June 18, 2011 – Anaheim
Seats: General Admission – Front Row Centre
This was my 30th show of 360° and I was hoping it would be a memorable one. In my experiences with back-to-back concerts, I expected U2 to interchange I Will Follow with Out of Control, Stay (Faraway, So Close) with Stuck In A Moment, and Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me with Ultraviolet (Light My Way). It would have been a change from the string of shows we’ve seen, but a predictable alteration with the set-list. I was glad I was wrong in a big way. After the opening Even Better Than The Real Thing, Bono strapped on a guitar which was odd and out-of-place. Then the opening chords of The Fly emanated from the amplifiers and we all went absolutely bonkers! This song had not been performed since the closing show of the Vertigo tour in Honolulu and we had heard The Fly being sound checked a few times since Seattle (I assumed it was in preparation for the Glastonbury festival). It sounded so good, and it was clear the band were in top gear. Then came 3 more songs from Achtung Baby – Mysterious Ways, Until the End of the World, and One. The latter song really threw us off because it appeared so early. I remember turning to Brad and saying that all bets are off. We had no clue what song was coming up next and loved the surprise. Where the Streets Have No Name followed (at such an early part of the show) and we were all jumping just a little higher and screaming a heck of a lot louder. Recalling just 24 hours earlier, I had forgotten what it was like to be surprised at a U2 show. I was feeling numb. At Anaheim II, it was the opposite experience. I loved being lost in the music and feeling uncertain with the set-list. This was what first-time U2 concert goers felt – excitement in the unknown. After a mentally and physically draining Anaheim I show, I felt alive again, I felt free. “Uncertainty can be a guiding light!”
I had never jumped and sang as much as I did for that show. I can’t remember how many high fives, back slaps, and hugs we gave each other, but it was pure fun. I hadn’t seen them since the Winnipeg show, but the funkadelic, Tron-like jackets returned for Zooropa and City of Blinding Lights. Weird, yet so cool. Only a few bands like U2 can pull that off. When Bono finished singing the first verse of You’ll Never Walk Alone (after Walk On), I started to belt out the rest of Liverpool FC / Celtic’s anthem to prompt Bono to sing the rest, “With hope in your heart, you’ll never walk alone… alone… alone!” I was just missing my LFC scarf to hold up, otherwise it was a great moment. The rest of the set-list midway through the concert was more-or-less standard but it wasn’t a run-of-the-mill show. Edge was jumping and stomping more than usual, Larry was smiling quite a bit, Adam was hitting his groove, and Bono was belting out the notes. I believe the uncertainty of the opening part of the concert even excited the band, granting them license to get out of their shell and explore uncovered territory.
Moment of Surrender – my favourite song – was poignant as always. Clarence from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band had just passed away. In dedication, Bono said, “Think about one man’s saxophone. Think about Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Think of Clarence Clemons. This man just carried music, and music carried him until this day.’ He then recited some of Jungleland at the end of the show. Brad and I were hoping Edge would slip into Bad as a surprise closer, but it wasn’t meant to be. No matter. It was a magnificent show. Among the ‘die-hard’ fans, and I’m sure everyone else in Angel Stadium, thought it was one of the best shows we’ve seen. The change in set-list was welcomed with open arms, hearing The Fly for the first time on tour, and the band being electric – long may this continue.