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U2 360 = Eye Candy

After almost 1.5 hours we managed to get to the FedEx Field in Landover, MD. Home to the Washington Redskins, it looked more -at least at the parking lot- like a Cowboys-Redskins playoff game than a “sold-out” concert of the self-proclaimed greatest band on the face of the earth.

After spending a considerable amount of money in overpriced comfort food and merchandise, we got to our seats located in the last tier, next to the stage. For $35 each, they were pretty good. I promised I would never spend more than $50 to see U2 live again, specially after the last tour.

Muse opened for U2, and they played well… Sound was not the best, but it is to be expected in a stadium. I just couldn’t keep my eyes off the massive structure, taller than the stadium itself. The circular, expanding LCD screen was one of the slickest things I’ve see. I want one for my room.

At 9:00, Bono & Co. entered to an standing ovation… Sadly, I would say 20% of the stadium was still empty. I guess there have been better times to spend big bucks in a summer/fall concert.

They blasted off great, sound was 150% better than Muse’s, and that metallic tent with spider legs was just fantastic…

“Magnificent” was the second song… Wait, why is Bono struggling so much to keep up? From then on, except for some isolated bright moments, it just went downhill…

During “Elevation” Adam was thinking about the catering girl back in the Green Room, Bono was one full verse behind, Edge wanted to kill Bono, and Larry came this close from throwing the sticks to Adam. Before a bridge, Edge stopped, played a small simple progression (a code of sorts?) and Larry threw in a countdown, and then everything came back together. This kind of stuff happens to amateurs, not pros doing sold-outs for more than 20 years.

Smaller “fuck-ups” happened throughout the almost 2 hours they played, a sign that:

1.- They had a horrible day, or
2.- They are U2, therefore they don’t rehearse, or
3.- They had a rough night before.

In any case, not pro at all.

Throughout the concert, the falsettos and high pitches were taken care of by Edge, Bono just played with a lower registration to make them interesting. The guy has no voice; he can’t sing a gig every other day, specially on a stadium setting. Paul McGuiness should have known this, or maybe this is why they decided to milk the cow with a blown-out stadium tour? Who knows, but the fact stands; he can’t sing U2’s songs the same way… “With or Without you” felt like he was reading poetry and not singing a classic.

Now, the stage production was breathtaking… From the shots from the Space Station to serve as a backdrop “Your Blue Room,” including thoughtful remarks by one of its astronauts, to the “intro” made by Desmond Tutu for “One,” it was one hell of production design. Not as elaborate and brilliant as Zoo TV, but definitely a 100 times better than the last 2 tours. I would’ve paid the $35 just to see the concert on DVD in those screens.

The highlights: Again, the screen and the structure, “Your Blue Room,” singing a whole song with a kid pulled out from the pit, the Middle-Eastern, long bearded man with turban and the American Flag singing “Sunday Bloody Sunday” underneath a green, Iran themed structure, and Desmond Tutu introducing One. Although awfully performed, “Amazing Grace” was a nice touch.

And, “Where The Streets Have No Name” is the best live song ever created.

Verdict:

Good concert for the classics; just 3 songs from the new album -even they know it sucks- but we got “With or Without You” and “One” in the same encore, “Your Blue Room” and “Ultraviolet,” great songs rarely played live, and “MLK.”

Average performance, and I’m being gracious.

Bono is on his way out. Edge keeps on saving the day. More of Adam, but please don’t fuck it up. Larry is just there, as usual.

Excellent production design, two thumbs up to Willie Williams.

If you missed it, you missed a GREAT stage. Watch the DVD from ZOO TV for a great performance.

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