It was a beautiful day – 75°, not a cloud in the sky – when U2 landed their UFO in the middle of Qwest Field, bringing their extraterrestrial 360° Tour to a crowd of sixty thousand plus enthusiastic fans.
The theme of U2’s show was honestly out of this world. The stage and lighting contraptions were in the shape of a giant UFO. I heard it took the stage crew, working full time, nearly a week to put it together. U2’s intro was set to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” They entered to a standing ovation. Suddenly Larry Mullen, Jr. started the drum beat, The Edge cut in with distorted guitar, Adam Clayton added the bass line and Bono, stepping up to the mic, launched into “Even Better Than the Real Thing.” And they were off. For the next two and a half hours U2 entertained the audience with just about everything they’d want to hear and the light show to end all light shows.
Throughout the set they’d drop snippets of other songs into their own. “Until the End of the World” featured R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” and Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” in the mix. “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” included lines from their own “Discotheque” and the Talking Heads’ “Life During Wartime” and “Psycho Killer.”
U2’s Bono – photo by Dagmar
Bono dedicated “Beautiful Day” to U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords who survived an assassination attempt earlier this year in Arizona. Her husband, Mark Kelly was captain of the recently completed final flight of the space shuttle Endeavour. Video of Kelly in space was shown on the 360° video screen. He recited a verse from the song and held up lyrics like an outer space Bob Dylan.
The stage was truly360° with Bono, The Edge and Clayton consistently changing position, walking over adjustable bridges and catwalks and playing to the entire stadium. One of the highlights of the entire set was “City of Blinding Lights.” The lights flashed throughout the entire stadium. During the chorus spotlights were triggered on the top of the UFO stage. They shot straight up into the night.
The loudest and most spirited audience sing-alongs were to the U2 classics of the “80s. “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Where the Streets Have No Name” elicited deafening cheers from the crowd.
The recently freed rightful president of Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi, kicked off the first encore in a video message by denouncing evil and promoting peace, liberty and justice. “Were all one people,” she said as U2 broke out the opening to “One.”
U2’s The Edge – photo by Dagmar
The second encore started with the psychedelic drone of “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me.” They visited the Joshua Tree era one more time with “With or Without You” before ending the set with “Moment of Surrender.”
This was one of the best concerts and most unique experiences I have ever been a part of. If you have a chance to see U2 live, do it. As I left the show with sixty thousand others who were collectively in awe I had to feel happy for Bono. He must have found what he was looking for because they didn’t sing that song.
1. Even Better Than The Real Thing
2. I Will Follow
3. Get On Your Boots
5. Mysterious Ways
7. Until The End Of The World
8. All I Want Is You
9. Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
10. Beautiful Day
11. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
12. Miss Sarajevo
14. City Of Blinding Lights
16. I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight
17. Sunday Bloody Sunday
19. Walk On
21. Where The Streets Have No Name
22. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
23. With Or Without You
24. Moment Of Surrender
U2 @ Qwest Field – all photos by Dagmar