When the house lights cut out on Sunday night at Chicago’s Soldier Field the crowd erupted. You could tell the audience was ready for any and everything the band had in store for them. U2 could have easily rolled out their greatest hits and pleased the crowd, but they held back and played a career-spanning set.
The band wasted no time in introducing their new material. The first four songs of set included Breathe, No Line on the Horizon, Get on Your Boots and Magnificent off their latest release No Line On The Horizon. The album has been meet with mixed reviews, but that hasn’t deterred the band from playing the material live. If anything, a lot of U2’s material translates much better live than on their records. Sunday’s show was no exception.
Bono gave props to local heroes Wilco by singing the line “kiss and ride on the cta” from Far Far Away before launching into Beautiful Day. It was a subtle shout out, but none the less Bono recognized that even though U2 can sell out Soldier Field, Chicago is still Wilco’s town.
It is well publicized that U2 has - for lack of a better word - a ridiculous stage for their 360º World Tour. It takes over 100 trailers to bring it from city to city and takes 48 hours to dismantle and load out. The carbon foot print that U2 is leaving would make even Big Foot blush. It is estimated their carbon footprint for this tour will exceed 65,000 tons. That is the equivalent of flying an airliner to Mars! The band is working on plans to offset their environmental disaster, but the plans won’t be announced until after the tour concludes.
The massive stage played a big role in I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, which served as one of the high points of the night. There were goosebumps aplenty as 60,000+ sang the chorus. This was one of those moments where you say to yourself, “that was awesome!” Before the song, Bono joked that the stage was the “latest in a long line of U2 accessories” referring to their Zoo TV Tour & Popmart Tour, which also featured elaborate stage designs. It was very fitting as Bono was poking fun at his own band’s enjoyment for putting on a true stadium rock show.
Despite the overwhelming size of the stage U2 fit the space surprisingly well. City of Blinding Lights saw the giant screen light up Solider Field. Four spot lights on top of the stage shot into space. The Edge, whose guitar playing is not very flashy, sounded great. His unique sound has defined U2’s sound from the beginning. While not playing one guitar solo the whole evening, The Edge used his myriad of effect pedals to shape the sonic landscape. The rhythm section of drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and bass player Adam Clayton kept perfect time, content to let their band mates shine.
The band ran through classics like Vertigo and Sunday Bloody Sunday before closing their set with a tremendous version of Walk On.
For two hours on Sunday night U2 took their fans on a voyage that many will never forget. Despite the hard economic times the band was able to fill the stadium both nights, which is impressive to say the least. While it may not have been the best concert it was certainly memorable, not only for the production of the show but for the sheer passion the band performs with. After all these years U2 has shown themselves to be the rare ultra-successful band that continues to deliver on all levels.
In case you didn’t read the forecast for Chicago this past Sunday, it was certainly a beautiful day.
Thanks to Scott over at Hidden Track for posting the review on their site.