There really isn’t a whole lot I can say at this point that would differ from any outlet or journalist who has covered this band for over three decades, but it’s always a big deal when U2 comes to town. The guys performed two sold-out nights at The Forum in Inglewood majorly in support of their most recent output, Songs of Experience and Songs of Innocence, which have served as a duality of sorts for the band’s current political and socio-economical ringing. Putting aside the opinions of these records, U2 performed as vitally as ever, eschewing-in a roaring passion for arena-ready soundscapes that haven’t been truly felt since their early 90’s days.
As with most U2 concert tours, they utilize some technical staging of their performance that tends to wow, and this tour had a gigantic screen which served as it’s own stage, lying down on and floating above the dividing light-up catwalk with which the band would also perform on (in addition to two connecting end stages). If you had downloaded their own app before the show, you could use your phone to see some augmented reality features, though if you were the few stuck right down the line of the catwalk you probably missed a lot of that. During the show, the screen would light up and animate with some inventive detail, and for some of the show, the band performed inside of it (such as on “The Blackout”).
Getting out of the technical area, the band performed many hits to the delights of the few thousand people that included Brad Pitt and Rami Malek in attendance. “Elevation” and “Vertigo” arrived with some zaniness after a motion-comic shone on screen. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” highlighted the band’s Irish roots which were otherwise marginalized by the time they reached “American Soul” which featured the largest American flag I’d ever seen. The three-song encore including “One” highlighted the women’s empowerment movement as well as the fight for equality around the globe.
Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. all appeared humbled at the sight and sound of fans loudly humming along to songs well after they were performed. That’s the feeling you get when you attend a U2 concert, seeing a band who are in their post-prime but still manage to get you giddy. Even when some of the material seems dour, they turn that dour into power, turning in an expected show of grandness the likes of any legacy act can muster.
Words & Photos: David Fisch