Recap: U2360° Tour in Edmonton

Last night I attended the U2 concert at Commonwealth Stadium here in Edmonton along with more than 63,000 other fans. Considering I purchased the tickets way back on November 2, 2009, it’s fair to say it was a long time coming. Fortunately, Bono and crew did not disappoint! Here’s the official U2 entry for the tour.

U2360 Edmonton

This was the first thing we saw as we walked toward our seats around 6pm. Called “the claw” or “the spaceship” it very nearly became the star of the show. The structure is 164 feet tall requires 120 trucks to transport. Oh and there’s three of them because they take so long to setup and teardown!

U2360 Edmonton

It was Sharon’s first real rock concert, so that just added to all of the hype leading up to the concert!

U2360 Edmonton

Our seats were so high up that I joked we could see the balcony of our condo downtown! We could see the building anyway. Being high up turned out to be totally fine with the large stage and video screens. Plus I think it probably resulted in better photos.

U2360 Edmonton

The Fray opened the show at about 7:30pm. They performed some familiar singles like “How to Save a Life” and “You Found Me” as well as a couple of new songs.

U2360 Edmonton

Then we waited. And waited. While we waited, the Claw showed us interesting statistics and the local time for cities around the world.

U2360 Edmonton

Finally around 9:15pm, U2 emerged and the Claw started to come to life! The show was on!

U2360 Edmonton

For most of the evening, the data connection on my phone completely stopped working. Apparently the antennas were just overloaded with everyone trying to text, tweet, and call (archive).

U2360 Edmonton

One of my favorite aspects of the evening was watching the Claw transform. There were all different kinds of light combinations, and the video screen in the middle actually expanded and contracted as well. The two bridges connecting the inner circle to the outer circle also frequently moved around throughout the evening, meaning the band could interact with fans all around the stage without having to walk too far.

U2360 Edmonton

The first part of the show didn’t seem very political, at least compared to the latter half which featured Amnesty International and the ONE campaign.

U2360 Edmonton

At one point Bono pulled a lucky fan on stage, and she could barely let him go! Bono didn’t do too much talking throughout the show, but he did spend some time talking about Edmonton Oiler Gilbert Brule. It turns out that Brule and his girlfriend picked up Bono and his assistant while they were hitchhiking in West Vancouver (archive)! Honestly, I thought he was joking at first.

U2360 Edmonton

That was my favorite shot of the night. As it got darker the lighting of the Claw just looked better and better.

U2360 Edmonton

Near the end of the show, Bono encouraged everyone to take our their cell phones. It created a pretty spectacular sight in Commonwealth Stadium!

Here are three quick videos and a longer one that I recorded last night:

Sharon and I had a great time! It was truly a unique experience, and U2 delivered a high energy performance from start to finish. We avoided the nightmare that was the lineup for the LRT by walking home afterward. As we walked past the loading area adjacent to the stadium, we noticed the big trucks were already in motion – presumably they waste no time in tearing down the stage!

You can see the rest of my photos from the evening here. I’ve also created a playlist with some short videos here.

That’s Edmonton For You!

What a great weekend here in Edmonton! Lots of sun, temperatures above 25 degrees, and plenty of things to do. Perhaps the main event on Saturday was the Edmonton Pride Parade, which was a smashing success according to everyone I talked to. Dave has a good post about it here, and Paula has dozens of photos here. Also on Saturday was the City Centre Market followed by Al Fresco on 104th, which Sharon wrote about here. Summer in Edmonton has finally arrived!

Yesterday’s big event was That’s Edmonton For You!, a free concert from noon until 3pm featuring leading members of Edmonton’s indie rock scene at Louise McKinney Riverfront Park. The event was commissioned by the City of Edmonton for the ICLEI World Congress. Conceived of and produced by Trevor Anderson, the event featured Edmonton’s poet laureate Roland Pemberton (Cadence Weapon) and 13 other musicians. Each created new songs about sustainable community, drawing from personal experiences.

I arrived at around 12:30pm, just as the crowd was starting to grow. I took a few photos and checked out the information booths that lined the edges of park area. Edmonton Next Gen was on hand to promote Pecha Kucha 4, Vegans & Vegetarians of Alberta had a busy table, Epcor had a portable water tap, and The EATery at The ARTery was offering food and beverages. Before long I made my way back to the Shaw Conference Centre however, to escape the sun and heat! The one drawback to the venue is the complete lack of shade.

I did make one more trip out to the concert, but unfortunately missed most of the last hour (I was inside for the ICLEI opening). Councillor Don Iveson stayed until the end and said the final song, which featured audience participation in the form of key jingling and bicycle bells, was truly amazing. The crowd that gathered was quite impressive!

That's Edmonton For You!That's Edmonton For You!

If you couldn’t make it down yesterday you missed a great event, but don’t worry – you can download the full album of songs from the website! Very cool, and not something I expected.

Considering the concert was created specifically for ICLEI, I’m not sure it’ll happen again, but I hope it does! It’s a great showcase for local musicians, and a great opportunity for Edmontonians to experience an afternoon of music.

You can see the rest of my photos here, and don’t miss this collection of excellent shots by Chris.

Bon Jovi Rocked!

Bon Jovi!Last night I went to the Bon Jovi concert here in Edmonton with Megan, Riva, and Ken. My parents flew down from Yellowknife for the concert too, which was pretty sweet. Megan saw Bon Jovi in Calgary during the summer, and she said last night’s show was probably better. I have to say, I was really impressed!

There was a really wide range of ages in the audience. If you couldn’t tell by looking at faces, you certainly could by the high number of lighters in the crowd! At JT it was almost 100% cell phones, but not so last night. Hedley opened the show, but I think the young people were still there for Bon Jovi.

Megan was the photographer for most of my photos, as she has steadier hands than I do. My new camera worked pretty darn well, I have to say, even zoomed in 15x.

It was the most expensive concert I’ve ever been to (~ $160) but it was well worth it.

Justin Timberlake – FutureSex/LoveSounds in Edmonton

Around this time last night I was at Rexall Place to see Justin Timberlake. I was so excited for the concert! Jane, Megan and I got tickets the moment they went on sale months ago, which was good because it sold out almost immediately. We ended up selling two, and Jane’s friend Sarah came so there was four of us in all. That’s right, three gals and one guy. Fairly representative of the audience I’d say – there were far more women than men. Age was much more distributed though.

The place was absolutely packed! And keep in mind this was a concert-in-the-round, which means all 16,000+ seats were filled. Ours were really good, and Jane’s camera worked pretty well in the dark, so here’s a decent shot that she snapped:

This is probably the biggest concert I’ve ever been to, and it was nothing if not a spectacle. Velvet Revolver was quite the show as well, but even it was nothing compared to JT. The lights, stage, screens, smoke, dancers, instruments, everything, it was just awesome. I was really impressed. The one thing that surprised me was how adult-oriented the show was. I remember seeing a few younger kids with their parents, and I’m sure the parents weren’t thrilled with the mostly naked dancers or the heavy gyrating and sexually suggestive dancing.

I think one of the reasons the concert was so good was the venue. As hockey fans will know, Rexall Place is fairly unique. Justin remarked that Edmonton was the loudest crowd of the tour, and even if he was just saying that at first, the resulting noise would have made it true. It was LOUD! Seeing thousands of cameras flash at once was pretty neat, as was seeing thousands of cell phones swaying for the ballad. I really can’t imagine a new hockey arena being any better than Rexall Place…anyway, back to the concert.

I would have been happy if Justin had only sung “What Goes Around…” and called it a night, but fortunately he sang quite a few songs. I particularly liked his rendition of “LoveStoned”. And for the “intermission” there was a special guest – Timbaland! I had heard he wasn’t going to be there, so it was definitely a surprise to see him join JT on stage. He did a number of popular songs like Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” and a few Nelly Furtado songs, and he did the obligatory Aaliyah tribute. He also performed his popular single, “The Way I Are”.

One of the songs Timbaland used in his mix was Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and it really stuck out for me. I think it’s because Justin incorporates a lot of what made MJ successful into his show. Lots of dancing? Check. Fancy footwork? Check. Distinct fashion? Check. Fedora hat? Check. Falsetto? Check. Crotch grab? Check. One needs to be careful when making comparisons to Michael Jackson, and I’m not saying that JT is the new MJ, but I do think he’s smart for adopting some of the trademark aspects of Jackson’s performances.

Justin came back to perform “(Another Song) All Over Again” for the encore, and as he was finishing, a young woman appeared out of nowhere on stage. The security guard looked like he was going to tackle her (how did she sneak by in the first place?) but Justin stuck up his hand, and proceeded to handle the situation extremely well. He got her to help finish the song, but also took the opportunity to call her crazy and tell her “you scared the shit out of me, you know that right?” Heh.

All the dancers, musicians, and backup singers joined JT on stage at the very end for a big group bow which I thought was kinda cool. Then left alone on stage, Justin ran from side to side and waved to the crowd. Much better than some shows I’ve been to, where the performer just disappears.

I had a great time, and I’d wouldn’t hesitate if I got the chance to see JT in concert again!

UPDATE: For those of you with Facebook, this video that Jane uploaded of JT dancing during “My Love” is pretty wicked.