Thursday, July 21, 2011

Live Review - U2 @ New Meadowlands Stadium

Tickets for the second leg of U2's 360 tour went on sale in the fall of 2009, in June of 2010 the show was postponed by a full calender year due to Bono having to have emergency back surgery, now 2011, U2 return and are even better than the real thing. In a year filled with doubt for the legendary Irish band; from Spiderman on Broadway, Bono's recovery, their tax controversy in Europe, Glastonbury headlining set, U2 proved once and for all they are the best touring band and spectacle on the planet.
Under their now infamous giant 167 foot "claw" stage, a contraption that requires the band to travel with more than 200 trucks and takes nearly two days to assemble, U2 arrived from the players tunnel of New Jersey's new football stadium to the sounds of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" and massive applause of nearly 100 thousand screaming fans (I screamed enough for three people), they received a hero's welcome in a land that has welcomed them from the beginning. As soon as they took to the massive rotating stage, the feedback and reverb off Edge's guitar rang through to the opening licks of "Even Better than the Real Thing," a song which was not played on the first leg of their 360 tour and is now an opening song staple. From there they launched into "The Fly," "Mysterious Ways," and Bono addressing the crowd that 20 years ago they released two records from their sessions in Berlin, the albums that would become Achtung Baby! and Zooropa. Since they have no album to tour behind, this was a touring birthday to these albums that created U2's benchmark into rock and roll history and took them from global sensations to global phenoms. With the giant claw stage being the main attraction, a structure never seen before and possibly we may never see again, Bono, Edge, Larry and Adam took the fans eyes off the smoke and mirrors and placed them onto them. Unlike the first leg of this tour,which had the jaws of fans on the ground, it was more production rather than the music. It lacked the intimacy that make U2's concerts so damn special, now having two years with this particular stage, the band are free to do what they want, when they want. Less chirography, more rock and roll. It was all proven in song selections like "Zooropa," "Discotheque," and "Miss Sarajevo." While the focus of these gigs was to maximize the fans experience in seeing the band in massive stadiums, the motif of outer space and flying into outer space was understood when outer space connected with New Jersey as the band video called Commander Mark Kelly of the international space station to dedicate "Beautiful Day" to his wife, Senator Gabby Gifford who is recovering after being shot by a lunatic earlier this year at an event in Arizona.
While the concert was literally out of this world, Bono, would explain how it has been 30 years since the band's first concert in New Jersey at Ashbury Park's now defunct Fast Lane, he would read off the band's first set list and explain how Jersey was home to Springsteen and we were in his promise land - the band would later dedicate "Moment of Surrender" to Clarence Clemmons, who recently passed away. While the crowd would chant "BRUCE!" Bono acknowledged his friend who was watching the gig from the side of the stage. So much for the eye to see and the body to compute, in an assault on all senses by the time the first set closed it was a feel of "what just happened?" seem to simultaneously rush over the audience's faces. The band returned for two encores that ended on such high stimulation, from "One" to a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" to "Where the Streets Have no Name,"to returning with Bono swinging around a microphone for the second encore featuring the rarely performed "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me." They didn't seem like they would end, and just when you thought it was over - Bono would say "this was our first single! Out of Control!" The rare first single was played and closing the longest set in the band's tour, over two and half hours and Bono saying "that's us, just four lads from Dublin, out of control."

U2 New Meadowlands Stadium Set List 7/20/11
Even Better Than The Real Thing
The Fly
Mysterious Ways
Until the End of the World
I Will Follow
Get On Your Boots
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - Promised Land
Stay - In the Wee Small Hours
Beautiful Day - Space Oddity
Miss Sarajevo
City of Blinding Lights
I'll Go Crazy (remix)
Discotheque - Psycho Killer - Life During Wartime
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Walk On

Where the Streets Have No Name

Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me
With or Without You
Moment of Surrender
Out of Control