sunday bloody sunday

October 27, 2009

I met Ann Powers at a workshop at my school paper last spring and was so stoked that a living, breathing female music critic was actually talking to me (much less thinking I was the next Daphne Carr) that I held onto hope that our vague plans to get coffee and talk about summer writing prospects would eventually come true–even when summer ended. But then I found out that her husband got relocated and she moved to the deep South somewhere, inevitably getting lost in the thicket of backwards thought like the rich half of my family, which explained not only her lack of post-American Idol finale communication with me, but also her missing weekly musings printed in the Calendar section of the L.A. Times. Since her July disappearance, she has used her several returns to Los Angeles to write up expert assessments of big-time concerts (such as Pearl Jam at the Gibson and Thom Yorke’s recent dance party at The Orpheum), but today’s discussion of Sunday’s U2 concert at the Rose Bowl (which is so amazing, it’s not even posted on the Times’ website yet) is the most insightful yet.

Instead of writing about good-concert-bad-concert or “I love Bono” review fodder, Ann instead dissects what erecting $25 million dollar stages across the country means for the future of arena tours (creates a “welcome den”) and what the streaming of Sunday’s event on YouTube does for the concert experience (nothing compares to the real thing). I love Ann Powers because her dissections are infinitely more interesting than the concerts themselves and she never ceases to amaze me with her evaluations of the vast cultural web and finding important intersections that I see, but fail to find the words for.

Also worth playing around with: the Times’ interactive graphic of U2’s in-the-round stadium modeled off the LAX Theme Building. There are 12 guys that sit in its futuristic legs to control the spotlights and the LED screen expands to create a light show shower curtain that goes crazy during “Vertigo.”

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