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U2 - 360° Tour 2nd leg: North America

2009-09-12: Soldier Field, Chicago - Illinois

( other U2 shows at this location )

<<< 2009-08-22 - Cardiff | 2009-09-13 - Chicago >>>


Review

2009-09-14 - Sloppy by U2 standards submitted by Joe

A fine enough show, but I beg to differ with the comments above, it was, without a doubt, a sub-par U2 performance.

First things first, I've seen several reviews elsewhere complaining about the sound and pinning it on Soldier Field. Bull. Snow Patrol's opening set experienced no noticeable drop outs, sound "traps" from stadium overhangs or other factors. I was in section 431 and the real culprit in my eyes was U2's sound crew. Bono's vocals were clipping throughout the set and Edge's uneven guitars were finally pulled into shape around halfway through the set. The rhythm section sounded forceful throughout. Sure, there were occasional gaps, but nothing more than what I heard at Grant Park for Lollapalooza last year. No, this was mostly a soundboard problem in my ears. As an audio technician myself, I was pretty underwhelmed.

As for the show itself, I've seen more than a few U2 sets and this one was down near the bottom. Gone is the machine that steamrolled The Bradley Center on the Elevation tour, for example, with a flawless set. In its place is a group that seemed unsteady, unrehearsed and uncertain how to use its massive stage without being overshadowed by it. Greg Kott at the Chicago Tribune tried to credit the bands new "groove.". Where have you been since 1992, Greg? They've had that side of themselves in place and dominant since that time but last night was just sloppy. Larry dropped fills in "Pride" and ended another song several bars early, visibly surprising the rest of the band.

Ultimately, the new show dragged in its opening numbers and never recovered. If they would have included "Until The End Of The World," "I Will Follow" or maybe a bold, spirited rarity like "Wire" in the third slot after "No Line" things would have felt a little more momentous. New songs did not kill this show. In fact, "Unknown Caller" was haunting and moving (well, until Bono botched the very end of it.)

Pacing is what caused this show to suffer. Transitions between songs felt forced and wonky with some awkward pauses instead of just ripping into the next song. At times, it seemed as if the band was waiting for some visual effect to start before moving on. Some of the stunts felt heavy-handed. Does Burma's imprisoned leader really need cut-out paper masks of her face worn during "Walk On?". Come on now, Bono, show some class.

Bottom line on "No Line": A handful of songs took off, but by the end of the evening, our out-of-breath lead singer couldn't get the crowd to sing "40" by itself for more than 30 seconds. That moment used to carry U2 fans to the parking lots. Instead we had an unbalanced and imperfect band unsure of how to dance under their massive gray metal crab. The only song fans sung outside of Soldier Field were a grumbled chorus of "How The Hell Do We Get Out Of Soldier Field?"

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