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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

2009-09-17 - Good show, but not great submitted by Adam

This was my second U2 show, the previous one being the final Chicago show from the Vertigo Tour in Sept '05. I enjoyed the show, really I did, but I also agree with the reviews that said that the band felt like they were missing a little something. Some songs had tremendous energy (No Line, Boots, Vertigo) while others felt almost lethargic. I can almost understand why they didn't play Pride in at least two shows following this one, because it felt dead in Chicago. Some of their older songs were played in lower keys than they were recorded, which also took away some of the energy. During the second half of the set, the band spent a lot of time positioned squarely in front of their microphones / pedal boards, and their lack of energy was more visibly apparent.

Joe is right that vocals and guitar were clipping a bit throughout the set, which is an amateur mistake for the sound crew.

I am an engineer and a musician, and at times I was much more interested in the stage than the band. U2 felt like they had a brand new toy with a million bells and whistles, but didn't really know what to do with it. During several songs the screens expanded to fill the void above the main stage, mostly to the effect that anyone seated in the top 2/3 of the stadium could no longer see the band on stage (who didn't go out onto the 360 walkway during these parts) and the screen was spread apart far enough to prevent you from making out anyone on the video feed either. The stage production felt like an afterthought that never realized its potential in working together with the music, which is a shame considering everything they had to work with.

For me the most disappointing moment, however, was when the band remixed Crazy Tonight. Many of the reviews said they liked it or saw it as a highlight. I respectfully disagree. That was one song on this album that felt like an essentially "U2" song to me, between the Edge's soaring and delayed guitars, pounding drum work, solid bass lines, and the full range of Bono's voice and lyrical creativity. I fully expected this song to take off when they played it live, and my hope was bolstered by the concert video on U2.com. The live "remix" shared only the name and lyrics with the album version, and I could barely hear those over the electronic beats. The rest of the band's efforts on this song were swallowed up in a low rumbling behind a driving techno pulse. Maybe Larry just wanted to stretch his legs in the middle of the set, but when he took his hands off his "mobile" drum for several seconds and nothing changed in the overall sound, it felt a bit like he was just drum-synching. Everyone in our group agreed that playing this version was a major misstep. I listened to the album version again on the way home and dreamed of what could have been. The end of Unknown Caller was also awkward as Bono repeatedly sang, "Chicago, you know your name, so punch it in.... OHHH..." several times after the crowd had clearly stopped participating.

Having said all of that, I still like U2 and will probably see them again. One day I'd like to do GA tickets for the experience, and I hope they'll be back in top form when that happens.

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