‘U2’ Revisits the Nineties at the Forum in Los Angeles
The greatest rock band to ever come out of Ireland, U2, brought their Experience + Innocence tour to The Forum in Inglewood for two consecutive shows May 15 and 16, and Entertainment Voice was there the first night to witness Bono and company perform songs both new and old .
As fans can surmise from its title, this U2 tour relies heavily on their two most recent albums, 2014’s “Songs of Innocence,” and last year’s “Songs of Experience.” They kicked off the show with two tracks from the latter, “Love Is All We Have Left” and “The Blackout.” For the opening, the band played from inside a large screen, unseen, with an augmented-reality segment that could be viewed by fans with U2 Experience app on their phones.
Mixed in with the newer songs were plenty of classic from the U2 catalogue, but nothing from 1987’s “Joshua Tree,” arguably their greatest album. They did, however, play multiple cuts from 1991’s “Achtung Baby,” including “Acrobat,” which was part of a set that they played from a smaller stage in the center of the arena that was connected from the main stage by a walkway. For this, Bono revived MacPhisto, a sort of Faustian character with horns that he originally created for the Zoo TV tour, U2’s 1992-1992 worldwide arena tour that is remembered for it elaborate staging and production. To achieve his look, the frontman took advantage of an effect that was not widespread in the early 1990s, a Snapchat-like filter that imposed a devil mask over his face. Later during the encore, before breaking into another “Achtung Baby” favorite, “One,” Noted social activist Bono urged fans to make use of social media to spread a message, but forgot the appropriate hashtag, joking that he has so many hashtags in his life.
Other highlights of the evening included “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” a 35-year-old song that resonates more than ever in the age of resistance, as it describes an incident in Ireland where British troops shot and killed unarmed civil rights protesters and bystanders. For “Pride (In the Name of Love),” a song that pays tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., all members of the band came out onto the walkway between stages, allowing for less of a barrier between them and the audience.
The show also included more low-key moments, including two acoustic numbers, newer track “You’re the Best Thing About Me,” and “Staring at the Sun,” one of the more memorable songs from 1997’s “Pop.” The show ended just as it started, with a track off of “Songs of Experience,” the hopeful ballad “13 (There Is a Light).”