Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

U2 at Soldier Field

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Touring in support of its first two albums in the new millennium, the unadventurous U2-by-the-numbers "All That You Can't Leave Behind" (2000) and "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" (2004), Bono and the boys were in danger of becoming their generation's Rolling Stones--a rote if occasionally rousing arena act more devoted to selling tickets than to breaking new musical ground.

Released last February, "No Line on the Horizon," the Dublin band's 12th studio album, came as a welcome surprise: Though they didn't always succeed, the musicians at least took chances again, veering from that familiar U2 bombast to deliver their most creative disc since "Achtung Baby" (1991). Unfortunately, the new album also has been the slowest selling of their career, with U.S. sales yet to reach platinum status of a million sold--a fact that can be attributed to no one buying CDs anymore, or to fans being turned off by the group's experimentation.

Eighteen years ago, "Achtung Baby" inspired the Zoo TV Tour, a multi-media sensory assault that stands as the most inventive arena jaunt I've witnessed. The question looming over Soldier Field Saturday night as U2 launched the North American leg of its 360° Tour at the first of two concerts in Chicago was whether the band would uphold the creative spirit of the new album, matching or topping Zoo TV, or play it safe in an attempt to reconnect with conservative fans and please its new partner, giant national concert promoter Live Nation.

The answer, as is often the case with this band, was that it tried to do it all and please everyone. Though it avoided the most ambient and atmospheric of the new tracks crafted with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, the group did play a hefty chunk of "No Line on the Horizon," including the strong show opener "Breathe," the hypnotizing "Unknown Caller" and the soaring "Magnificent," which really was.

But in place of the disorienting buzz of Zoo TV, U2 gave us the empty spectacle of the multi-million-dollar stage fans have come to call "the Claw," a ludicrous, fog-belching, crab-like mega-structure that primarily succeeds in dwarfing the musicians onstage, recalling David Bowie's equally silly Glass Spider Tour and making recent Stones stages seem modest in comparison. (U2 really ought to talk to the Flaming Lips, who've been building a more impressive UFO stage out of supplies found at Home Depot at a cost of a few thousand bucks.)

Zoo TV wasn't the superior experience only because of technology, though. The early '90s were the only period in U2's three-decades-plus career when the band dared to laugh at itself, with Bono trading his messiah complex for irony and the Macphisto alter-ego, and the group suggesting that maybe, just maybe, its desire to save the world was a bit pompous and self-aggrandizing.

Alas, the crusaders were back Saturday, linking "Sunday Bloody Sunday" to Iranian pro-democracy demonstrators, turning "Walk On" into an act of solidarity with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese politician under house arrest, and trotting out Archbishop Desmond Tutu on video to make a plea to end poverty and cure AIDS.

Um, Bono, old chum, many activists cite corporate globalization as the prime culprit responsible for some of the ills just cited. Care to explain how that jibes with you and the band wholeheartedly endorsing Live Nation's controversial mega-merger with Ticketmaster? On second thought, maybe there was some irony on Saturday.

In between the bounty of new tunes, the band trotted out the expected crowd-pleasers--"Beautiful Day," "Pride (In the Name of Love)," "Where the Streets Have No Name"--though some of these were truncated or delivered medley-style with awkward bits of covers ("Blackbird," "Stand By Me," "Oliver's Army"), with choppy and unsatisfying results.

As always, the deft rhythm section of drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and bassist Adam Clayton did their best to keep things moving, and the Edge was a deceptively simple one-man orchestra. Meanwhile, Bono posed and preened, emoted and yowled, flogging every millimeter of charisma he possesses. But as someone who's seen the group on nearly every tour since it first came to the U.S., I never found what I was looking for--that perfect mix of genuine passion and stadium-rock showmanship.

This band just may not be capable of it anymore--which means it may have become the Rolling Stones after all.

After the jump: Bono's Chicago shout-outs, four words about openers Snow Patrol, U2's set list and a point of comparison.

Bono's Chicago shout-outs

  • In introducing "Magnificent," the artist born Paul David Hewson name-checked Soldier Field, Grant Park and Lake Shore Drive. Hey, Bono, if you think Soldier Field is magnificent now, you should have seen it before they turned it into a giant toilet bowl with all those extra corporate sky boxes.

  • The singer also exhorted the crowd to "put the 'soul' into Soldier Field."

  • And reminded us that the band performed at the Presidential Inauguration for our homeboy, Barack Obama.

  • And bragged that a lot of Irish immigrants helped to build this city's skyscrapers. "We're the wind in the Windy City," he said.

Four words about openers Snow Patrol

Coldplay lite; pretentious and boring.

U2's set list

Encores included, the band played for a little less than two hours (sorta chintzy, considering a top ticket price of $252). Here is the set list.

1. Breathe
2. No Line On The Horizon
3. Get On Your Boots
4. Magnificent
5. Beautiful Day / Blackbird (Beatles cover, snippet)
6. Elevation
7. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / Stand By Me (Ben E. King cover, snippet)
8. Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of
9. Unknown Caller
10. The Unforgettable Fire
11. City Of Blinding Lights
12. Vertigo
13. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
14. Sunday Bloody Sunday / Oliver's Army (Elvis Costello cover, snippet)
15. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
16. MLK
17. Walk On / You'll Never Walk Alone (snippet)
18. Where The Streets Have No Name
19. One
20. Bad / Fool To Cry (snippet) / 40 (snippet)
21. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
22. With Or Without You
23. Moment of Surrender

And, as a point of comparison, here is my review of Zoo TV from back in the day.

U2 Pump Up the Power with Zoo TV

The Chicago Sun-Times, September 17, 1992

The joke goes like this: Stevie Ray Vaughan dies and goes to heaven, where Saint Peter introduces him to Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, John Lennon, and Bono. "Wait a minute," Vaughan says. "U2's singer ain't dead!"

"Oh, that's God," Saint Peter replies. "He just thinks He's Bono."

U2's performance at the World Music Theatre Tuesday proved that if Bono heard the joke, he'd not only get a laugh out of it, he'd probably broadcast it on the band's massive Zoo TV screens.
The group (which performs its third and final show at the World tomorrow) used Zoo TV to deflate the rock-star myth at the same time that it delivered a slick, captivating, stadium-rock spectacle. The band members turned a half dozen video cameras on themselves to provide warts-and-all close-ups that showed they're just regular guys, then they blew the picture up one hundred times larger than life.

Technologically, Zoo TV represents the future of arena rock, providing a sensory overload of videos, swirling lights, and electronic messages. Musically, the Irish quartet is at its peak, and if you took the high-tech gimmickry away, it'd still be an incredible show. But U2 knows the music is even more powerful when connected to strong images.

The same could be said of Public Enemy, the acclaimed New York hip-hop crew that followed Big Audio Dynamite II's torturous opening set. Public Enemy has never played to such large crowds, but it was up for the challenge, delivering a concise selection of its best songs, from "Fight the Power" to "Can't Truss It."

DJ Terminator X cranked the group's trademark grooves and white-noise assaults as rappers Chuck D. and Flavor Flav dropped wisdom and bounced nonstop across the stage. Overhead, a giant screen projected the cover of the group's new album, Greatest Misses, which reproduces an historical photo of a white crowd cheering the lynching of two black teens. At the end of the set, Public Enemy retaliated with the mock lynching of a white-cloaked Ku Klux Klan figure as Chuck D. wished the audience, "Peace."

The messages on Zoo TV were just as contradictory: The billboards flashed such alternating slogans as, "Everything you know is wrong" and "Believe everything." The other electronic highlights included an altered video of George Bush chanting, "We will rock you"; Bono's Natalie Cole-style video duet with Lou Reed on a cover of Reed's "Satellite of Love," and a call the singer placed to White House Operator Number Two (who had obviously heard from him before) to, "Leave a message for George: Watch more TV!"

In addition to a heavy sampling of songs from Achtung Baby, which stands as the band's best album, the group expanded its set to include such vintage anthems as "New Year's Day" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday." But there was no nostalgia in its spirited versions of these oldies, and unlike past U2 tours, Bono didn't resort to pompous preaching, empty flag-waving, or bogus theatrics.

The singer spent a lot of time on a platform that extended far into the audience. At one point, he pulled a pair of enthusiastic female fans on stage, and they grabbed him so tight he couldn't move. Bono called to the Edge for help, and one of the fans grabbed the guitarist's ever-present cap off his head, publicly exposing his bald pate for the first time in U2 history.

It was a very human moment amid an evening of futuristic, postmodern technology--a reminder, like the music, that there is a soul somewhere in the machine--and it was funny, to boot. Which reminds me: How does U2 change a light bulb? Bono holds the bulb, and the world revolves around him.

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I recently sold my ticket to the Vegas show as I just cant afford the expenses involved in traveling there and back. But another reason, the one Ive been reticent to admit, but that I can admit now that Ive sold my ticket, is that the setlist for the new tour is very weak indeed. They dropped my favorite songs for the first time ever (New Years Day, Bullet the Blue Sky, The Fly) and instead brought back songs from their vapid whiny "All That You Cant Leave Behind" travesty, which I absolutely detest. "Stuck in a Moment"? "Walk On"?? Desmond Tutu??? (Yes, Bono, youre bugging me.) I like the new album alot, especially the ambient Eno experimental tracks (my favorite is "Fez Being Born"), but they are definitely over-doing it by including 6 songs from it. Im hoping that when they return to the US next summer, theyve changed the setlist considerably. For now, Ill wait and watch ... and hope that they come to their senses.

Jim, you are as predictable as the sun rising in the east. You're the Rolling Stones of music writers.

You are out of your mind. Your review is pure garbage. Been a lifelong U2 fan, been to almost as many shows as you, including some in other parts of the country as well. While I also haven't always been a "big fan" of every single track and album, the show last night was yet another masterpiece.

The mix of new songs, mingled with the classics, was vintage U2. America simply missed the boat on the new record, of which I'm sure will be rectified after they walk away with several Grammys. The complexity and experimentation of NLOTH was defined tonight.

The band was "on," almost completely, and Bono's voice was crisp and clear. Too much focus in this review on politics, ticket prices, and stuff that really has nothing to do with the main reason we go to these shows: THE MUSIC.

I was at the ZooTV shows too, and this one comes close to matching. Actually, nothing in my mind matches the Elevation Tour, what with the emotions of post-9/11 and the music that "just fit..." but this 360º Tour stop was stellar, and did not disappoint any U2 fan, old or young.

There's too much talk of "I miss the '80s U2." Fine. Go back to that decade and listen to that music. The rest of us are just trying to keep up with the band & their progression. Not every song was perfect tonight, but they connected with the crowd, they took chances ("I'll Go Crazy..." was a HUGE crowd-pleaser), Magnificent was as moving live as it is on the record, and their classics were to the point, poignant, and meaningful.

Mr. DeRogatis, you're entitled to your opinion as am I. It's a shame readers come here expecting a true music review and instead get politics and irrelevant statements cleverly interspersed throughout. FAIL. The show was terrific, the band still has "it," and the only ones saying U2 is the new Rolling Stones are American fans who prefer the "dead behind the eyes" music from the likes of "T.I," Miley Cyrus, and the other dead weights who "top the charts" in America. True rock-'n-roll is nearly dead in the country...and reviews like this certainly aren't helping.

Jim DeRogatis -- The Simpsons' Comic Book Guy come to life.

Does it feel good to trash so many musicians after being picked on so much in high school, Jim?

I dare say that U2 at least tries to save the world. All I see in you is a bitter critic who just dreams of one night on stage with thousands of people cheering for you.

Amy- perfect critique of this miserable critic. His words are not reading.


It's pretty obvious that your last couple of exchanges with Bono have poisioned your objectivity. You pine for the days of Zoo TV. Yet if the band did something similar, you'd probably kill them for being repetitive. This is the hazard that U2 is now up against, their own longevity. They've been around seemingly forever. How do they keep themselves entertained, and their audience? It's never going to be pitch-perfect. I didn't really want to hear Sunday Bloody Sunday again. But I marked out huge for Ultraviolet and Unforgettable Fire, which they haven't played in forever. The last tour they broke out Electric Co. and The Ocean. They aren't going to please everyone, especially us old-timer cranks who remember them from back in the day.

The band grew up. So did the rest of us. My advice is to let the old days go and enjoy the ride. None of these guys have died. They still put out music that they're enthusiastic about. Sure, it's hit or miss. But everyone else, even the Flaming Lips, Jim, is hit or miss too.

Jim, at this point, I half-expect to hear you telling Bono to get off your lawn. Certainly, you're entitled to and expected to deliver your well-informed opinion. But the snarkiness is beneath you.

There clearly is something curdled in your soul. The 2000 tour, especially after 9/11, was an enormously heartfelt and affecting experience. The fact that you want pomp and spectacle and prefer the bombast of the Zoo TV tour reveals more about you than about the band. Both of the last two tours had plenty of human moments, you just couldn't or wouldn't see them. Accordingly, I choose not to trust a word you write.

Why do people take critics opinions personally? BTW, one of Jim's fans, a certain Wayne Coyne, dedicated a song to Jim this year at Pitchfork, so he has fans in and out of the biz.

"America simply missed the boat on the new record, of which I'm sure will be rectified after they walk away with several Grammys."

Unfortunately for you and Bono, serious music listeners know that the Grammys have meant nothing for about 15 years now.

And people: chill. It's not Jim's fault that U2 sucks. Or, at least, it's not his fault that these days they aren't worth their $275 price tag.

Um...Ticketmaster and LiveNation are partly responsible for global poverty? They're awful corporations, but it's not like they're Halliburton or Wal-Mart. You're reaching and it comes off as snotty and lame.

"Jim DeRogatis Doesn't Like My Favorite Band Hate Mail #84,298"
a parody by Brendan

Jim: You are stupid. You are fat. You are stupid and fat. My favorite band is awesome, and everything they do is awesome, and they have no flaws; but you, Jim, YOU have flaws. You are flawed. Flawed and stupid. Obviously, you have no taste in music. They must be letting anybody be a critic nowadays. And your review of my favorite band's concert? A steaming pile of monkey crap. You don't have any idea what you're talking about. You are a bad human being and ought to be cast out of society by more decent people, mainly people who also are fans of my favorite band.


Buuuut seriously, folks, let's be realistic about U2. They have done some great stuff, and they have done some not great stuff. Bono has in the past had a tendency to overwhelm the music with his personal causes and planet-sized ego. To me, there's nothing new or exceptionally interesting going on with the band anymore. That's fine, and U2 can coast all they want. But it's not a personal affront to y'all just because a critic doesn't like everything they've ever done.

Wow. Do you even like this band anymore? Stop pining for the past and live in the now. Even your Chicago Shout-outs show your disdain. Did you forget that Bono HAS seen Soldier Field before the flying saucer upgrade? Or did you not see them on their Pop Mart Tour? Lame, man. Are you really gonna complain about the activist part of the show? Really? How original. Really lame. And Snow Patrol was pretentious and boring? Kinda like your reviews. You're right about only one thing....You'll never find what you're looking for at a U2 concert.

I'll aggree that the graduer of U2 live is something to be reckoned with; but honestly, NLOTH is far from a great U2 album. But it does sound like the only few good songs on the album did come off great live last night. Ya'll are harsh on Dero, man. Dude's got a point about Live Nation, though. Not surprising that the U2 tribe doesn't like it when that subject is brought up.

So let me get this straight. U2 is the new Rolling Stones, Coldplay is the new U2, and Snow Patrol is trying to be the new Coldplay....does this inevitably mean there will be more knockoffs of Coldplay and the super radio friendly side of U2? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Looks like the future is even worse than live nation would have us believe.

I absolutely agree with your review. Wish i had stayed at home to watch the Serena tennis match. Way more exciting!!

Hey U2 fans, this was my 5th show and by far the worst. The Edge was terrific, Larry and Adam spot-on as usual, but the set and the 360 degrees was more like 102 degrees and Bono was further away from the fans then he was for the last 3 tours! Also, his voice hurt to listen to on three occasions and he just seems like he is tired singing the "classics". Anyone who paid $200+ or more (like me) for great seats or noise bleeds, in these times was subconsiously forced into have a "great time". Jim DeRogatis is totally predictable, i agree! But this concert blew. I would of more enjoyed crying watching da bears and remembering a front man who was once THE BEST in the Business in the mid and late eighties. The elevation tour showed that he was back on track - his intensity, pushing old songs and new songs to new heights must of stopped with that tour a few years ago. Time to take another rest Bono. You dont believe me? Dare to watch the live Vertigo DVD from Chicago or the Elevation DVD prior from Boston. You will see for yourself.

Overpriced and underwhelmed. Should've turned 180 and walked away from this one.

The reason I dislike you isn't because you take issue with U2, Jim. It's because you're the worst music critic in the business. God bless your copyeditor.

Do you know a thing about the process of making music? Yeah yeah yeah, you've been in bands or something to that effect, but making albums for the misguided people who read your column doesn't come anywhere near to the work of the people you so gleefully critique. Try to leave Chicago now and see if you get hired elsewhere. You're a one trick pony, my friend. Or should I say a one-trick cow?

I was at the show Saturday not very far back right about where Bono sang Magnificent while on the bridge. I have been a long time fan of U2, since 82 or so, but have never been one to get into the “they can do no wrong, worship everything they do” mode. I try not to be that way with any band. When they deliver I say so and when they falter I try to point that out also. Most of all I try to recognize that we all see and hear everything through our own lenses of perception.

In my view, musically U2’s best days are almost 20 years behind them. The latest album is OK, not great , it has its moments, but is a record that in 5 years will not be listened to very much. I came to the show Saturday with high expectations, knowing that bands can and frequently do turn average songs into viable exciting live pieces. And knowing that U2 has a huge rich back catalog I figured they could not go wrong with their set list, or at least not go too far wrong. Largely the set list was ok for me. I think it could have used something more from Achtung Baby, or a nugget from the past. But they are obviously standing behind this album. It will be interesting to see how many of these songs are still on tap at the end of the tour though.

The show it’s self was underwhelming. NO, not the stage or the lighting or the stuff going on all over the place, that was at times too much and caused a bit of sensory overload. Of course my view was different from others who didn’t have it right in their face the whole time. Nope, what was underwhelming was the overall performance it seemed flat to me. Bono seemed more intent on posing, on saying his piece on some issues and on saying what he thought he should say in certain situations. Jim is right about the gratuitousness it seemed to me to be more for crowd reaction than for actual affection for the city. I don’t see why a band like U2 with their catalog and their following can’t just play it straight and have a bare bones stage and lighting show and let the music be the focus. I know they can’t play 40 dates at the Aragon Ballroom, to get that intimacy that some want, but they can still make soldier field intimate without all the excess cr*p.

I disagree with Jim about Snow Patrol. Everyone with me Saturday liked Snow Patrol more than they liked U2.

Overpriced? I paid $57 and ended up 10 feet away from the ramp. It was a great price for a great spot. If you paid $275, you likely booked your very own skybox, in which case you're an I-banker with little room to complain. The only person with less room to complain is Jim D., who secured his press pass and attended this show with every intention of hating it. Oh Jim, shame on Bono for namechecking some local destinations! How, like, pretentious of him. Jeff Tweedy would've totally done it better.

I paid $30 plus fees for my seat, had never been to a U2 show before, and was thrilled. Snow Patrol kicked ass too! Anyone that paid more than $30 for a seat has no room to complain. I bought my tickets a day AFTER they went on sale. Thank you BONO!!!

we all have our the freedom to express our opinions. I, for one, have now firmly decided from this point forward to not listen to anything you say (NPR) or read anything you right going forward. This article and review is ridiculous. thank you sun times for making shortening my daily reading list. I know you will survive. so will I. best of luck

Jim, you definitely have a chip on your shoulder, I can't believe they still employ you there. You just can't be a fair and partial music critic, you never could. I started seeing U2 in 1985 and haven't missed a tour. Sure...I love the smaller venues too, but if you believe in the band you love and want them to do good you can't wish that they stay small and don't ever make it big. You saw a band in the middle of a Football Field, what did you expect? Park West style sound???
Really??? It really comes down to common sense doesn't it? If you don't like shows at giant football fields...just don't go. Then you don't have anything to complain about. I forgot though, a lot of people nowadays just have to go to shows to say "I was there" when they actually aren't true fans.

For $141 total(including the stupid Ticketmaster fees), I nabbed two GA tickets, got a good spot on the field, and danced my ass off from the start of the show - Snow Patrol's set, which I TOTALLY disagree with you on! - to the finish of it.

Best concert ever? Nope. But I loved the show, was thoroughly happy and entertained, and don't for even half a second feel that I wasted so much as a penny.

Don't ask me to cry for the people who dropped $250+ apiece and then didn't enjoy themselves. Of course you're going to hate it when you spend more than you should, then don't get every single little thing that you want. Next time, slum it on the field with us cheap folks and let the music actually move through you.

This was my first U2 show, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I've only been a casual fan - the type that only cherry picks from Itunes - but I'm well aware of their entire back catalog and have enjoyed it for years without being anything close to a rabid U2 fan. I thought they pretty much nailed it Sunday night. And Bono has convinced me that he's a great front man, politics and gratuitous home-town shoutouts and references notwithstanding.

The problems with this show were two-fold. First, Soldier Field is terrible if you're on the spaceship side. Yes, this was a spaceship inside the spaceship if you get my drift. I think there might be 45 rows in the spaceship, and it's a grueling walk up and down. I was up and down it three times. The third time will be the last time I climb up 25 rows ever again. I don't know how anyone sits at the tip top of it. And I don't know how anyone hasn't had a heart attack climbing those steps. Insane.

The second problem was the egress from the stadium. That was an outright catastrophe in the making. Someone needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a better plan to get out of the stadium. It took me 90 minutes to go a mile and a half to get home after the show because the entire crowd was herded down a 30-foot long sidewalk and into the tunnel while being harangued by security to stay off the grass and later by Chicago cops to stay on the sidewalk on Roosevelt. An Irish guy behind me summed this situation up quite nicely. He said, "You expect to get the Olympics with this bull----?" That guy spoke for the entire crowd feebly trying to exit Soldier Field.

Mr. DeRegotis:

You make some valid points about Saturday's concert that should be under scrutiny (i.e. Ticketmaster/Live Nation), but for the sheer spectacle and the joy of being there watching them under clear skies and great weather, the concert could not be beat. Yes, the staging was "crabby", but I like the fact they took the chance. Visually stunning and a feast for the eyes. I laughed when Space Oddity was played as they walked to the stage. I was wondering if the stage was going to lift off ( or climb) over the saucer-like monstrosity that is Soldier's Field now. HA!!

They set the standard for staging after the Zoo Tour so they had to come up with something..."new". I for one like the new record. It's not Zoo Station, which I think was their best, but certainly in that same ambient/moody/reflective vein. Thanks to Eno, Lanois,and Lillywhite for bringing them back and challenging them again to move forward. On the whole, the new release resonates with me on a deeper level esp Magnificent just like Zoo Station did. I think the staging and the fact that they played a nice chunk of No Horizon showed they want to keep moving forward with occasional nods to the past. The show could use some tightening up, but hey it was opening night in the US( with a lot of "critical" eyes watching)and I'm sure by the time they get into full swing,they will hit the mark. This was my 5th time seeing them over the years, and was glad to see them back and more matured. Their hearts are in the right place by bring the plight of the Burmese activist and Bishop Tutu into the show even if some of the crowd just did not absorb the larger context of what they were trying to convey.

As for comparing them to the Stones, Mr. D, enough already. The Stones are the STONES. No one is in THEIR league. I'm a die hard Stones fan from WAY back, with NO Apologizes, I love them Live anytime and hey it's only rock and roll.. and I like it :)) Peace to all.

I know one of your main pet peeves is bands that rely on "safe" hits instead of digging deep into their back catalog. Perhaps you should've have attended Sunday's show, instead. Not only did they perform "Your Blue Room" from 1995 for the FIRST TIME EVER, but they also dropped "Pride (In The Name of Love") for the first time in EIGHT YEARS!

Wait. Let me guess- you hate "Your Blue Room" and love "Pride," right?

You know I respect you, but why when your hero Kanye West makes an a@$ of himself as he did last night you never report it (there was nothing out of you and Kot about his fiasco at last years Bonnaroo fest either), but if Bono did what he did last night you would probably delight in reporting it.

I would hate to be so bitter that I would have to dump all over an awesome band who put on an amazing show both nights!!

Travelled from Midway, Kentucky to see the Saturday show. Was surprised what $300 for two tickets bought-26th row in section 433. Bono and Company looked like ants from our seats, but the sound was OK. As far as the setlist.......I like the new album much better than the last two, which IMHO were boring and slow. Something is missing from that Zoo TV era-A sense of urgency and energy on the last three albums. I was expecting much more experimentation. They really seem to be standing by this album by playing 6 songs from it. Bono said at the release it was their best. Hearing the songs live definitely gave me a better appreciation of the disc. The overall experience (Save for the parking fiasco) was 3 1/2 out of 4 stars. The stage was really too cool, but THAT parking? You've got to be kidding at $45.00 and virtually no markers or signs in plain sight.

I work at Soldier Field, and was also present at POPmart at old Soldier Field about 14 years ago for all 3 nights of that, and I must say, Popmart BLEW AWAY the 360 tour. I'm not the biggest fan of U2, but the show saturday was a SNOOZEFEST. People were leaving an hour into the set, and although the stage the big and immpressive, the music was not. I feel for those who paid alot of money for tickets to hear U2 spend most of thier time on the new album tracks, and ignore playing many songs that got them to the point where they could charge over $200 a ticket. I never agree with DeRogatis' reviews of shows, but I feel he is WAY TOO NICE in this review, face it folks, IT WAS BORING. U2 fans are lousy tippers, as well.

Anthony, Nice to see you are still schlepping hot dogs at Soldier Field after 14 years. Thanks for your expert response. Do you also get on Tom Skilling's blog with your weather reports during games? Anyway, my test of good concert is to look at the people at the last row of the stadium. If they are standing, that means its a good show. 10 out of 10 times I looked up there, they were standing. The last time I saw that was during Metallica at the Allstate, and that was 1/3 the amount of people. We were in the inner circle and it was amazing! And oh yea, I'm a good tipper...I always let you keep the quarter.

I have seen them 5-6 times, and this show was decent, not great. Thier shows have sort of become giant sing-alongs instead of the very in-your-face, high intensity shows of the past. ZooTv was the best. J DeRogatis has it mostly correct. You losers taking shots at Jim personally need to get a life. The day YOU get PAID to go to shows and write about it is the day you can start personally attacking other critics. Until then, put down your $30 t-shirt, read some lyrics, and try to see what U2 is all about (or at least used to be about). Your stupid personal attacks show that you are no real U2 fan....

I live in Phoenix now, but I saw them on Pop Mart at Solder's Field in 97 (the day Tyson bit Holyfields ear), and although I paid about 70 plus to sit in the nose bleeds it was still OK. But I can't afford U2 anymore. As much as I love this band and I think there new album is a masterpiece up there with Achtung and Joshua, I can't afford them. I applaud Bono and his efforts to save worl hunger, I think to show he really cares even more is to make the top ticket 20.00. So I won't be seeing them on this tour or the next or the next. But I am sure the rich black dress crowd that got there photos taken at Solder's Field by WXRT in the front row will be there. Since when did my heros (U2, McCartney) play to the rich crowd?

Having just attended the Norman, OK show I have to say that I agree with this review. Norman was my 9th U2 show and it was hands down the most...well... boring. I hate to say it...but it was BORING. They started out with the audiance in the palm of their hands and just went downhill from there. In short, the set list is lame. Lots of posing, a stage that was overrated, just a general lack of connectivness they you expect from U2. I probably would not go back to see them again in a similar venue. Just my opinion.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on September 12, 2009 10:47 PM.

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