It must be guest-writing week on the Live Music Blog as I’ve got a review today from one of our West coast music fans, Jeremy Grossbard. He caught U2 and Pearl Jam in Honolulu in early December and was kind enough to send us a review and some photos…
I am lucky that I can travel to see music I like. There are 7 or 8 bands I will travel for. I love the rapture that music can create in our minds and how it can make our bodies dance. Although my passion is Ratdog and all things related to the Grateful Dead, two other bands on my travel list are U2 and Pearl Jam.
I had a ticket for the U2 show scheduled for Honolulu in April, 2006. It was postponed indefinitely just a few weeks before the original date due to illness in a band member’s family. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to see Pearl Jam on their summer tour. In August, the rescheduled U2 date was announced and Pearl Jam was listed as the opening act. Whoo Hoo!!
I love live music, these bands and Hawaii. What a combination! We arrived in Honolulu on Friday afternoon. I heard that people were lining up for the GA field the night before. I got to Aloha Stadium on Saturday at 11 am. I would guess there were about 2000 people in front of me in line when I arrived. There were people there from all over the world who flew there for the show. I met folks from Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Chili, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Spain and France. I only met one person who was actually from Hawaii. Most of the Americans I met were from the west coast like myself (Arizona). When they let us in, I was still lucky enough to position myself on a rail for photos. One of the great things about both these bands is that their fans are loyal like deadheads, Phish fans, etc…so, the energy and excitement of the crowd definitely contributes to the atmosphere and the experience.
6:30 PM Rocko and the Devils….This was the “opening, opening” act. It was a band led by Rocko Reedy, U2’s chief roadie and composed of other U2 roadies. They played a 30 minute set of cover songs and some originals. They were ok at best (boring and not musically inspired at all). As an opener for any other concert, they would not have been well received. However, the crowd was very forgiving because of who they were and because of the anticipation of what was to come later in the evening.
7:30 PM Pearl Jam….I have always considered them to be masters at what they do. They started off a little shaky, but every song they played was better than the one before. During “Even Flow”, Mike McCreedy, the lead guitar player’s solo was smoking! However, they really didn’t hit their stride until “Better Man” which was more than half way through their set. They only got to play an hour which was much too short.
9:15 PM U2….This was my fourth show on the Vertigo tour and first U2 show ever in a stadium. I generally dislike Stadium concerts due to poor sound, tough to see the band and too big a crowd. U2 had the best stadium sound that I have experienced since the Grateful Dead of the early 90’s. Being up front meant no concern about seeing the band or the crowd of people there. At the beginning of every U2 show on this tour, a song by the Arcade Fire was played through the PA just prior to the band hitting the stage. At this show during this song, they ran across the stage backdrop, each show was listed from San Diego in April of 2005 (shows 1 & 2) through Honolulu (show 131), and then the band took the stage at the end of the song.
The band played their hearts out through every song. They make some incredible noise for a three piece band with a vocalist. The band played for close to two and a half hours. The highlights for me were Vertigo, Elevation, I will Follow, Bullet in the Blue Sky and Mysterious Ways. U2 has a new song recorded with Green Day called the Saints are Coming. They brought Billie Joe Armstrong (from Green Day) out on stage for this song. I hadn’t heard it before and I did like it. Then, Eddie Vedder and Mike McCreedy from Pearl Jam came out and joined U2 for a reworked version of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World”.
That will be one of my best life time Rock and Roll memories. I got back to my hotel room around 2 AM still high from an incredible night of music.
And the above is the first time in over 450 shows in my concert going career that I have ever written a review. For a truly excellent music review, please see this article in The Honolulu Advertiser.
Do the Evolution
Elderly Woman behind the Counter in a Small Town
World Wide Suicide
Given To Fly
City of Blinding Lights
I Will Follow
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Angel of Harlem
Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
The First Time
Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own
Love and Peace
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Bullet The Blue Sky
Pride (in the Name of Love)
Where the Streets have no Name
With or Without You
Window in the Skies
The Saints are Coming
Rockin’ in the Free World
All I Want is You