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Everything posted by dmway

  1. And of the humble narrators of the thread by the “Hollywood” sign.
  2. Nov. 6 (pt. 2) - the location where the streets have no name (with street names!), and a hotel that has seven figures attached to it... And one of the best parts for last... Our sat nav guided us to the area where the "Streets" video was shot (no, it wasn't in the sat nav as a location like the "Hollywood" sign; we plugged in the intersection where it was shot). This is right in downtown LA - no wonder the cops were a bit annoyed that U2 shot a video here. (It's also not far from City Hall, so the cops wouldn't have had to drive very far to hassle the band.) We were looking for a place to park and were a bit uncertain; however, providence came to the rescue again in a big way. We were driving right next to the location, eager for a place to park. We suddenly saw a humble Mexican-American man waving a little orange flag to guide people into his parking structure. I got a feeling that this was the right place to go (IMHO, Mom was at work again). So, I pulled into this little parking structure on East 7th Street and found a spot to park. We were happy just to park here and walk to the intersection to get a good look at it. However, we got an extra gift - this particular place was the absolute perfect place to look upon the actual rooftop where U2 played their mini-show on that famous day. We had no idea that the vantage point from this simple garage had just the best view you could hope to have (short of being on the actual rooftop itself). Another added bonus! As you may know, it was from this video shoot that Bono saw the famous sign that led to a movie script of his ("The Million Dollar Hotel", of course). They shot this movie in two different locations on the same street, using the Rosslyn Hotel (which we drove past, but didn't stop at) and the Hotel Cecil. The latter is right next door to the "Streets" video shoot location. It was great to see both places so close together. Amusing side story (which I promise I am not making up) - as we walked to look more closely at the Hotel Cecil, a guy came out of the lobby who looked just like one of the unusual characters that was in the film, and he asked us if we were there for the film shoot. Both of us looked at each other quite amazed. We said we weren't and continued down the street. He followed us telling us more about this alleged shoot, until another person walked by and then he started telling him about the film shoot. I'm pretty sure there was no film shoot. Bono captured the irregular nature of many of the natives of this area very well in his film; the people there are really just like the characters in the film (which is sad in some ways because, both in the film and in real life, many of these people were/are homeless). Pictures:
  3. dmway

    R.I.P. Thread

    I forgot to respond to this earlier in the week. Yes, thank goodness we had Christopher to continue his father's legacy. (As a side-note, Tolkien was one of my favorite films of 2019 - I'm glad that film was made; he deserved such a cinematic memoir.) Tolkien's work is still interesting to read. I'm glad that Christopher found so much that had yet to see the light of day and brought it there. R.I.P., Christopher.
  4. GREAT write-up of your trip to Oz! (It’s nice to have an illustrated travelogue of a U2-related trip, isn’t it?) I’m glad you were able to accomplish a dream - it always feels good to do so.
  5. dmway

    R.I.P. Thread

    Oh, I think you are accidentally overstating our supposed differences of opinion about Rush. My personal preferences are much more in line with yours; I was just offering advice above based on those who are U2 fans first and may be encountering Rush for the first time. My first musical love (in terms of genre) is progressive rock, from the late 60s through the entirety of the 70s. Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, ELP, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Rush, Kansas, Styx - those bands made the music I loved, and still love, the most. The true impressiveness of U2 is displayed by the fact that, despite being inspired by the punk movement that was supposed to be overthrowing these progressive bands, I like our band from Dublin every bit as much as the bands from this movement. That's quite an accomplishment (however, they deserve the love - they are just that good). I also personally prefer early Rush. "A Farewell To Kings" is my favorite Rush album - I love every song. "Permanent Waves" is a co-favorite. I suppose my favorite era of Rush crosses the decade boundary - "2112" to "Grace Under Pressure" is my personal 'definitive' Rush. The debut album (which lacked Neil's input) up to and including "Caress Of Steel" was larval-stage Rush, IMHO - I am buoyed by the fact that the band members themselves also regard their first fully proper Rush album as "2112". Before that album, I like many songs (e.g., "Fly By Night" "By-Tor and the Snow Dog", "Working Man", etc.), but I don't love any of the three albums from start to finish - they just didn't fully gel for an entire album until "2112". However, from that point on, they were simply one of the best bands in rock, especially live. I also metaphorically chafe at those who prefer 70s Rush who are (somewhat or very) dismissive of their music after the 70s - their 80s and 90s music is truly excellent. It's just not classically progressive anymore; however, that doesn't mean that is isn't still outstanding - it is. Anyway... The fact that Neil had joined the great rock band in heaven is sad for us still on Earth. Like you, I was always rooting for one final reunion. I wish they had charged less for tickets on their 40th anniversary tour (I was still living in England at the time) - had I known that it was the last time I could see them, I would have gone for certain. I just thought they would be around longer, especially when "Clockwork Angels" was so good. Oh well... R.I.P., Neil.
  6. Nov. 6 (pt. 1) - the last full day in LA (but LA still had a lot to give us yet) One of the most significant days of our U2-oriented American Southwest adventure. I'll split this into two parts because we managed to squeeze in a lot again. We spent one final time looking at and taking pictures of the Walk Of Fame (we stayed very close to Hollywood Avenue) - we found diverse stars as those for: Phil Collins, Chris Pratt, Javier Bardem, Mark Hamill, Tom Cruise, Eddie Murphy, Johnny Depp, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Oliver Stone, Alfred Hitchcock, Roger Moore, Drew Barrymore, Elton John, William Shatner, and many, many more. (I would give photographic evidence of some of these below; however, since these were shot in portrait orientation and not in landscape, the weird iPhone glitch is rotating the images by 90 degrees - I hope this will be fixed soon.) We also found that The Magic Castle was very close to where we stayed. Did you know that Hollywood had a magic castle? Well, see for yourself - it has a hotel and a club. Practitioners of magic in LA like to sightsee locally and party down afterwards in the same place apparently... We also found LA's famous City Hall. If you have seen LA on TV and/or the movies, you have seen a shot or two of this very famous building. Pictures:
  7. dmway

    R.I.P. Thread

    Yes, it really does. I wanted to see them live from the Signals tour onward, but I only got to see them for the first time on the Hold Your Fire tour. I then caught every tour up to and including Vapor Trails; on the Test For Echo tour I actually got to see them at their hometown show in Toronto. Very cool. Neil (and the whole band, studio and live) will always be missed. If there is any good news coming from Neil's death, it is stories such as yours. FWIW, using your U2 fandom as a starting point, I would generally avoid their 70s work (having said that, three of my favorite albums of theirs are from the 70s (2112, A Farewell To Kings, Hemispheres); however, that was when they were at their most progressive). If you like the punkier, more direct music that inspired U2 at the beginning of their career, I'd check out their 80s work first. Geddy (by his own admission) sang better and more melodically then (his vocals in the 70s divide opinion - enough said). So, Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, and Signals would be good to check out; the rest of the albums from the 80s are also good, and are even a bit more accessible. Their 90s work, IMHO, was another very strong era from them - Presto, Roll The Bones, Counterparts, and Test For Echo are all very, very good. They were a bit less consistently excellent in the new millennium, but they have good songs then too (e.g., "One Little Victory"). I hope you find something to like - Rush was an excellent band, and Neil was a large part of the reason. In addition to being one of the very best rock drummers ever, he wrote the lion's share of the lyrics too. He was very erudite.
  8. dmway

    R.I.P. Thread

    R.I.P., Neil Peart, legendary drummer of Canadian progressive rock trio, Rush. He apparently died of the same brain cancer as Ted Kennedy and John McCain. Heaven has another superlative drummer; we still on Earth are now short one of the very best. 🥁
  9. Nov. 5 - Beverly Hills, the "Hollywood" sign, and the Sunset Strip (and surrounding areas) As you can tell from the title, this was another very active day, the 2nd-to-last full day of our vacation. I had never wanted to see Beverly Hills when I was younger. It just struck me as a place where very rich people went/lived to spoil themselves with their idle whims and desires for overpriced possessions. Now, to a degree, there is at least a little truth to that - if you want to satisfy such an aim, Beverly Hills is the perfect place to do so. However, you know what? It is also a very lovely place with nice people in it too. We saw really amazing things there - for example, a tree that could have come directly from one of Tolkien's books, lovely public artwork, and gaudy (and yet stunning) storefronts. The Hollywood sign. If you want to see it for yourself up close, be ready to do some walking. The locals passed very restrictive parking regulations anywhere close to the sign. So, if you want to avoid a parking ticket, park a good distance away and walk (it's all steeply uphill too - be sure you are in half-decent shape first). If you want to drive right to it (you can't park at the park near the sign itself anymore - the park itself is closed), just type "The Hollywood Sign" into your sat nav, and you will be guided straight there (yes, seriously - that's how we go there). The Sunset Strip. If you want to find the famous music clubs The Rainbow, The Roxy, and The Whisky-a-Go-Go, they are all pretty close together on Sunset. (U2 played at Palladium on the October tour; otherwise, they always played in an arena there even in the early days). Doug Weston's Troubadour (as featured in the movie "Rocketman"; it's the venue where Elton John got his American debut) is just up the street and almost back in Beverly Hills again. We even got a look at old Route 66 signs - a lot of LA's current streets were once part of the old Route 66. The famous Chateau Marmont hotel is also on Sunset (many famous acts stayed there - Led Zeppelin had several notorious stays there). Pictures:
  10. No problem - other people responded mid-tale as well. All comments welcome at any time.
  11. That’s a great story of your own! Yes, the scenery there is indescribably awesome (it’s nice to use that word properly and not in a jokey OTT 80’s way). There are two more days to be recounted - as I told Max, the 6th is especially U2-ey. 😎
  12. You're welcome for all the photos! 😊 Some of the best ones are yet to come - our final day (before leaving day, that is) in LA was very U2-oriented. In order to avoid offending the more politically-sensitive, I'll send one extra-good photo to you in a message - it's like the pre-"Exit" video from the JT anniversary tour in one still photo. 😎 The portal of tacos and tequila sounds like a good portal - I hope it is that.
  13. Look at this story on the front page of the site: https://www.u2.com/news/title/hydrogen-powered-rocknroll Very cool! 😎
  14. Happy New Year to all the mods and the rest of Zootopia! 😎 2020 is going to be a significant year for U2 and all of their fans - I feel it!
  15. Nov. 4 (pt. 2) - more pictures from Venice Beach (I would be interested see the reaction of @Max Tsukino to one of these pictures - he and you will know the one I mean; I thought it was especially poignant in today's US political climate. Again, apologies for the 90 degree rotation - that bug hasn't been worked out yet.) This also was there too - there must have been other countries there as well: Back at the hotel, we also saw the set-ups for many movie previews (did I mention that we had stayed in Hollywood?). In addition to "Ford v. Ferrari", we saw the previews be setup for the latest Terminator film, and "Frozen II" was being set up as we were leaving.)
  16. It is a lovely place. I hope you get your wish. I never thought I would say that I would love to return there as well, but I would love to return. Let’s hope that happens.
  17. ...and they were excellent yet again! 😎 They were at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe, PA, the place they played their very first show 15 years ago; they have now played 35 shows at that venue. Some photos from the show:
  18. Thank you very much for saying so! 😊 As I said at the beginning, we wanted to share the memories of the trip with everyone in the hope that, if there were some here wanting to do something similar, we could show that you could go to all these U2-related places with not too much effort (if you plan the route right - there was only one part of the trip that was trying; that’s the part of the trip I’ll be writing about next.) I’ll also share the info that we received in advance of the trip at the end of the thread.
  19. ...and finally some official news: https://www.u2.com/news/title/u2-experence-live-in-berlin
  20. Back on topic... My next show is tomorrow night, the excellent Philadelphia-based Led Zeppelin tribute band, “Get The Led Out”. They are phenomenal! 😎 They go more for recreating the music exactly rather that going for the exact look of the band on-stage. Thus, there will be five guys playing at any given time, but all of the overdubs that Jimmy played on the albums are played live during the show 🎸. A great evening of music coming!
  21. No problem. 😎 You should still see them live, despite your quasi-phobia of OTLTA. They are phenomenal live - AND, if you are close enough, Jamie West-Oram will jam right in front of you!
  22. Merry Xmas, Zootopia! 🎅🎄🎁 (For those who have been keeping up with the “Desert Sky” thread about our JT-themed vacation in October/November, those posts will resume in a couple of days - we are enjoying the holidays too. 😎)
  23. Nov. 4 - back in LA (pt. 1) We had been in LA for the first part of the trip and now we were having the conclusion of our trip here too. We even stayed in the same hotel because it had worked out so well for us for the first part of the trip; it was perfectly located for all of our expeditions. Our next outing took us to one of the lovely beaches of LA, of which there are very many. We did some research online and were finally attracted by one beach in particular. Since we are fans of the same music, we let our fandom decide which beach to go to: Venice Beach. Venice Beach is the place where Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek first met - this meeting eventually led, of course, to the founding of The Doors. As an additional side note, it also was the second location of the famous "Muscle Beach" (the original location was at Santa Monica Beach, just to the north; later it moved south to Venice) where people like Arnold Schwarzenegger got their start in bodybuilding. (We didn't actually go up to see Muscle Beach, but it is there if you ever feel like visiting it.) We had a really wonderful time there - I/we would highly recommend it. It had a place where we had a one of the greatest lunches of our trip (a gluten-free turkey burger and fish tacos were eagerly consumed there by us - if those sound like odd dietary choices, just remember that it was/is California, and our diets are very far from many people's standard diet; I had always wanted to try fish tacos, and they were as delicious as I had hoped - I'd have them again in a heartbeat). The beachfront is full of quirky shops to browse through. Lots of clothing shops, both fashionable and novelty-styled (it is the beach after all). In addition to those and the many restaurants were many art-oriented places. Some were more traditional; others were more made on the spot by some very talented local artists. You could tell that many of them made their living just from their artwork. Of course, the main attraction was/is the beach itself. I had only been to the Pacific Ocean once before in my life, so this was a very welcome return. We saw the most lovely sites on the beach, the best was the sunset. By sheer coincidence, since the time had just changed a day or two before back to Standard Time, the sunset was earlier than usual. It was just stunning seeing the sun set in the Pacific. Again, let's let the pictures do the talking:
  24. Nov. 3 - from DV to a site just beyond the boundaries of the national park, then to a place often seen but not often visited, then back to LA for round 2 This was another day full of activity - it featured a lot of driving, but also a lot of sights, the last one a more familiar one, but from a new direction. We set out from our beautiful hotel in the beautiful valley with the ironic doleful name to look for a specific member of the local flora off of Hwy. 190 just outside of Death Valley National Park. More accurately, we were looking for the place it once lived. If some here perhaps didn't already know, the Joshua Tree that became the symbol for the album "The Joshua Tree" fell down in a wind storm in the year 2000. So, the days of seeing/visiting the actual tree have been gone for almost two decades. However, as you may have seen on other pictures here on the site and elsewhere, there is a fan tribute near/at the site where the tree used to be. There is even a tree that has seemingly grown out of the remains of the old one. (I mentioned it before, but, at the end of this travelogue (when I eventually finish it, that is), I will give source articles for the U2 sights we explored together.) I do have to give you some words of advice/caution if you decide that you might want to venture out to this part of the world on your own JT pilgrimage. This location really is in the middle of nowhere. The band themselves chose the original tree because, if you noticed from our photographs posted earlier, Joshua Trees tend to grow in large bunches together (this is why further south in southern California there is a whole National Park for them) - the one they chose to photograph was a loner. They did a very good job of picking a desolate location for their tree. If you set out for it, remember a few things: fill up with gas completely before you start (this may seem to be an obvious statement, but, if you don't fuel up while you are still in Nevada (using the route that we did, that is), you're not going to find another station in California until well after the plain where the tree once lived); also, be mindful of three words: dehydration, hypoxia, and albedo. The first word everyone knows well, but you'll experience it during your trip. Death Valley and the area around it is a desert - have more water than you think you could possibly drink, and drink as much water as you feel the need to (and just a little more). You will feel the pervasive lack of moisture in multiple ways. Enough said. Hypoxia - lack of oxygen. Death Valley is below sea level in many areas; the areas that make it a valley are not - no valleys without hills/mountains attached to them. Death Valley is no exception. Going into and out of DV, you will reach heights 4/5 of a mile high in elevation. In these heights, there is less oxygen and, if you have prolonged time at this height, you will feel it. If you are the driver going to the JT site, be sure your companion takes pictures (also be sure to have a companion in the first place; you could do the trip on your own, I suppose, but that would certainly have added elements of risk) - the drive out of DV to the JT area is breathtakingly beautiful. Drive very carefully. There are a lot of hairpin turns with precipitous falls if you don't execute them properly. Let your companion photograph the scenic beauty. (You can also stop at the few lookouts along the road - just budget your time well.) Albedo - the scientific term for reflected sunlight. Albedo is why skiers get nice suntans on their faces in the dead of winter. In addition, the higher elevations of this journey add yet another risk factor: exposure to higher amounts of UV light. The combination of the two have to be factored in - you may need sunscreen even during times of the year when it normally wouldn't even cross your mind that you might need it. My companion asked me to think about wearing some; I decided not to have any. I only live to tell the tale without a bout of sunburn because we went in early November; had we gone any earlier in the year, even just a couple of weeks earlier, I'm sure my obstinacy would have led to a very red face (literally, as well as metaphorically). As I was driving, I could definitely feel the sunlight hit my face both off the surface of the road and even off the hood of the car (albedo at work in its full glory) - as I already said, only the time of year saved me from a painful burn. Have sunscreen with you on the trip. We used photographs from the source article we had to locate the reborn tree. We offered our silent tribute to what felt and still feels like a sacred site to fellow U2 fans. We took a few photographs of the area and left - we didn't linger too long because our buddies dehydration, hypoxia, and albedo were ganging up on us and were starting to negatively affect our moods (all three will, esp. hypoxia - dehydration is good at it too). A word to the wise... We took the scenic route back to LA instead of I-15. We were both glad we did - new sites to see because of that decision. Without knowing it, we drove by Ridgecrest, CA, the epicenter for the earthquakes in California in 2019 (no, we didn't see any damage from the July 4th quake nor did we feel any tremors during our whole stay there) - it was just an interesting detail we found out after the fact. We also drove through the town of Mojave, CA. This town has a very famous sight to see, one you may have seen on TV and/or the movies - a very large wind farm. After leaving Mojave, we hightailed it back to LA, this time using I-5 from the north. The last part of the trip was about to begin. Pictures:
  25. Nov. 2 - from LV to DV "DV", of course, stands for Death Valley. We began our day saying farewell to Las Vegas - I can safely say that we are both great fans of LV and will be back to visit, possibly more than once. It is a genuinely fun place, even without gambling and other assorted pleasures involving money. Of course, the U2 connection with the ISHFWILF video will always make it special. Our drive to Death Valley allowed us to revisit some of our recent statements (e.g., driving on another planet/the moon/scenes from "Star Trek" - see previous posts above for those). The scenery leaving LV was as stunning as it was arriving there. Deserts are stark places, of course; that doesn't mean that they can't be awe-inspiringly beautiful as well. We drove out of LV, passing thriving metropolises like Pahrump and other curiously-named towns. Our quest was to find the road that would take us to California Highway 190, the main road through the famous Death Valley. Our place to stay for the night was/is located right on Hwy. 190; that place in and of itself also turned out to be an additional delight - more on that later. Taking the road to 190 feels like you are driving in the middle of nowhere - this is because you are driving in the middle of nowhere. When you cross the state line from Nevada to California, if you blinked at the wrong time, you would miss the microscopic sign indicating the crossing of the threshold. You certainly couldn't tell from the terrain: it is identical on both sides of the border: gorgeous desolation. After driving for what seems like an eternity of unchanging landscape, you finally see signs announcing that you are in the heart of Death Valley. We stop to take some pictures of ourselves on the moon in Death Valley. We had been on the road for a few hours, so, even when we see the sign for Zabriskie Point, we continue onward to our hotel, which is only another mile down the road. (We didn't feel the need to go back to Zabriskie Point later; we already knew what it looked like - so do you. Just look at the landscape behind the band on your copy of "The Joshua Tree" - that's Zabriskie Point.) We arrived at our hotel and were absolutely spellbound by the beauty of the place, both of the hotel and the panoramic scenery all around it. (Note of importance: I splurged on the hotel - I figured if we were staying in Death Valley and were exerting all the effort to go to/from there, we were going to stay someplace nice. And, boy, did we. How nice was it? I'll tell you how nice: the day after we left, since they had a bye week in their football season, the San Francisco 49ers were staying there for a few days for "team bonding" sessions. It must have worked; they're doing quite well this year.) I wish I could tell you how mystifyingly beautiful the colors and contours of the whole place were - I guess I'll have to let the pictures do the talking:
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