72,000 as One

“U2 fans found what they were looking for”

“With U2, 72,000 beat as 1”

U2’s ‘Magnificent’ Tampa performance”


The venue does matter. Looking back at all the great shows one main ingredient has to be the venue, and Tampa does not disappoint the boys from Ireland. U2 arrived in Tampa with all the hoopla focused on the large stage. Friday night’s show at Raymond James Stadium which considered to be toned down from previous productions however never call it small.     

The high-definition video screen, the major element in the band’s stated effort to bring the show closer to even the cheap seats, was the main attraction tech-wise. The enormous structure looming over the stage looked impressive all lit up, as at the beginning of “Where the Streets Have No Name,” but mostly faded into the background. Which is as it should be, because all the big-budget toys in the world can’t save a show this size from a second-rate band. And Friday’s show was first-rate.

The Edge’s arsenal of guitar effects gave the sound the heft it needed for the stadium setting. Bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen locked in tight, showing the benefits of 30 years of playing together. U2 may be the only band alive whose songs make more sense being played in front of more than 72,000 people. On the record, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” communicates restlessness and dissatisfaction. With thousands of voices singing along with U2 frontman Bono, it became a song about endless possibilities.

Songs of more recent vintage, such as “City of Blinding Lights” and “Beautiful Day” have that same quality. Friday, both exploded, as if U2’s last two scaled-down, arena tours hadn’t been big enough to house the songs.

Selections from this year’s “No Line on the Horizon” took on new life live as well. The band brought out the punkish simplicity of the title track to good effect, while “Get On Your Boots” became the rave-up it just missed being on disc.

The show’s latter portion focused more on social and political concerns, with photos from this year’s Iranian protests accompanying “Sunday, Bloody Sunday.” “Walk On” was dedicated to imprisoned Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

But in the end it was U2 that made the biggest impression — four musicians who wanted to be the biggest band in the world and succeeded.

Bono left the stage saying “Don’t forget about us” Which in the end seemed kind off for a band that just made the biggest impression on the bay area. You never forget your first, your last and most often the best so Bono I would said you have nothing to worry about.

A closing touch was the “One” campaign kiss photos featuring the muisc of Elton John’s Rocket Man. The night was complete, the stage hands, crew arrived with one swoop and off we go to the next city.

Sources: wide release