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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

2009-09-15 - Well, JC... submitted by Joe

...the truth hurts, apparently!

Look, I'm sure some of the sound troubles varied greatly depending on where you were sitting. Outdoor shows do have that effect. I've seen many reviews of this show, and people in the GA area seemed to have no troubles with sound pockets or gaps. I've no idea of knowing, but I'm assuming that was where you were, or maybe in the 100 seats. But for the great masses of us in the 200s, 300s and 400s, I've read nothing but bad notices of mumbled sound.

That said, you must admit that Bono's wireless mic was clipping whenever he hit a note above a mezzo-forte. All night long. Remember Edge's vocal at the end of "Stuck In A Moment?" When he pushed out the words "stony path..." I heard distortion and popping p's. And the guitars all the way through around "Beautiful Day" were distorting and fading in and out in an otherwise average mix. I'm sorry, it just sounded bad. When Edge hit the opening chords on his acoustic, the difference in clarity and tone was like night-and-day.

Again, there were no problems during the Snow Patrol set, I could hear all the instruments and the vocals, in particular, were clear and discernable.

Going back to the performance, if you want some clear examples of awkward pacing, consider the transition between the first two numbers. The band crushes the final chord on “Breathe” and I’m flying! Why couldn’t Edge just let the chord sustain while the opening samples of “No Line” play underneath him and off we go into song two without the drop of momentum. Instead the lights go dark, we hear some fumbling on stage, we see a digital clock appear on the massive screens (It’s “4:12” apparently and only God and Bono apparently know why) and almost ten seconds later the second song is underway and my feet are firmly back down on earth. They did this for the first five songs or so and it just killed things every time. Compare this with the opening numbers on the Zoo TV and Elevation DVDs and there you’ll see a band that WOULD NOT let up on its audience, nailing one song right into another. So what happened here? Were they unsure of what song to play? That couldn’t be, the same songs opened nearly every show on this tour. My estimation is they were waiting for some visual trick or they were unrehearsed and someone had to say something to somebody else. Either way, it was a letdown.

And that stage! It was so cool, but why did they rarely use the outer ring? On the Elevation and Vertigo tours, Bono would fly around that outer ring, lay down on it, “bullfight” Edge on it, fall into the front row of the audience. On Saturday in Chicago, he barely wandered it, at best, maybe 10% of the time. Why? I have no idea. The band should be playing with the stage not the other way around.

I’ve loved U2 since ’87, but I’m sorry JC, they were clearly not playing at their peak powers here. Better song selection (especially in the beginning), faster pacing, better use of the stage and sound improvement could have saved the day.

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