Sunday, December 28, 2008
Hollywood U2. World's Greatest.. cover band?
"Hollywood Bono" (with the "Hollywood Larry Mullins") performing at Pershing Square.
The problem I have when people call anything "World's Greatest" or "Best EVER" is that it sets the bar a little too high for expectations. I don't know how many friends (or people in general) that say something is "the best" I usually am up for disappointment.
This brings me to Friday night, when "The World's BEST U2 tribute band" performed at Pershing Square, (and had kindly waved their fee). First I want to say they were pretty good for what they are. Each "Hollywood U2" band member is a musician in their own right. Joe Heir, "Hollywood Bono" performs with another band, "The Supermodelz" and is a pretty good ringer for Bono himself (assuming there was a contest for that). The Hollywood Larry Mullen, (drummer Jorgen Ingmar) has a lifetime of musical experience. The band together has performed all over the world and even opened & closed for U2 during the Vertigo tour.
With all that hype.. I don't know what I was ready for; perhaps something a little more flashy and spectacular (albeit on a small scale). The music itself was pretty good. The singing, for the most part was alright. I don't see myself writing home (or emailing) saying how fantastic they were. There were a few times when Hollywood Bono seemed to sing off key and the sound was not quite there.
I thought the show lacked the enthusiasm and energy one might expect from a group of people who really love what they do. Granted this is all coming from someone who can't sing and can't play a guitar (or anything for that matter). I do love U2 though, but it seemed like I was attending someone's wedding rather than a real high energy concert.
Hollywood Bono would often ask inane questions like "Who has the "Joshua Tree" album?" or similar before each song as a way of introducing the next number. Maybe they were thinking they were coming into a situation where many folk might not have been fans. Whatever reason, it seemed odd. Sometimes Hollywood Bono would call out for requests and get heckled. "Free Bird!" someone called out. A few spectators echoed the response. Hollywood Bono quiped back "Why doesn't anyone ever request "Stairway to Heaven"? That's a much better song.. at least I think so."
They continued singing, and at one point, when they sang "Mysterious Ways," their Hollywood U2 bellydancer came out on stage and danced along to the song. Hollywood Bono made a comment like "wow we didn't expect that." um.. Seriously?? I mean yes, it was cold outside (my feet were getting wet standing in the melting "snow" that random kid skaters had tossed about) but she's part of the act, isn't she? According to their website, she's a recent addition.
Performing "Mysterious Ways."
Perhaps I'm too jaded for the Hollywood U2 act. It was a free concert after all. Eventually the audience did seem to warm up to the band and started singing along to some of the music when coaxed by Hollywood Bono. In the second hour it even picked up with props for "Sunday Bloody Sunday." However, while I was still there the audience didn't really seem to get up and dance or move much for the band.
It was a cold night and crowded on the rink. The seven pm session at Pershing Square had sold out and the eight & nine pm sold out shortly after. Many people stayed to hear the band and was a really big crowd. The band was good, but great? I resolve that if you want to see U2 in concert, be sure and catch the real thing. If you are a mild fan or keep your expectations in check, you'll be entertained with Hollywood U2.
I admit I stayed til shortly after nine pm. No amount of really good (but not great) music was going to keep my frozen feet from wanting to make the tracks back home to the Historic Core where my hot chocolate and a fresh pair of warm socks were waiting for me to gather up and settle in. There's more concerts coming up Friday, Saturday & Sundays through January.. and maybe next time I got I'll remember the warm socks. If you skate, Pershing Square will be open every day with last chance skate the 19th of January 2009.
my Hu2 flickr set
Pershing Square Downtown on Ice