On The Download: U2 At The Rose Bowl (October 25, 2009)

Sunday night brought the final stop of U2’s soldout North American tour at the famed Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The biggest stadium gig ever to perform at the Bowl (thanks in part to their stage), quickly turned into a global phenomenon… as the band streamed the entire show to the world making it the first global concert Web cast on YouTube. And for the nearly 2 and a half hour show, four Irish lads captivated the world.

And they captivated very early on. The majority of the 100,000 plus fans in attendance were in their seats & ready to see their favorite foursome a good two hours before the band made their way to the stage. As the anticipation drew closer, fans broke into an impromptu wave that circled the stadium some 10 times.

The lights dimmed and David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ played them out to their stage. The space station, which itself, stood 170 feet high above the ground and towered over the rim of the Rose Bowl, reached out to the heavens, further symbolizing how big these boys from Dublin really are - rocking their way through 23 songs (full set list below), never letting up and feeding off the atmosphere of the crowd.

However, the real test to putting on an extravagant show (with an equally extravagant and massive stage) is the fear of alienating those who came out to see them. But with the successful ‘Popmart’ and ’Zoo TV’ stadium shows under their belts, U2 has learned that if it wasn’t for their fans, none of this would have been possible – a theme that was echoed throughout the evening.

And to show that it is not all about rock n roll, when it came to making the band introductions, Bono (always the showman), worked in some of his trademark humor. He made the rounds referring to the ageless wonder Larry Mullen, Jr. as the band’s James Dean, bassist Adam Clayton as the suave Clark Gable, the greatest guitarist of our generation, The Edge, as a visitor from outer space, Mr. Spock. And finally, even Bono himself wasn’t safe, referring to himself as a cross between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito with a little bit of Dennis Hopper thrown in.

But regardless, there is no doubt that U2 put on an amazing show. In this reviewer’s opinion, it was one of the greatest stadium shows in recent history. And as they thanked those watching around the world and in the stadium, Bono parted by saying “…hopefully this is not the end.”

If Sunday night’s performance was any indication, the Irish superstars have nothing to worry about. In fact, as the fans poured out of the stadium it was quickly announced that U2 would be returning next year for a 12-stop summer leg of this hugely successful tour.

Set List:

Get On Your Boots
Mysterious Ways
Beautiful Day
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For/Stand by Me
Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of
No Line on the Horizon
In Little a While
Unknown Caller
Until the End of the world
The Unforgettable fire
City of Blinding Lights
Vertigo/Only Rock n Roll
I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Walk On

* Encore 1 *
Amazing Grace/Where the Streets Have No Name

* Encore 2 *
With or Without you
Moment of Surrender

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