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Amid the rattle and hum before U2's Rose Bowl show

October 25, 2009 | 11:51 pm

U2 at the Rose Bowl: Last of the really big shows?

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There was an air of intense excitement at the Rose Bowl for Sunday night's concert, but there was also a sense of urgency -- the era of rock bands selling out a 95,000-plus-seat show in America is, as they say, rapidly fading.

"The days of the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd and all those stadium tours, all of that is winding down; U2 may be the last band of that type," said Dan Bell of Monrovia, one of the fans who attended the biggest concert in the history of the venerable venue. "You won't see shows this big that aren't festivals."

The worry was that the show might be too big. The Rose Bowl has had notorious problems in the past for concerts, which have traffic patterns far more condensed than, say, a college football game with its tailgate trickle-in.

The gates opened more than half an hour after the advertised 5 p.m., and there was grumbling from sunbaked fans, especially those eager to get a spot on the field, which was general admission.

The opening act, L.A.'s own Black Eyed Peas, brought along special guest Slash to play "Sweet Child O' Mine" -- this really was a stadium show flashback -- and the crowd went wild.

There were plenty of limos, of course, for a show of such pedigree, and pre-show party famous faces included Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor, Paris Hilton, J.J. Abrams, Chris O'Donnell, Cindy Crawford and Michael Bay.

Also part of the spectacle is the Claw, a giant, alien-looking contraption that has generated far more media attention than any recent U2 song. The 90-foot-tall structure took about four days to build and was inspired by the Theme Building at LAX.

U2's 360 Tour is in support of its early 2009 release, "No Line on the Horizon." The album has sold just over 1 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. A respectable number, no doubt, but it took U2 about 30 weeks to reach the seven-figure sales mark. By comparison, rapper Jay-Z hit the milestone in less than two months with his "The Blueprint 3."

Nevertheless, U2's touring power has never really been in doubt, and Sunday's sold-out Super Bowl-sized show was streamed live on YouTube.

geoff.boucher@latimes.com

U2 will back in Southern California in 2010. The band will perform in Anaheim at Angel Stadium on June 6. Ticket on-sale information has not yet been announced.

RELATED:

U2_ROSE_BOWL_BONO PHOTOS: U2's 360 Tour: Live at the Rose Bowl

The masses descend upon Pasadena for U2's Rose Bowl gig

Making the U2 set so big that it's invisible

INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC: U2 360 tour: Stadium in the round

Photos: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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