Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bono Loves America

I am a suburban Mom who needs her morning coffee and her fix of U2 to get through the day. Now I’ve been listening to U2 since the mid-1980s and have never had the opportunity to see them live in concert—until this week!
In this century, I have successfully managed to miss both the Elevation and the Vertigo tours so I was thrilled when Mr. Incredible managed to score two tickets to the U2 360° tour at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland last Tuesday night. So what if we had to fly to Washington, DC; we actually had tickets the U2 concert!
On the night of the concert, we left plenty of time to drive from Chevy Chase, Maryland to FedEx Field in nearby Landover. Yes, it was rush hour on the Beltway and although the sun was shining and the pavement was dry, it still took us 2 hours to drive 20 miles. (For you U2 fans out there, that’s listening to No Line on the Horizon twice back-to-back.) But never mind as it was U2, and we had finally arrived along with 80,000 others packing into the stadium. We slid into our seats with our concert tees, drinks, and dinner just as Muse started playing Knights of Cydonia.
I know a lot of you are Muse fans, but I’m a novice and will admit I recognized maybe one of the nine songs they played. I found them incredibly loud which really distorted the sound and made it sound less than musical (for my ears at least). I’m sure I was in the minority as the crowd was very enthusiastic.
Now I’ve seen my fair share of rock concerts, but nothing has ever come close to this show. U2 is a band that is difficult to upstage, but their own stage design nearly overpowered them. A huge spider-like or spaceship apparatus with a stage below and a huge 360° monitor in the middle is the stage design for the 360° tour. It was awe-inspiring throughout the show and made you feel like you really were experiencing the pinnacle of U2.
As the lights went out, the spire on the stage/spaceship/spider-like apparatus lit up, and U2’s drummer Larry Mullin, Jr. drummed his way onto the stage and led the band out to the strains of Breathe off of their latest album. As U2 rocked on with more songs off of their current CD as well as the old favorites; you couldn’t help but get caught up in the sheer momentum of U2. Bono would direct the crowd to move their arms one way or sing part of the song and they did!
Is U2 always this “over-the-top” live? Highlights (for me at least) included:
  • Mysterious Ways played live as it is one of my personal favorites.
  • The incredible light show emitted from the set for the notorious pop songs Vertigo and Beautiful Day. Perfectly in-synch with the spaceship stage
  • Bono and Andy—a 10-year-old boy that Bono pulled out of the crowd to run around the circular catwalk part of the stage at shoulder height of the crowd below.
  • My Blue Room was just so odd and out of place. I’m adding it as a highlight because the song was so obscure and almost out of place from the rest of the show. A Russian astronaut on the space station??
  • The Sikh in a turban who Bono pulled up onto the stage with his American flag for part of Sunday Bloody Sunday.
  • Bono’s explanation of why he loves America. His political banter ranged from Iran to Burma to dedicating Beautiful Day to Eunice Shriver and New Year’s Day to Teddy Kennedy. Given the amount of time Bono spends in the States, he truly loves America, or at least loves the money our government gives him to support his worthy causes.
  • The six song encore that ended with With or Without You and Moment of Surrender.

If U2’s 360° tour and spacecraft stage land anywhere near you, what are you waiting for? Get out there and buy tickets to experience this phenomenal show! U2 is truly at the peak of their career and pack an amazing amount of energy into a 2 1/2 hour set. I’m hooked and would see them again if they came anywhere near Minnesota.

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