Last Night: U2 at the Rose Bowl

Last Night: U2 at the Rose Bowl
Andrew Youssef


Last Night: U2, at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena; October 25, 2009.
(More photos here!)

Better Than: Any other stadium tour I have witnessed.

Historic. Epic. Magical. These are just a few of the words that come to mind in describing U2's performance at the Rose Bowl. Even as I watch the rebroadcast of the concert streaming on Youtube, nothing will be able to convey the spine tingling and electric moments of being in a stadium with close to a 100,000 people.

Is U2 the biggest band in the world? Undoubtedly, I would say yes. Their massive $25 million dollar stage was a spectacle to behold but ultimately it was their songs that made a bigger impact.

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Bono was in his attack stance on stage during the opener "Breathe" from their new album No Line On the Horizon. "Get On Your Boots" and "Magnificent" translated much better in the live setting and worked the crowd into a frenzy.

The envelope-filtered guitars of "Mysterious Ways" fully uncorked the evening as everyone was seemingly on their feet dancing along. "Beautiful Day" was fitting, as I can't remember a warmer day this late into October.

Bono usually sneaks in parts of other songs into their set and slyly inserted parts of "Stand By Me" during "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." The whole Rose Bowl floor was bouncing during "Elevation" which probably was the most rocking portion of the evening.

"Unknown Caller" had the lyrics scrolling on the large LCD screens to enable the crowd to sing along for one big karaoke jam. Bono was in top form literally and figuratively when he quickly lapped the stage perimeter before immediately breaking into "City of Blinding Lights" without losing his breath.


"Viva Mexico!" was shouted shortly before the Spanish count off intro into "Vertigo" as the Edge crunched out the guitar chords. In terms of anthems, "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is a classic and will probably never be retired from a U2 concert setlist.

As much as radio overplayed the song "One" back in the day, it still was refreshing to hear it live and realize how it still is a powerful song. "Where The Streets Have No Name" closed out their first encore as it seemed like the band had only been on stage for a few moments.

Bono clutched a glowing microphone that was suspended from the air during "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)". It was impressive to think that they continued to pull out new tricks deep into their show.

A hush fell over the crowd during the somber "With or Without You" until the chorus and the guitars kicked in. "Moment of Surrender" brought the evening to an end that will be forever etched in memories, history books and Youtube.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: Doesn't everyone like U2?

Random Detail: I bumped into Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age and Them Crooked Vultures in the parking lot.

By the Way: They announced a second leg of the tour kicking off at Anaheim Stadium on June 6th!


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