Setting aside massive multi-band attractions, whether fluff (Wango Tango) or fury (July’s L.A. Rising, already sold out at the Coliseum), there are scarce few superstars popular enough to even headline a stadium, which is reason alone to be impressed by U2’s latest viewable-from-space creation, which has taken over Angel Stadium this weekend. The number of icons who have come to Southern California in the dozen years between the launch of this ongoing (if momentarily delayed) 360 Tour and the Irishmen’s last enormous outing, 1997’s magnificent flop PopMart, well, they can be counted on one injured hand.
There are the Rolling Stones and Madonna, and then Madonna and the Rolling Stones. Add the Police at Dodger Stadium, with Foo Fighters, who could fill that place on their own now. Metallica qualifies, though they had help at the Coliseum. Green Day played Home Depot Center, if that counts. Am I forgetting anyone?
Tack on Dave Matthews Band and maybe Phish and there isn’t much else short of an ’N Sync reunion that could fill a ballpark these days. Springsteen and McCartney and Buffett can — but I’m grateful they choose not to, just as U2 did for a decade. They’ve all realized (as have Madge and the Stones) that no matter how grand the spectacle becomes or how hearty the singalongs remain, there’s still an insurmountable distance between audience and performer at such mammoth locations. Some people are just too far away to be reached.
Even sitting relatively close Friday night, just off the general-admission field along the first-base line, I sometimes felt like our section might as well have been in a different area code. But, then, some people in my section — and I bet any other chosen at random — weren’t there for the performance anyway.
That’s the nature of stadium shows: As much as they garner fanatics from far and wide (I heard of people flying here from Australia, and I suspect thousands drove up from San Diego), they also pull in a larger than normal share of radio-fed lookie-loos who are here primarily to say they were there.
Die-hards of any artists (though especially U2 fans, and Springsteen’s) love to kid themselves into thinking that every last person among 50,000-plus paid triple-digit prices and trudged through traffic because they’re just so passionate about the band. Nonsense. I suspect at least half the crowd at these Angel Stadium concerts is only acquainted with live U2 from award-show appearances and video clips.
Plenty of people Friday night probably wound up with a ticket because, oh, Dad bought four and it’s a family outing, or “it’s my boyfriend’s favorite band,” or they’re tagging along to finally silence that Bonomaniac friend from the office who never shuts up about how everyone must see these guys at least once. I doubt there are many souls left on Earth who can’t hum at least one U2 melody. (That’s when you know you’re as big as the Beatles, never mind Jesus.) But I think there are lots of folks who say they love U2 yet can’t sing the chorus of more than five hits. Can’t shake the feeling that an inordinate amount of those people are turning up in Anaheim.
full story here: The Orange County Register