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Along with some great friends, my wife and I traveled to Norman, Oklahoma, this weekend to catch U2′s 360° tour. As a long-time U2 fan — I still have my original Joshua Tree cassette! — I was particularly pumped for this concert, which was my first time to see them live.
The show lived up to my expectations and more. By way of summary and recap, here are…
10 Observations From the U2 Show
1. You might think the Black Eyed Peas are an odd choice for opening act, but you’re wrong. Previous stops in the tour have used Snow Patrol or Muse as the openers. And stylistically, those bands seem to fit better. I wondered if the crowd around us — which included hipsters, party girls, gay guys, married folk (like us), and 40something parents — would be hip to the party hip-hop of the Peas. The answer is yes, in fact, they would. People were legitimately excited about the BEP show, and the cheers when they launched into “I’ve Gotta Feeling” to end their show were loud and boisterous. They gave a great performance, despite the inclusion of “My Humps,” which is the most annoying song ever.
2. “My Humps” is the most annoying song ever. And hearing it live didn’t cause me to change my opinion.
3. I didn’t see anyone doing the Oprah flash mob dance to “I’ve Gotta Feeling.” I honestly expected to see at least some group of people-with-too-much-time-on-their-hands attempting to pull it off. But no.
4. I can only judge from my seat, but U2′s crazy-cool stage set-up has to have the best sightlines ever of any huge, stadium concert. I can’t imagine there was really a bad seat in the stadium. Whoever came up with the spaceship-meets-mechanical-spider concept — which included rotating bridges and a 360-degree pathway out into the crowd — well done.
5. U2 recognizes that their fans love love looooove the old stuff, so the show was a great balance between the classics and the new songs. Even “Unforgettable Fire” made an appearance, which was a surprise. (It was an even bigger surprise for some kid in the audience, whom Bono took up on stage and pranced around the bridge/pathway with for entire song.)
6. The boys are still great showmen. I always wonder if they get tired playing “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” or “Where the Streets Have No Name,” but if they’ve bored with those old tunes, they certainly didn’t show it. Lots of energy from song-to-song. They seemed to legitimately be enjoying the experience. How do I know? I could see their faces up-close on the gigantic circular video screen. Adam looked pleasantly amused the entire show, and The Edge hopped up and down a LOT for a guy who’s almost 50 years old.
7. Bono didn’t preach as much as expected. I honestly wasn’t sure how much of his social justice stuff would make it into a concert setting. I love his activism, but I paid for the music…so I wasn’t sure how much time we’d spend related to his causes. In my opinion, it was just enough. The main emphasis was on Aung San Suu Kyi, the elected prime minister of Burma who has been under house arrest for most of the last two decades by the military junta running the country.
8. There are a lot of Christians who go to U2 shows, especially in Oklahoma. How could I tell? I counted the number of hands raised when Bono led the crowd of 60,000 in singing “Amazing Grace.” Those weren’t rock fists.
9. Despite #8, Oklahoma is not as Bible-belty as you might expect. For instance, the drunk guy directly in front of us was simultaneously hitting on the girl to his left and the guy to his right. He left with the guy after the first encore.
10. Outdoor concerts in October are cold. It was 50 degrees with a blustery wind. Pretty cold. I kept wondering if The Edge’s fingers would get really cold and stiff and we’d end up with a wonky chord that would bounce around the stadium for the next 35 seconds due to his delay/reverb. But, no, he didn’t make any mistakes I could tell.
Here are a couple of photos I took from our seats:
Have you attended a U2 concert? If so, what were your top observances from the show?