A quick check of StubHub’s website shows hundreds of tickets available.  Granted, there might be some legit fans that are selling tickets, I don’t believe the Verified Subscriber/Verified Fan process has worked as intended.

The idea was that subscribers of the band’s Official Fan Club—a paid membership—would be the first to get tickets.  A paid membership allowed one to buy tickets before they went on sale to the general public.  I know I’m not in the minority when I say this the primary reason why fans join.  Membership has its privileges and this is the best one.  Yes, the annual gifts are great.  As a fan, I love getting memorabilia (rare CDs, books, Super Deluxe versions of CD/DVDs/etc.) but I joined for the tickets.  I wanna go to the show.

I’ve spent a great deal of time in the forums on the band’s official site and the anger among those that didn’t get tickets runs deep.  The fans/subscribers did exactly as U2.com and Ticketmaster recommended (as described in my previous post) with the hopes getting in on the presale.  And yes, there were those that got in and tickets.  But there were many of us that did not and had little recourse other than call/email TM, call U2.com and/or air our grievances in the forums.  I didn’t get a presale code and there was literally nothing I could do; except what I just mentioned.  I did everything I could and came up empty.

My experience with U2 fans—for 30 years now—is that we are all decent people.  There might be some that fall outside that description, but I don’t know of any.  Over the years, the camaraderie had with total strangers, other than they were fans, has been great.  I’ve also been touched by the little things that was done for me, like hold my place in line while I or my party went to the bathroom, grabbed some food, or took our pictures.  All of those things I happily reciprocated.  There was always this “We all here together” attitude that I loved.  Then there were the things that surprised, like fans selling their extra ticket for face value.  The first time I saw that I was during Elevation ‘01.  Wow.

So, it is with great frustration knowing that I have done all the things expected of me and still not get tickets.  Yes, I understand that there is always this Oklahoma Land Rush race to get tickets.  But I have always been in the race.  This time I wasn’t.  No presale code means no race.

I’ve read many fans exasperation, confusion or sheer anger at this new system.  Some have said that the days of going to a U2 show is over.  I don’t believe this is hyperbole.  It’s not just the rising cost of tickets/memorabilia/etc., which is understandable.  It’s the $50 parking, $9 beers and $11 hot dogs.  It’s the ubiquity of smartphones and social media during the show.  To now be locked out of buying tickets—and one did everything one was supposed to do—might be the bridge too far.  One can only march for so long.  While I’m still in the fight, I’m not the young guy I once was.  I make more money now, but I’m definitely not rich.  In the end, I may have to go over to the dark side (i.e. StubHub) but maybe not.  The culmination of all that I have described, plus the element of disappointment, might be enough for me to stand down and let someone else carry on.

It’s not over yet, so hope remains despite the current travails.

U2 blues

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Best songs of i+e?


Now that fans in the U.S. and Canada have seen the show, it’s a good time to ask about what are the best songs from their new album? With every tour, the band plays all of their new songs and sometimes it takes a little while to figure out which ones can compete for the title. In my humble opinion the best songs usually stand the test of time—the songs they perform at every tour.

A cursory review of their set lists shows that there are a several songs that they perform at nearly every event.

The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)

Cedarwood Road

Iris (Hold Me Close)

Song For Someone

Raised by Wolves

Every Breaking Wave

When I first entered the SAP Center, I noticed the enormous video screen and immediately knew that they were going to do something special with it. Obviously, they would have images displayed throughout the show, but I also sensed they were going to do something else. It did have more than one purpose; it was also an elevated stage.


After a few songs Bono walks towards a ladder below the screen and says, “Come with me. Come with me to Cedarwood Road. A street I was supposed to grow up on.” As Bono ascends a ladder into it, images began to slide across the screen of a stylized block in Dublin. He is actually in the screen simulating walking down the block. Then Edge smashes into the song with his guitar and the street suddenly becomes more threatening as a violent wind and rain begins to blow (I recorded the whole song with my iPhone 5S and filed it in the Media section).


I imagine that when they originally conceived the stage design, a performance like Cedarwood Road was what they had in mind.

The very first song that hit me from the new album was Song For Someone. There was something so melancholic about it but yet it was also very hopeful. I just love the way that Bono belts out the chorus like he’s yearning for something that he might never get, but he still has hope. I knew this song would sound great live and in the rare instance where my music instincts were right, it was amazing. It’s a very beautiful piece and I could tell that Bono loved singing it. It’s my favorite song on the album.

Technically, Invisible is not from their new album but it is the first time they’ve taken it on the road. There times when video enhancement can take a performance to a new level. This was one of those times. With the entire video screen emitting yellow with jagged black lines simulating and oscilloscope, the band launched into the song into the song.


During the chorus the black lines with thicken to expose each band member alternately facing a side of the arena. As the song progressed the holes would close and then open again at the chorus to reveal that each had pivoted around to face the opposite side. Absolutely brilliant.


It’s so amazing how they can continue to set the bar on a rock show. It can’t just be a band on stage anymore. There has to be spectacle. It has to be an attack on the senses. If they do their job, you leave the arena with ears ringing, energy spent and both intoxicated and restless.

That’s a U2 show.


Eight nights, eight shows, U2 bites into the Big Apple

It’s been over three weeks since the band ended its North American Tour culminating in an eight-show stay at Madison Square Garden. Our best-loved lads from Dublin are now taking a well-deserved rest before embarking on the next leg of their tour.

New York being New York, the shows saw performances with Jimmy Fallon, Lady Gaga and Bruce Springsteen. The former got on the e-stage by displaying a sign that read singer with a broken finger.

Jimmy Fallon at MSG

Fallon also got to perform a piece of “Desire” with the band and he looked like a kid at Disneyland. It doesn’t really matter if you are a famous television-star or just an average Joe who is a fan; singing with U2 at a live concert is beyond awesome.

Afterwards, Fallon thanked Bono and said, “It’s not easy being you. Thank you guys so much. You guys are the greatest. How great is tonight?! This is one of the best shows I’ve seen in the history of live concerts! I brought a few friends of mine. If it’s alright, I’d like to introduce them to you. The Roots, ladies and gentlemen!”

The Roots then joined the band in performing “Angel of Harlem”. I must admit, Fallon’s band can groove. They brought a little funk to the soulful tune. Bono, ever the generous performer, sang along with Larry and I almost forgot how much I loved this song.

On the fifth show, Lady Gaga stepped onto the stage wearing nothing but underwear and a pair of high-heeled shoes to sing a duet of “Ordinary Love” with Bono. The lady knocked it out of the park. I knew she could sing, but I didn’t know she was that good. As my dad would have said, she’s got some pipes.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 26: (Exclusive Coverage) Lady Gaga and Bono perform

NEW YORK, NY – JULY 26: (Exclusive Coverage) Lady Gaga and Bono perform “Ordinary Love” onstage during U2’s “iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE” tour at Madison Square Garden on July 26, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

This is such a powerful song and we’ve all heard Bono sing it. But sometimes it takes another artist with a voice as mighty his to realize how amazing it can be. The fact that it was performed live is truly astonishing.

I love the fact that she performed with them. It was an odd pairing but quite wonderful and shows that music truly transcends boundaries. That’s also what makes it so wonderful, that even today it can still surprise you.

On the final night, the band invited Bruce Springsteen to the stage.  This was New York, of course.  They played “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and there was no way better to end this leg of the tour with two rock legends, sharing the platform, and reminding everyone that music still matters.  Music has always mattered and always will matter.

U2 & Springsteen

The countdown now begins to the European leg of the tour.  The band will be rested and ready to give fans and music-lovers alike another incredible experience to add to memory.  I’m so envious.


U2 Cedarwood Road – San Jose, Ca. 5-19-15

The band performing “Cedarwood Road” at the second show in San Jose.

Another amazing performance shot from the other side of the arena.


U2 takes Manhattan

U2 in NYC subway

Our four favorite chaps from Dublin began their eight–that’s right eight–show stop in Madison Square Garden this past weekend (July 18th & 19th).  The shows are sold out by the way, but there are still ways to gets tickets.

With one foot firmly planted in the past, the band performed October and Gloria with all the verve and energy of a punk band just starting out.

U2 [2015.07.18] Madison Square Garden - On stage

Bono said to the crowd, “When we first played a club called The Ritz in this great city, about a century ago, we thought ourselves a punk band…and you know what?  In all the ways that matter, we still do.  Still getting into trouble for doing things different.  A band of equals…with an audience of equals…an audience of betters.”

He’s right.  They’re still putting the music first and still themselves out there.  It’s only out there where they find out if the music is any good or not.  Fortunately for us, it always is.  By the end of the night, the crowd is hanging from the rafters.

After all these years, their performances still kick me in the chest not matter where I am in the arena.  Yes, I’m a fan, but it’s more than that.  They rock better than any other band I know.


The band ended the show with a declaration from its front man, “To answer the question why this band is refusing to give it a rest, we offer you this song.”  With that, they closed the night with I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.

I hope they never do.


U2 Cedarwood Road – San Jose, Ca. 5-18-2015

U2 performing “Cedarwood Road” on the first night of the American leg of their iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour. To read more about this show, please visit: http://www.achtungninja.com/.

Shot with an iPhone 6 by Hooch

@achtungninja (Instagram & Twitter)