The U2 Concert

Edge frame 1

That was the gift that was given me last night.

No, not the actual guitar. Being that close to that guitar. If the gift had been the actual guitar, that means that Edge and I would really have gone out for frozen yogurt. And I suppose then, to have given me that guitar, he would have had to have been really impressed by my knowledge of tone. And both of those things are of course, almost complete impossibilities. I really enjoy U2′s music; so I like to joke around about my obsession with them. But hopefully it’s clear that when I say things like, ‘I hope I meet Edge at True Tone’, I’m not actually expecting to meet Edge at True Tone. It just makes for much more fun and conversation-spurring posts. And I tend to like fun and conversation. At the very least, it’s a bit more fun (in my very humble opinion) than throwing up a twitter: ‘gearin’ up for the U2 show.’ I like to keep it interesting.

But in all seriousness, U2 is an experience. And I know that sounds kitsch and over the top if you don’t like them, and have never been to one of their shows. I’ve heard that said over and over again, and I thought I understood it. I’ve got the dvd’s of previous tours, and watch them a fair amount. But when I got there, and stood in front of Edge’s amps as he drove out perfect note after perfect note on ‘Breathe’, taking a rather normal base chord structure to levels you wouldn’t think it could go to, and as Bono quite literally sang his heart out, and 97,000 people for just 2 hours got to drop their learned inhibitions and allow songs to take them somewhere they might not otherwise be able to go……as over the top as it might sound, it is a spiritual experience.

So as much as I joke about the night not being fulfilled until security escorts me out for trying too hard to touch Edge, Bono, Larry, Adam, or even one of the stage crew, once you get there, it’s just about letting yourself go. Now, U2 is not for everybody. They’re obviously for a lot of people, but not for everybody. But I can pretty much guarantee you that if you were to go to a live show of theirs, and leave any preconceived notions at the door, you would at the very least feel something. Something you weren’t expecting. For me, U2 has a way of lending these orchestrations with the perfect mix of countering yet simplistic lines, to support a melody that aches and yearns as much as it gives joy. In fact, the joy probably comes out of the ache. And they do it with power and with passion, and it sings to people. Not to everyone, but to at least 97,000 people last evening at the Rose Bowl. To be able to sing with my wife with tears in our eyes during ‘City of Blinding Lights’. To be able to be crushed by 2490 fans in the inner circle jumping to ‘No Line on the Horizon’ as I in turn crush the 10 in front of me. To sing ‘No more!’ until you think you’re going to collapse, but it’s okay because thousands of other people from 5 years old to 65 years old are singing the same thing with the same intensity around you. And of course, to almost be able to touch Edge’s guitar when he leaned over the rail. And above absolutely everything else, to hear the untouched and pre-mic’d tone directly from his amps. ;) Not to sound overly sentimental (as if the last few sentences didn’t take care of that already), but it was a special couple days.

So, the last post lays out everything in chronological order. If you didn’t read that one, I’ll give you the cliff notes here: we waited in a 2500 person mob for 12 hours, there was a stampede, and we ended up getting spots in the one place that mattered most. The inner circle, about 10 feet from the stage, directly in front of Edge’s amps. The sound system was incredible, but if I’m going to be there, I’m going to need some stage volume. I wanted to hear some of Edge’s tone from his own speakers. And it was glorious.

Here’s where we were, and the opening of the first song. And by the way, if you hadn’t heard, they not only filmed this concert in Pasadena for a dvd, but they broadcast it live over youtube; and as of now, you can still watch the re-broadcast. Way better quality than my little camera. But we still took just a couple videos for mementos. Here’s some pics, and the end of the opening song (and me screaming…just a little bit loudly):

U2 Pasadena 1
(Where we were. With the amps facing us, and that’s about 15 feet from Edge…even though the picture makes it look farther. We’re almost right on the rail, but then there’s still a good five feet between the rail and he stage so that the security guards can glare at us…like the one on the far left there. hehe But they were cool. They even hit a couple beach balls back to us. Which is fairly rare amongst most of the shows I’ve been to. I was impressed.)

U2 Pasadena
(And that’s what it looked like from another fan’s vantage point. Absolute craziness. Amazing.)

I have to tell you; hearing that sound and power coming from Edge’s amps…indescribable. Perfect weight, clarity, warmth, and focus. You could feel his sound rushing through your body. Seriously, people were responding to some of his guitar parts as if they were vocal parts. He sings with that thing. And to be right in front of it…an amazing experience, and a definite learning experience.

And then the world stood still. This is what the picture is from at the beginning of this post. On U2′s ‘Until the End of the World’, the outro just pumps my heart. It’s some of my favorite musical anything ever. (How’s that!) Edge just lets his fuzz go crazy, and he plays this killer riff around the 2,3, and 4 notes…never hitting the 5 or higher octave that is anticipated. And then just when you feel it has to go there, he hits the seventh instead, giving it this great aching and driving quality. I absolutely love it live. And then it happened. As he’s playing it, he’s on the bridge, to my right. And suddenly the bridge starts moving towards me. And he ends up playing it directly over me. And then, I don’t even remember it happening…his guitar is in my face, and he’s leaning over the railing of the bridge, looking right at me. I was about 3 feet from him. Now, the camera was in my hand. And I had pushed record. But that’s about it. So, I’ve got the video of it, but it’s just sheer craziness, and then whoa!…Edge’s guitar is right there. hehehe I laugh every time I watch it. But there are very few moments in life when you’re literally not thinking about anything. And that was this moment for me. By the time the bridge passed back over me and over to the second bridge that Bono was on, I realized that I was laying diagonally with my full weight on some guy, who was also laying diagonally, with his full weight on some other guy, and I guess the rest of the pit was just supporting us. It was awesome. Here’s the worst video ever of the best moment ever:

And some stills from the video:

Edge frame 2

Edge frame 3

Edge frame 4

So those are the things that I had to talk about in depth. And much as I’d like to go through every song, I’m sure none of you would like me to go through every song. But there was a ton to take in, and a ton to mull over, learn, and experience. So here’s the highlight reel.

The Good

  • The first thing was how intimate this show was…and then at times how much it challenged your senses. On certain songs, the band was all around you…on bridges, behind the stage, on the outer circle stage…and yet they would still connect musically and facially with each other. The end of Beautiful Day with just Edge and Bono standing next to each other improvising was amazing. Could have been two guys playing in a coffee shop. And the whole band standing around each other doing Still Haven’t Found. Intensely intimate.
  • Yes. I did cry. Literal tears. During Walk On, and the Amazing Grace intro to Streets. But my wife cried too, and so did a lot of other people around us.
  • The sonic power yet space they create is incredible. That makes no sense, I know. You have to see them live to get it.
  • Edge holds those songs together. He is doing so much…guitars, loops, backing synths, piano, vocals, and at times leading the band. The parts he chooses are just perfect for the textures of each song, whether the song needs something in the background, something structural, something driving, something to pull the band along, or to support it. And many times it’s not at all where you would expect a guitar player to go. But it’s just what the song needs. I’ve known this, but to see it unfold live right in front of you, is something else.
  • They played 24 songs. And believed every one of them.
  • These guys play as a band better than anyone I’ve ever seen. They play to loops and click tracks live, are moving all over the stage of 360 degrees and with an outer ring and two bridges, and yet still somehow manage to improvise. In at least 5 songs, Bono was motioning to the band to give certain dynamics and to hang on or cut out, and they followed and supported perfectly. It’s awesome to watch Edge at those times. He watches Bono like a hawk.
  • The passion that pours out of Bono. Say what you like about him, and I will too. He does do some dumb things on stage. But seeing him live…he feels the living daylights out of every word he sings. It’s inspiring to watch.
  • Edge’s sound is fantastic. I know, I know, I’ve said that before. But honestly, I was a little nervous hearing it live for the first time, in case it didn’t measure up. And it actually went beyond my expectations…even though I mentally prepared myself to be objective about it if it wasn’t up to snuff. The sheer weight of the tone coming from the amps…and yet still clear…but yet still warm…can tone be icy and warm at the same time? I didn’t think so, but I guess it can. Amazing.
  • Adam is cool. And every bass player should take a page from him on how well he supports the melodic lines of the other instruments.
  • Bono’s voice sounded incredible live! I know it’s changed from when he was younger, but last night it sounded crisp and full, and just grabbed you. He’s still got it, and in a large way. Some of the improvised melodies on With or Without You, Streets, Walk On, Magnificent…wow.
  • U2 has a lot of fun. It was awesome to see them just laughing with each other, playing around, to see Edge smiling and shaking his head good-naturedly at some of the dumb things Bono said, and to see Bono laughing at himself after saying certain things. Very, very cool to see, and gave the whole night a very natural and close feel…even amongst 97,000 people. At one point, Bono even caught Edge off guard. He was saying something about some random song they did a little piece of…I think it was Stand by Me, after Still Haven’t Found. And then he just off the cuff asked Edge if he had anything to add. And Edge just kind of said, ‘Oh! Uh…no…he’s great, like you said.’ And then Bono said something like, ‘Whoa. He doesn’t speak much; but when he does!’ lol It was great, and just set you at ease.
  • Larry is ripped.
  • I love seeing the mistakes. On the beginning of Beautiful Day, something went wrong with Edge’s guitar. The first few harmonics were incredibly low in the mix. And the look he gave his guitar tech, Dallas, under the stage…haha. Yikes. The best look ever as he motioned with his hand to up the volume. It was very funny.
  • The sound system was amazing! Everything was so well balanced. You could hear the backing vocals…but not too loud. You could hear Larry’s toms…but right where they should be. That was cool, and very refreshing, too.
  • I hate to harp on it…but what a ride on that wave of emotion, fueled by sound and melody. It was so rad to see Edge feeling that same thing too. I’d watch him as he played parts, just gaze across the enraptured audience, and then just close his eyes as he finished out his part, allowing the sound to come over him as well. Feeling like you and the band are one, and feeling the same things…now there’s an experience.
  • No Line plays really well live.
  • Being in a crowd like that, everyone just screaming the songs and throwing their bodies at the songs…wow. Humbling to be a part of something that big. I yelled constantly.
  • Their songs simply moved me. To a place I’ve never been before.
  • And get this. Tone is hugely in the hands. Gear is really, really important, too. Don’t get me wrong. But right before U2 came out, Edge’s tech Dallas came out and tested a few of his guitars, and all his different effects for each song. And I almost had a heart attack. The tone, from Edge’s exact gear, was thin, brittle, a little harsh, and yet also very unclear. It was still good tone, but it was far from the best I’d ever heard. And that’s nothing against Dallas, either. I’m sure he’s a great guitarist in his own rite. But on Edge’s gear, it just wasn’t Edge’s sound. And then Edge came out…and whoa. Immediate touch difference. It was a softer touch…almost as if he was coaxing the sound out of the guitar. And suddenly there it was. Edge’s sound. I also noticed this waiting in line outside the stadium when they were sound-checking his guitar. Through that awesome sound system, his sound just wasn’t that great. But…once he starts playing…there it is. Very interesting. ;)
  • The live arrangement of Moment of Surrender is way better than the album version. Album is decent. Live is goosebumps and open-heart surgery.
  • Like I said, Bono does some odd things for showmanship. And I have most of their live dvd’s. I know his antics. But live? This is gonna sound weird…but they work live. It’s almost as if he turns off the filter of thought, and just acts on sheer adrenaline and emotion from the particular song, and just goes. And some of the stuff that watching back looks dumb, is actually really, really fun live. And it really gets the crowd engaged. Even if it’s laughing and hooting. Definitely something to learn there.
  • Larry is the tightest drummer I have ever heard. Perfect.
  • On City of Blinding Lights, towards the end, something must’ve gotten bumped on Edge’s delay setting. Because it was ever so slightly off. (Or maybe I’m just crazy.) But he realized it, and started playing off the beat ever so slightly to compensate. It was amazing. And that is a beautiful song.
  • I almost lost it so many times. The soul on the solo of Unknown Caller, the candor of In a Little While, the love of Streets, the ambience of Magnificent.
  • Oh, Edge’s sound.
  • Not even joking, earlier this year, my wife asked me what were the songs that I hoped they’d do but that I was sure they wouldn’t. And both Ultraviolet and and Unforgettable Fire were on my list. And they did them both. It was incredible to be there with her.

The Bad

  • U2 is not perfect. (Much as I’d like to think they are.) But I tried so very hard, and ended up succeeding, in just for one night, turning off my critical mind, and allowing myself to be taken somewhere. It’s extremely therapeutic to allow that to happen to you every once in a while. The trouble is finding something worthy enough to have that happen with. So I didn’t notice too much bad. And I watched back most of the youtube broadcast afterwards…and there really wasn’t much bad anyway! Just a special, special experience. But the little things, mics not being on, Adam on the wrong string for a couple notes, most of that was absolutely lost on me, and the rest of us in the pit. I was way too busy just singing my heart out, jumping on people, yelling loud enough to scare myself, and letting the music take me. I highly suggest it. Just for a night. I’ve never felt better.
  • And if you’re looking for some bad reviews, feel free to check the internet. There’s plenty. They don’t run around enough/they run around too much and it’s not intimate enough. The crowd wasn’t into it enough/people were too into it and squished me. They played too many songs from x album/they didn’t play enough songs from x album. Bono’s not a good enough showman/Bono’s showmanship annoys me. It’s too loud and muddy/it was too soft and tinny. We’ve all got opinions, and many of them are valid. But this whole post was more so about letting go and feeling the music. Some incredible music.

So…as is my regrettable custom, I start off by saying something is beyond words; and then I use a ton of words to describe it. So I should probably stop now. But here’s the rest of the pictures and videos. Terrible quality video, but it’ll be out on dvd soon.

U2 Pasadena 3

Edge's Amps 2

U2 360 speakers

People in the Claw

U2 360 screen

Edge in Pasadena

And lastly, my favorite picture of the night. It’s like, the perfect personification of how Edge exists in my mind:

U2 Pasadena 2

hehe Just a brilliant white light. lol This was not planned…it’s just an extremely oddly symbolic picture. haha :)

I am so sorry, but nothing else does this evening justice: a spiritual experience.

Splendid.
Karl.

53 thoughts on “The U2 Concert

  1. Don–my pleasure! And hey…that would look really good framed! :) That’s seriously an incredible idea. And it’s definitely happening.

    Kenrick–haha right on!! Me too!!

  2. Next time I’m with you in the pit. I happened to be in the stands on the left side about 1/4 down from the top. The mix was eq’d weird. Vocals sounded thin. Guitars were low in the mix and the dude in front of me we really annoying. For a bit more investment of time I could have had a better experience. Hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy it more when the DVD comes out.

  3. So hearing a live sound is where you can really hear “tone”. It is those live venues that can support the volume that can carry the tone a guitarist seeks. I long to hear those tones in church but alas it just is not possible (yet).

    I am still pushing this….

    “But…once he starts playing…there it is.”

    Tone is in the hands and heart….

    It is an experience for sure. And you share it so well!!!

  4. nice review. I’m seeing them tomorrow night in Vancouver. Highlight of 2009 for me! I’m sure this Sunday’s set will have a bit more of an “Edge” to it. :)

  5. Karl, I saw them live in Tampa a couple weeks ago, and let me saw that my thoughts, and experience, were very much kindred to yours. The Edge is truly an amazing soul. His tone (and emotion, and ensemble ability) is what I continually strive (and fail) to attain. And I noticed the exact same thing about Dallas, great player, but drastically different tone. Just discovered your blog a few days ago, but I must say, I am an addict. I keep finding all these thoughts in my head that somehow you have deciphered and written into actual English. So, keep it up!

  6. Brian–aw bummer, bro! That sucks. You know, towards sides of stages, there may be some sort of dead spot for guitar frequencies. That was my one small complaint when we saw The Killers. We were to the side, and it still sounded great; but guitars were just a little low, even though we could still make them out fine. Just not quite the oomph. And there was a speaker pointed at us. Interesting. I wonder the physics of it.

    But they’re coming back to LA in June. And standing in line for the front of GA is definitely worth it! :) It was such an amazing show, I’m legitimately sorry you guys didn’t have a better experience. Definitely do GA next time. For as much as they talk about 360, I’m sure sound will always be better where the sound guy sits…which is in front, unfortunately. Next time, we’ll all be in the pit together! :)

    Sal–oh, totally. I suppose in some of the really big churches they can really crank those amps…but not in mine! hehe

    Oh, it was such an amazing experience to see him live! And I know you’re a big advocate of tone being in the hands…and it was incredible to see what Edge could do with the same guitar, same effects, same amps, and even the same parts being played, that his tech couldn’t. Crazy interesting. :) Cheers!

    Colty–the 97,000 people singing with one purpose? Ya, that’d be cool. Or did you mean U2 playing at your church? ;) hehe

    Brian–I’m guessing the 97,000 people all being so passionate about the same thing? But that’s just my guess. I’m waiting for Colty to chime back in…

    Jamie–lol Good form. That was awesome. For sure let us know how the Vancouver show turns out! Last one of this leg of the tour, so maybe they’ll do something crazy! :)

    Joel–right on. So awesome to hear that you had the same incredible experience. I totally agree that I as well have yet to reach his tone, feel, or ability to play in a band. Maybe someday! haha

    And thanks for the kind words on the blog. It’s great to have you here, and also great to hear that somebody can actually connect with some of my randomness and frightening love for tone! hehe Awesome, brother!

    Rhoy–good times! hehe I know that U2 isn’t your first choice of listening, so I can only imagine what you’re thinking, getting 3 posts in a row on them. But thanks for being nice anyway, brother! hehe ;)

  7. loved reading all that Karl. I attempted to write up a piece about my U2 experience back in 2005, but never got around to editing the whole thing together. It’s interesting how many similarities there were between what you describe and my memories of the vertigo tour.

    It’s only too bad they aren’t ending their concerts with “40″ this time around. That was way too cool. They got the whole arena to sing the 40th psalm, then walked off stage and (at least at the show I was at) everyone kept singing until the house lights came up. Went to a rock show, left a worship service.

  8. So awesome, bro! I’ve heard the Vetigo Tour was incredible, too. I wish I could have gone.

    And 40 would have been really cool. I know the first time I saw the dvd, I was in awe of 50,000 people singing the Bible. It was incredible. :) I was a little bummed they didn’t do that on this tour…but then when I heard Moment of Surrender live, that song takes on a whole new meaning. It’s actually an incredible closer with the new arrangement, and with how deep and personal the lyrics are. :)

    But ya. There still isn’t much that tops 40! :)

  9. Yeah, the fact that a, for the most part, secular band could move that many people to tears and that that many people were united in one place is disconcerting. I rarely see worship leaders sing with such conviction as what you describe here and when they do, I never see that many people being led at once with such a unity as you describe. Sigh…Man, if Bono gave up U2 and just led worship, Christianity would never be the same.

  10. Colty, I gotcha. Concerts are interesting things. And I think some of the reasons they move people aren’t necessarily spitirual versus secular reasons, but just real world reasons. I’m gonna list some here, and they’re not so much as a response to you, as they are some things I’ve been thinking about since the concert, to. You bring up an extremely intriguing topic. Here’s some of the non-spiritual reasons I’ve been thinking of:

    –concerts happen only every once in a while. If we only got the chance to worship God through music maybe once a year, I’m sure we’d see a bit of a different attitude. It’s unfortunate, but sometimes familiarity breeds complacency.

    –we paid to get in, and waited for 12 hours. So there’s a psychological aspect that makes us do whatever it takes to enjoy ourselves and make sure it was worth it. In church, again, you can show up tired and bummed, and just think, ‘Ya, I’ll worship hard next week.’

    –it was a concert. People’s purpose is to be there and see U2. U2 didn’t need to explain to them how to sing, or why we lift our hands, or why we jump around and shout at the Edge. People chose to be there, and for one purpose. Whereas at churches, people come for many different reasons. Some to hear the sermon, others to serve, and others for relationships. And still others that aren’t even saved yet, and God has brought them there. Those people for sure aren’t going to sing! And then we have to teach them what worship is, and some of them who God is, and all that. At a concert, they already know, and they didn’t come to meet people, to serve coffee, or to listen to any type of person speak.

    And now for some of the spiritual reasons (or things we as a church may be doing wrong and can change):

    –like you said, Bono believes everything he sings. Like, a lot. He sings as if his life depends on every word. Now, if we did that in the church, we’d be pegged as ‘showy’ and ‘prideful’, and people would give us the dreaded, ‘This is not a concert’ speech. And I think they would be right to a certain extent. We probably shouldn’t be Bono or Christ Martin on stage. But maybe we should be a little more like them? Like believing the living daylights out of what we sing?

    –perhaps we need to be a little less perfect. U2′s songs connect with so many people, I believe, in part because they are honest. They’ll sing that they’re running away from God. And people can relate to that. Most of our church songs are ‘happy, emotional, or overcome’ all the time; and most of us are definitely not like that all the time. It would probably be considered heresy at first…but to open up maybe a bit at some small point during the worship set? I don’t know. But definitely something to think about.

    –and lastly…we gotta admit…for the most part Christian music is pretty terrible. hehe If it wasn’t for the lyrics, I might not listen to any of it. We’ve got to step it up, and start writing from inspiration, not from ‘whatever Hillsong did 5 years ago, which was ripping off Angels and Airwaves 10 years ago, which was ripping off U2 20 years ago.’ And then once we get to that point of writing from inspiration, we can’t get so pleased with ourselves that we start being ‘too original’, and come out sounding like Mute Math. Cool music, to be sure, but only musicians like it. It’s too obsessed with itself. We have to be original, but we also have to be listenable. And the only way to do that, that I’ve found, is to try to write from inspiration. And to be okay with writing a song that might not fit church.

    I don’t know. I just kind of wrote out there a little without thinking about it. Colty, awesome topic, brother! What’s your insight into all this? Why do you think 97,000 people will show up to U2 and sing their hearts out, but not so much at church? Again, great topic, bro, and one that I seriously do not have all the answers on (obviously). hehe

  11. You definitely have some very vaild points that I fully agree with. Another thing I’d like to add is that it is often much easier to worship the creation rather than the Creator. People see the honesty and talent that this band has and they flock to it and they worship it.

    The thing that chaps my hide is that we Christians have the ultimate, ineffable, undeniable truth, but we somehow can’t be honest. You mentioned how U2 sings about how they run away from God, which I love that they do. (sing about it, that is.) People relate to hard times, people relate to running from God. The unsaved masses don’t really relate to how good God is when they’re loosing their jobs and families, but that’s all we sing about. King David had it right, just like Bono does in that respect.

    I do wonder, though, why shouldn’t we be like Bono on stage? You said it yourself, he looks silly sometimes. Didn’t people dance in the street and make fools of themselves, all in worship of God? I mean, what happened to that? Above all that, though, he still means every word he sings, which is so much more than a lot of worship leaders can say.

    Another possible reason people will do this for U2 and not Jesus is because people’s flesh tends to lead them to the safer bet. Everyone’s enjoying themselves at a concert, everyone’s dancing and singing off-key and it’s alright. With God, he’s not so visible as the shining glory that is the Edge and the people in His house aren’t so willing to accept as the people at a concert.

  12. Don’t forget that some of the jumping, singing and otherwise letting ones self go is a result of the mind altering substances abused at concerts. Not really a fair apples to apples comparison. At least I’ve never seen alcohol or weed accepted as part of the weekly worship service :-)

  13. Well, yeah, there’s that, but I think that stuff like that is simply what the world uses to feel like we should really be feeling like every time we come to worship God.

    • colty- Is that how you see being drunk in the spirit? I think we (puritan-descended Americans) have forgotten what that is like. Or at least, when we truly do see it, we dismiss it as something undesirable.

  14. Ok, so I’ve recovered from the Vancouver show… Nothing crazy or out of the ordinary that I can tell. But let me do the full review as briefly as I can.

    wow!

    I was behind the stage which, for the most part, is not a bad seat. However, I was DIRECTLY over the tunnel from which the band emerged and retreated to after the show. So, we all had a friendly wave to each other. :)

    This was my view. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=4511450&l=cb8e15b67f&id=698876060 I think I got a preview of heaven… If worship isn’t like this, I’m not going.

  15. Colty–great points! You’re right…there probably is a sin issue that goes along with some of it at times; easier to worship the creation than the Creator, as you said. However, I don’t see anything wrong with having a great and passionate time at a concert. And at the same time, I’ve never been to a concert where I’ve been forced to my knees in tears, and literally overcome by the Spirit to the point where I can no longer sing. But it has happened in church. So…different venues, I suppose. Nothing wrong with the former, as long as you make sure the latter is happening too, at some place in your life.

    And yes, honesty and Bono-ing on stage should perhaps be more prevalent in our worship leading today. But I do think there is a point at which we draw the line, maybe? Bono is getting ‘glory’ for his music, and rightly so. But as worship leaders, I’d prefer to deflect that to God.

    And great point that it is much more accepted to go crazy at a concert than at church. At a concert, you’ve got 97,000 people to back you up! hehe When I’m in the mall, and a U2 song comes on, much as I’d like to, I don’t start jumping and screaming the lyrics, because I don’t have my 97,000 people behind me. lol You’re totally right.

    Brian–lol Yep! Definitely smelled some of that a few rows behind us. That sour cologne/just mowed your lawn small? Aech. haha

    Colty–I suppose that getting ‘drunk’ (i.e. taking any substance that enhances your feelings past the point of your control) could be seen as a cheap substitute for God. But I’m not sure everyone at that concert with ‘substances’ was doing it for that reason. Personally, I don’t drink, but it’s for reasons of love for others, and not much else. I would venture to say that if you are purposing in your heart to use anything (coffee, food, relationships, drugs, church) as a replacement for God, then I totally agree with you; the real thing is going to be a whole lot better than the substitute. :)

    Joel–interesting point. Would you mind elaborating a little bit? I haven’t seen much Scriptural reference to being ‘drunk in the Spirit.’ But is it more a modern day term for something Biblical? It’s something I’ve been interested in finding more about, and for whatever reason, I’ve never seemed to be able to get a straight answer. Thanks, brother! And from your comment, would I be correct in assuming it’s something other than what the word ‘drunk’ usually conjures up in our minds?

    Jamie–I love it, bro!! So stoked to hear other people having the same experiences from it that I did!! Great picture by the way, too! :) Man. It’s been a week for me, and I’m still reeling from it! I’m jealous that you guys got their last stop on the tour. I’ll bet they didn’t hold anything back!

  16. Karl- Yeah, I think it’s really easy to loose sight of what exactly we’re worshiping, even in church. I’m not against having fun and feeling passion at a concert at all, in fact that’s where it happens for me, most often, sadly enough.

    I think he does it to bring attention to himself, definitely, but as far as dancing around like an idiot and loosing yourself in the worship (and music), then yeah, we need to step up.

    Karl and Joel- In respects to being drunk in the spirit, for me, I feel like it’s the euphoria of experiencing God. “Being drunk in the spirit” is a term I’m not too fond of, but I can’t really think of a better, catchier term for it. It’s not exactly like being drunk or high, don’t get me wrong, but like I said, I think that those things are poor substitutes for experiencing God.

  17. Colty, I totally agree. We do need to step it up.

    As for the drunk in the spirit thing, very interesting. I’ve heard a lot of definitions, and I’ve related to none of them; but I can definitely relate to yours. I’ve experienced that euphoria, and it’s been better than any concert I’ve been to. hehe Thank goodness! ;)

  18. Colty, I also agree. I hate the term, but really it means the same thing as being what we commonly refer to as “drunk.” When we imbibe (alcohol), we are allowing the effects of that drink to loosen our inhibitions, we surrender our self-control over to the spirit of the moment. And, despite many claims to the contrary, I believe that actions performed while drunk are not out of character for us. That is, that when people get drunk, the things they do are a reflection of who they could really be. We might do things that we normally wouldn’t do, but only because our sense of pride, couth, or morality would prevent us from doing so. And I think being drunk in the spirit is like that. We surrender our inhibitions, and our self-control, to God. In those moments, we are the self that we wish we could be all the time. We do things that our sense of pride prevents us from normally doing. And I know the times I have experienced that are the times I wish could last forever (although if they did I would never actually do anything productive for the kingdom). They are my greatest drug. And, at least in my experience, in those special moments when I was privileged enough to be playing during those intense worship moments, my playing is the best its ever been. I’m not focused on what would sound cool, or what would be the best tone, I just react to the Spirit. And frankly, those are the things that come of out my amp that make me go “Man, I wish I could play like that all the time.” But I can’t, and I think thats what keeps those moments special for me. Anyways, Karl, sorry to hog the blog, just felt a little expanded anecdote would paint a more lucid picture.

  19. I just want to say… I’m getting general admission next time especially since I got there early anyway, and could’ve gotten inside the circle despite only being 3 or 4 hours early.

    At least I didn’t have the sit through the BEPs. Muse was pretty awesome, but had too short of a set.

    Jealous of your location though. :)

  20. haha Ya, I’m thinking U2 was just trying to prune down to its true fans by having Black Eyed Peas play. haha I’m jealous you got Muse!

    And GA was definitely worth it. And cheaper! Are they coming back near you in 2010?

  21. Muse was worth seeing, they played a good show, even if it was short and had no special effects. And I am contemplating going to the Miami 2010 show. Except that July in Miami is hot. And humid. Maybe this is a good excuse to see them somewhere other than Hell’s waiting room.

  22. Samuel–it’ll be worth it!! hehehe If you don’t go, Edge’s tone is just gonna call to you all night. ;)

    Joel–Ya, I really wanted to see Muse. And I’m worried about the same thing in Anaheim in June. Maybe we’ll get some rain? Ya, probably not. haha

  23. Man I wish I couldve been there…

    Right now I’m focusing on trying to go to a Muse / Silversun Pickups concert in April, but I’m not sure if I’ll make it :-(

    Not quite U2, but still pretty darn awesome 8)

    as to the Drunk in the Spirit thing, that seems like a good phrase to get stuck in my head when I’m worshipping, on stage or off, to remind me to throw myself at the feet of our savior.

    Thanks for such an amazing website Karl. I can’t believe it took me so long to stumble upon THE PERFECT BLOG lol 8)

    very inspiring bro. God bless you man.

  24. I’ve never seen Muse. Really want to, though. Would’ve been way better than Black Eyed Peas opening for U2. lol Hope you make it, brother!

    And I love what you said about worship. :) Thanks for the kind words, and looking forward to talking more on here! Cheers, bro.

  25. Yes, U2 are amazing, and so is Edge! Glad you had such a fabulous time, and thanks for such a detailed post.

    One important thing that accounts for the difference between sound in Dallas’ zipping through portions of songs before the band go on stage and Edge’s playing during the concerts is that, being as close to you were to Edge’s amps, during Dallas’ settings check you heard sound from the actual amps — the Vox AC30 and so on. Once the concert started, the stadium sound system was on, and the mic’ed sounds — which include sound from mics placed behind amps and, usually, sound from mics placed several feet away from additional amps off stage — overwhelmed the sound you were hearing earlier direct from the amps. What you hear from the stadium P.A. system also is the product of mixing and additional effects. I think part of what you were hearing in the warmth of the stadium sound was something like BBE’s Sonic Maximizer, which is fabulous.

    It’s absolutely true that tone is far more about hands than about gear. It’s also true that U2′s artistry includes hiring really excellent techs and sound people and getting truly innovative P.A. systems (it’s particularly astonishing what the whole U2 staff achieved with the one in The Claw). I think it speaks well of the band that they cultivate relationships with crew in which those on the tech side can make full use of their gifts while still getting good input and feedback (no pun intended) from the band members. I also think it speaks well of the band members that they give credit to their crew for their role in crafting U2′s amazing live sound.

    Another great lesson for Christian ministry: abundant life for the body happens when every member can freely offer gifts and is honored by the body for them.

  26. Right on! :)

    If I remember correctly, they did turn on the house sound a couple times for Dallas. And you’re right, the ambient sound did fill it up, but it still was a good deal from what comes through Edge’s hands. Even though Dallas is quite gifted in his own way. I also thought Edge’s stage volume may have been just slightly better than what was coming through the house, but I might not have had the best perspective to hear that.

    And I agree, they do seem to have some wonderful sound techs on the road with them. :)

  27. Hi Karl –

    Let us know if you are seeing them in Anaheim on Monday, June 7. Will have to buy you a beer/club soda for the awesome site and words!

    Cheers!

    Duncan

  28. haha Thanks, bro! Actually, we’re gonna be there the day before, the 6th! Hmm…maybe I should try to get tickets for the Monday one, too…

  29. Ya, I totally thought they would’ve gone to Australia this year. And yes, that was the concert we were at! Draw a straight line out from where Edge’s amps are facing, and we’re about 10 feet back from the rail right up on the stage. Well, about 5 feet back by the end of the show. hehe

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