The Starlight Bowl in Burbank is one of those hidden treasures that locals know about if they have been there before. I had not, so imagine my surprise to see a moderate sized amphitheater nestled back in the hills above Burbank with stadium seating, a beer garden by BJ’s and a great sound system. This little gem is a great place for concerts, and what a concert we got – The Young Dubliners, one of the all-time great Irish rock bands, double billed with Hollywood U2, a U2 tribute band that travels the world and has garnered national acclaim.
I had a chance to speak to Joseph Hier, Hollywood Bono of Hollywood U2, before the concert to get some background on the band and what audiences could expect.
“I like to think that we’re doing what I would want to see as a U2 fan,” said Hier of his band. Named the World’s Best Tribute Band for U2, they were featured on the AXS TV show, “World’s Greatest Tribute Bands,” hosted by Katie Daryl. They have traveled the world performing and giving fans the U2 experience, which is more than just songs – it’s a recreation of some of their most memorable moments and tours.
“There’s other tributes that just do one look or whatever. When a particular venue allows for the production, we like to bring in the video screens and costumes and really do it up like they used to because that is what drives fans nuts. I know that’s what they want to see. And [Starlight Bowl] is the perfect venue for this, to recreate the Zoo TV [era] and the Vertigo concert; people are just gonna love it.”
Sharing the bill was The Young Dubliners.
Started back in the late 1980s at the dawn of Celtic rock, two guys from Dublin and three from America set out to perform their own style of Celtic rock.
“We just really wanted to try and do something unique and we were definitely influenced by The Waterboys and Big Country and The Pogues. But we didn’t want to take either one and just imitate it, we wanted to be something very fresh and different,” said Keith Roberts, lead singer and guitarist of The Young Dubliners. “Once we came out to America, I really wanted to have a band that would be a rock band with an Irish influence. I knew that I could provide the Irish influence.”
“Brendan, our bass player, and I grew up together. We hired Americans to play with us and we found that they brought such a great rock history and rock background. We were able to bring a European rock background but also traditional Irish background.”
At the concert, they played some of their well-known favorites as well as songs from their newest album, “9.”
“We are very much geared to big, open air shows; that’s kind of what our specialty would be. We love to do them, we love to get outside and play our songs and have all ages [attend].”
Their set, as with Hollywood U2’s set, was met with thunderous applause and a standing ovation. The audience ate it up and between the clear night air, the music and the lights from the stage, it made for a very enjoyable evening.
For upcoming concerts at Starlight Bowl, see the ad below. To see the bands play at the Starlight Bowl, scan the QR code above.