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U2 at the Rose Bowl
  by Michael Dare

96,000 people is a hell of a lot of people in one place. Especially when they are singing together.

For several days leading up the concert there were warnings about traffic congestion and parking passes along with 
horror stories from previous concerts. We heeded these warnings and purchased a parking pass the day they were available. 
We left Burbank at 10:30am. We got to the Rose Bowl in 22 minutes. No traffic. I read the day after the show that there were 
major traffic backups on all of the freeway approaches. Sure glad we left so early.

The general admission parking area was on a golf course which is directly adjacent to the stadium. It’s a really nice area. 
We lucked out and parked near a couple of trees where we set up our chairs and coolers. There were already a pretty 
good number of people there set up with small barbecues and awnings. Fortunately, they didn’t employ the stacked method 
of parking so it didn’t feel too cramped. This also helped make it easier to leave later that night.

The gates didn’t open until 5. We could hear the band sound checking just before that. We headed into the stadium at around 6:15. 
No problem getting to our seats in the bleachers about 30 rows up and toward the back left. The Black Eyed Peas came on and 
frankly I am not a fan. They’re from L.A. so overall people were into it. I guess they make safe hip hop for the office girls to dance to. 
I wish I had a dollar for every time they said “Los Angeles” or some variation of that. The try-too-hard school of audience pandering. 
To finish up, they brought out the guitarist Slash so they could cover Guns and Roses’ Sweet Child ‘o Mine. Again, not really my thing.

After a while, you could hear David Bowie’s Space Oddity signaling the start of the show. By now, the place was completely full. 
The roar when they kicked into their first song, “Breathe” was incredible. I was very happy that the sound was not only very loud 
but also very clear. Great separation of instruments and vocals. The last time I saw U2 in a stadium was at the Los Angeles Memorial 
Coliseum for Pop Mart back in 1997. That show suffered from not being nearly loud enough. No such problem this time. 

I won’t list all of the songs (the set lists are all over the web by now) but one of the highlights for me had to be 
the sound of everyone singing the first verse of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. 

They also played a couple of my favorites:  “Until the End of the World” and “The Unforgettable Fire.” 
Bono’s voice was very strong. High energy from everyone in the band. 
They really seem to enjoy doing this together and that inspired the crowd.

They played for over two hours and I have to admit that it didn’t really feel like a stadium show. 
Not because the scale of it wasn’t enormous, but because it felt as though everyone was really focused on the band. 
They really have a way of making a huge place seem not as huge. We got to our car at around 11:30 and managed 
to get out and back to Burbank an hour later. Very lucky. My only gripe is that $40 is waaay too much for a t-shirt. 
Seriously. But that didn’t detract from what I have to say was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

They will be coming back to Southern California next June and I’m hoping I’ll be able to attend that one too. 

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