In the time we’ve been together, my wife and I have taken some of our greatest pleasures from live concerts: all kinds of acts at all manner of venues—from Aerosmith at MSG, to Chris Cornell at the Beacon, to the Black Crowes at Radio City, to Cher at Jones Beach, to Prince at the Staples Center, to Ray LaMontagne at the Greek, to Pink at the Wiltern, to Billy Joel at Dodger Stadium.
We share a love for U2, and have pretty much seen the band on every tour since we started dating. So when they came around this past summer to play the Rose Bowl for their thirtieth-anniversary Joshua Tree show, we didn’t so much as hesitate the moment tickets went on sale.
The Rose Bowl, if you don’t know, is an enormous pain in the ass to get to. (We’ve seen U2 there before, on the U2360° show they recorded for home-video release.) It’s an outdoor football stadium in Pasadena, tucked away in a morass of winding residential roads where the streets have no name, and like damn near everything else in Los Angeles (Downtown, for instance), you can’t really fathom why this particular location was selected over, say, any other. And once you’re down there, you’re there to stay for the duration, as the ways in and out are limited whether you’ve come by car, bus, or shoe leather.
This past May 20, the day of the concert, we arrived early, having taken an Uber to the stadium. It was hot as blazes as we waited on three long lines: first for T-shirts, which were all several sizes smaller than advertised, then for printed tickets at will call (the concert was “credit-card entry,” but the card I’d used to purchase our admittance months earlier had since been replaced due to fraudulent activity), then finally to wend our way into the sprawling venue itself.
By the time we made it inside, we were fatigued from the adventure, sticky with sweat. Guzzling our Guinness Blondes—what else?—it was pretty clear we both wished we’d stayed home, and the question on our minds at that moment practically voiced itself: “Have we finally gotten too old for this shit?”