The Roxy, West Hollywood, CA, USA – May 28, 2015
(57:38) The Ocean / Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep, 11 O’ Clock Tick Tock, I Will Follow, The Electric Co. / Send In The Clowns / I Can See For Miles, Beautiful Day / I Remember You, Elevation, Stuck In A Moment, Sunday Bloody Sunday / When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Out Of Control / Iris (Hold Me Close), Vertigo, Song For Someone, California (There is No End To Love) / God Only Knows
During U2’s American tour in support of Songs Of Innocence, the band would play an intimate club date at the famous Roxy in West Hollywood. The concert would be sort of a make up date after canceling their KROQ-FM Acoustic Christmas the previous year due to Bono’s bike accident. The concert was for California residents and KROQ listeners only. For the club date, the band would play a set largely based upon their days as a club act with a set list with five songs from their debut record.
Thankfully some enterprising person snuck his rig and was able to capture a very nice recording. The Roxy has a 500 person capacity, the recording surfaced in a well known tracker via JEMS along with notes from the taper who said he was positioned in the center and there was slight work done on the tape to remove loud clapping to allow for an easier listening experience. The sound is very good to excellent but one has to remember this is a small club with an enthusiastic audience so the quality does fluctuate a bit. The instruments and vocals are clear and it has a nice punch to it, and there is very little noise directly by the taper but the audience is well represented in the mix and one can really enjoy the ambience of the evening’s festivities.
The concert begins with a melancholy version of The Ocean, towards the end Bono recites Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep in memory of Dennis Sheehan, the band’s tour manager of 30 years who passed away unexpectedly the day before. 11 O’ Clock Tick Tock gets things moving, the song had not been played since 2001 yet sounds fresh, but the first song that really gets the audience in ape shit mood is I Will Follow. As soon as the band starts the song the energy is instantly raised, they sing along with Bono making for a really great version of the song. The Electric Co keep the energy going, in true nostalgia Bono sings the obligatory Send In The Clowns and a few lines from The Who’s I Can See For Miles. Beautiful Day keeps the energy going, there is a snippet of The Ramones song I Remember You “I remember lying awake at night and thinking just of you”, afterward the band thank KROQ.
Elevation is excellent, after the opening songs being throw back and having the old school U2 sound, this sounds vibrant largely due to The Edge’s excellent guitar work and the audience handling of the chorus’ and the song brings the house down. The last of the three song All That You Can’t Leave Behind portion of the show begins with Bono speaking in metaphorical terms, all leading to a most heartfelt version of Stuck In A Moment. The Edge plays the song on piano as well as adds almost acappella vocals to boot making for a wonderful version of the song. Prior to Sunday Bloody Sunday Bono speaks of Sheehan’s passing as well as the outpouring of love that it brought about, by far the most recognizable song of their 80’s output and still relevant as a cry and view on our society. The last of the Boy era material is Out Of Control, they play a driving version of the song that ends the main set on a high note. The band lights the place up for their first encore of Vertigo, then slow it down with Song For Someone cause Bono needs to catch his breath. Prior to the last song he tells a story of their first visit to California and trying to find Brian Wilson’s house and introduces a song of “grief and defiance”, the appropriately titled California (There is No End To Love) that features an equally appropriate snippet of the Beach Boys’ God Only Knows.
The packaging is great, mini LP style cover adorned with mostly live shots of the concert, my favorite is the LP sleeve where you get a picture of someone taking a picture of Bono. There is the obligatory insert with nice liner notes, the CD has a silhouette picture of The Edge smashing a guitar ala Townsend. Iconic bands in club setting usually brings about special performances, this one is certainly that.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)