Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Until the End of the Show
U2 @Madison Square Garden, November 21, 2005.
Section 218, row B, seat 15.

Main Set: City of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, Elevation, I Will Follow (with additional lyrics towards end), I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, Beautiful Day, Original of the Species, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, Love and Peace or Else, Sunday Bloody Sunday (snippet, "Rock the Casbah"), Bullet the Blue Sky, Miss Sarajevo, Pride, Where the Streets Have No Name, One.

Encore 1: Until the End of the World, Mysterious Ways, With or Without You

Encore 2: The First Time (acoustic), Stuck In a Moment (acoustic), Instant Karma (with Patti Smith), Bad (snippet, "People Have the Power").

This review is a little shorter than the other two shows i went to on this tour (May 18, October 10), because i already wrote all about it and the main set this time was so similar to October 10 in particular. As a result, boring and predictable, I know there's a schedule and routine the band and crew follows and there's only so many songs they can have ready, but come on U2, you have like 300 other songs available. I guess they have to play it safe most of the time as far as what songs to choose. U2 has to cater to the general fans and play the popular and succesful songs. That really is a shame and we wind up hearing a lot of the same stuff. Now there are some songs which i am truly sick of (i already hated "Elevation"). I know there are people there who haven't yet seen U2 on this tour but the band has to know that people are going to multiple shows. Here's some suggestions: New Year's Day, Even Better Than the Real Thing, something from the second side of Joshua Tree, something from Zooropa. Being in section 218, relatively close to the stage but mostly seeing their backs, doesn't help too much. If i was in the "ellipse", i know it would have been a different story and i wouldn't even care what they were playing. Well, at least this time i took photos with a sweet zoom lens.

So after the lame main set (really, i just couldn't get into it much), the band came back for the first encore with the ZOO TV images on the screen to start. I was like, oh no, here we go again with "Zoo Station" and "The Fly". Shit. Then i got the biggest, best surprise of the night: "Until the End of the World" (awesome, only saw them play it once on Zoo TV tour which i barely remember), and "Mysterious Ways." (although "New Year's Day" really is a great transition from "Until"). So by now i was praying for "Bad", and after the acoustic songs and the John Lennon song, we got it. And i think that, along with "Until the End" made my night. oh yea and after reading about the following night at MSG (show cut a little short, no "bad") i am so so glad i went to the first one. sorry guys!

Crowd and seat report: energy level was definitely better and more intense for October 10 (though an earplug in my left ear may have clouded my meter-reading). as usual, the people around me were total deadbeats. hardly moving or dancing or responsive. the guy behind me was a total jerk talking to his girlfriend. i didn't even bother making small talk with the girls to the left of me. aside from the jerk behind me though, it was a good spot because i was at the end of my row (the odds are 1 in 15, yea?), therefore as soon as the arcade fire song came on, i went right in the isle and had plenty of space to dance (very lucky to be at the bottom of the section, with the guardrail in front of me). so, i had a clear view of the stage (see photos).

Notes: Among the snippets, Bono sang a line from the chorus of "Please" somewhere, forgot what song. I'm sure few people caught that. Young boy pulled onstage for "Sunday Bloody Sunday", not sure what to think of that. girl for "With or Without You" worked better. Patti Smith just had to comment about the war. Said there is no reason to be there. Half the crowd booed, half cheered.

Last note: I wore an old long sleeved shirt on which i wrote U2 lyrics and images from achtung baby tour. to my surprise, absolutely no one at the show commented on this. i purposely wrote lesser known lyrics, but come on. yea, i mean COME ON.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Can't get it out of my head.

Although Madonna's latest outfit is dreadful, "Hung Up," the first single from Confessions on a Dance Floor (released November 15), is immediately one of the best pop singles of 2005. The electro-disco track is hella better than that last piece of garbage called "American Life" and more on par with "Music" and "Ray of Light." See VIDEO.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Broken Social Scene: Broken Social Scene (Arts & Crafts)
released: October 4, 2005
rating: **1/2

Go ahead, Pitchfork, gush about Broken Social Scene releasing a record and going on tour. It's not gonna make me like them more. I mean, they're not THAT amazing. So they've got 15 people in the band. Woop-dee-freaking-doo. I would have done the same thing if I could find all the people. The Canadian band's last record didn't impress me (for some reason it won a Juno award). A couple decent indie rock-type songs with a nod to the late '80s/early '90s, though the rest wasn't very significant. The same thing pretty much goes for this self-titled third outing. Seriously, a lot of what they're doing here is indeed interesting. That's if you can sift through all the instruments and vocals that sometimes make it seem like the record is playing in another player at the same time 20 seconds behind. The last track is a little epic, but come on, with that many people, they could do a whole lot more. -Kenyon

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Happening Beats.
K records at the Hobo House in Huntington, Long Island. November 1.

Calvin Johnson says: "We played in Allentown. It was.....pleasant enough."

If someone such as Calvin Johnson is going to be playing 15 minutes away from me, I don't think about it, I just plan on being there. Even if I've never regularly listened to his heralded indie pop band Beat Happening, or even heard his solo work. We're talking K records, afterall, one of the most trusted indie labels around. Knowing what the label's roster is like, bringing a K records artist with him means fun times.

Tender Forever was fun. But in a serious way. Like the Blow (also on K), one-person band Melanie Valera mostly sings along with some of her own pre-recorded music. Trust me, this indie-electronic comes out wonderfully, thanks to her heart and energy.

Calvin Johnson is an enigma. Is he joking or serious when he asks if we have any questions for him? Does he ever display excitement? What was the lesson of the story he told about that country singer? I'm at a loss.

Melanie of Tender Forever touched me. In more ways than one.