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Hollywood U2 rocks Central Park

Tribute band draws more than 5,000 locals

Posted: July 28, 2008 9:16 p.m.
Updated: September 28, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Hollywood Bono spotlights Hollywood Edge during Hollywood U2's performance of "Bullet in a Blue Sky" at Concerts in the Park Saturday night in Saugus.

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With a nod to Dublin's finest, tribute band Hollywood U2 rocked a crowd of about 5,500 Saturday night at Central Park, in the fourth event of Santa Clarita's summer 2008 Concerts in the Park series.

The four-member band played faithful versions of 19 of the Irish band's best-known songs, going back to U2's early-'80s recordings and including favorites from late 2004's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" - U2's 11th and most recent album.

Saturday night's highlights included "Beautiful Day," "I Will Follow," "Pride (In the Name of Love)," "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "New Year's Day," "Mysterious Ways" (with guest appearance by belly dancer Tatiana Zaza), "With or Without You" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."

A group of about 100 fans - ranging from tweens and teens to Generation Xers and Baby Boomers - stood at the front of the stage the entire show, dancing and singing along with the usually uplifting lyrics.

The Hollywood-based quartet played the 2006 summer series and convinced local skeptics enough to be asked back again this year.

Among those on hand two years ago were Steven Elkin, 53, and his wife Lori of Saugus, who this time brought their two youngsters, Justin, 14, and Jennifer, 11.

"I just think (Hollywood U2) did a terrific job," he said. "At first I sat in the back on purpose, because I wanted to have the illusion of the real U2 up there, and they gave it to me. I closed my eyes on purpose a couple times, and I was hearing U2."

The Elkins brought the kids, Lori said, "because U2 has more than 25 years of great music, and parents who expose their children to it are helping the music trickle down from generation to generation, and that's important."

Joe Hier, aka "Hollywood Bono," founded the group nearly five years ago. The present lineup - also featuring Bart Davis as "Hollywood Edge" (guitar), Mikhail Davies as "Hollywood Adam" Clayton (bass), and Jorgen Ingmar Aloss as "Hollywood Larry" Mullen (drums) - has been together about three and a half years.

"When they ask you back, it's a message you're doing the right thing," Hier said after the show. "When there are thousands of people like that, you can literally feel it in your stomach. It's great when we get that kind of response for something we put our hearts into."

For more info about the band, visit www.hollywoodu2.com.

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