U2 wrapped up their five-night stand at L.A.’s Forum Wednesday night with a show heavy on their new material, including the live debut of “Volcano,” an acoustic rendition of “Ordinary Love” and the first performance of “The Troubles” since opening night in Vancouver. But it was the band’s reaction to a technical glitch that became the most spontaneous moment of the night.
When a piano Bono and the Edge use to play a stripped-down “Every Breaking Wave” malfunctioned, Bono was forced to interact with the crowd as technicians tried to solve the problem. “One of my favorite performers is Steven Morrissey,” Bono said as he took flowers from a fan. “He does a great thing where he throws gladioli into the crowd.” (Kudos to Bono for knowing Morrissey’s first name and the plural form of gladiolus.)
Once the flower bit wore thin, Bono spotted an Elvis impersonator near the stage. “What’s Elvis doing in the crowd?” he said. “Dude, I have everything by you. Everything.” After the Edge told Bono the piano is unusable, the U2 singer brought “Elvis” onstage. “This is unbelievable,” Bono said as he bowed down to the man. “Always wanted to meet you, dude. Love your early work.”
The Edge began playing the opening notes of “Every Breaking Wave,” but Bono waved him off so “Elvis” could lead the crowd in a brief rendition of “I Can’t Help Falling In Love,” which Bono recorded for the Honeymoon In Vegas soundtrack and regularly played on the Zoo TV tour. The Elvis impersonator did a nice job considering he didn’t have any instrumentation and was probably more than a little nervous.
Wednesday’s show found the band playing eight of the 11 Songs Of Innocence tracks, so now “Sleep Like A Baby and “This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now” are the only unplayed tunes on the LP. Robert Plant was in the house, so Bono sprinkled in bits of Zeppelin songs like “Black Dog” and “Good Times, Bad Times” throughout the night.
U2’s Innocence + Experience Tour resumes this Saturday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The American leg wraps up July 31st after an eight-night stand at New York’s Madison Square Garden before the band heads over to Europe for a long run of dates in September.