NEW YORK -- This will be a multi-faceted thread, as I will be in a meeting all day.
Since the ALCS was being conducted 3,000 miles from here, I decided to go to the U2 concert at Madison Square Garden.
Not having a ticket and having had no luck either online or at the box office, I started looking around for people selling. Got lucky -- I found three seventeen-year-old kids who for some reason had bought four tickets, and had a nice lower-tier extra seat they were selling at face value.
The opening act was a British band called Keane, far better than Dashboard Confessional, the act that opened the U2 show I saw three weeks ago in Chicago. You could perhaps best categorize Keane as "power pop", but they had pretty good range from slow songs to upbeat rockers, and had good interaction with the very-slow-arriving crowd (there were still pockets of empty seats even five minutes before U2 took the stage at 9:30 pm), constantly praising U2 and thanking them for the chance to open for them.
U2's set ran nearly two and a half hours, with two long encores -- during the second one Bono pulled a young woman from the first row of the ellipse and danced with her for two songs, "Fast Cars" and "With Or Without You". According to the above-linked review, this is the second time this particular U2 fan has been so selected.
The set was very similar to the United Center set; for anyone who's gone to a U2 show (or any rock band's show, for that matter) in your own city, of course Bono played up how much they enjoy playing New York City. Same thing they said in Chicago, of course. They did play a few bars of the Ramones' "Rockaway Beach" as a kind of "tip of the cap" to the New York-centric crowd; this was the last of five Madison Square Garden shows on this leg of the tour, though they do return to NYC in November.
I'd never been in MSG before -- it's been extensively renovated over the last fifteen years or so and appears just as modern as the United Center. The main difference is that it feels smaller and more intimate than the giant UC, and as a result, the seats are closer to the stage, and the acoustics are far better than the UC, which was designed to magnify the crowd noise for sporting events.
Bono and the Edge spent quite a bit more time on the ellipse than they did at the UC, and from my seat in section 50, I was probably only a couple of hundred feet from them at times. In a giant arena show, to be able to be that close to the performers (without having to stand in line all day to get close to the front of the ellipse) made the show well worth it. They finished with a rousing encore of "Vertigo".