Editor Note: This is a repost with permission. We read a ton of reviews and listen to a ton of interviews. We found this one to be refreshing. Please post your comments below I am sure Nikki would like to get your thoughts.
Now U2TOURFANS Presents:
I tend to pride myself on being one of the diehard U2 fans that have seen the band since they landed in America back in the early 80s. I’ve seen 28 shows, mostly in Boston and Hartford because I’m not the kind of fan who can really up and leave and follow them around the world. I’m not a music critic, although I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot about the “scene” through my radio jobs and the current company I keep who all hail from New Jersey. I’ve dabbled in band management and seen many shows; I’ve seen shows from artists who I’ve not cared for, artists who had been unknown to me, and of course the heavy hitters of the world, because I LOVE music. I can be objective. I’m not blinded by my love for U2 to the point where I think they do no wrong. Quite the contrary; In fact, of the last few tours I’ve had many disappointing moments.
Many people hated this show. This is something I don’t understand. Maybe it was the horrendous traffic conditions that pissed people off. Perhaps fans have just come to expect 200% from this band and when they come with 150%, it just disappoints these people. Maybe the younger fans don’t understand what U2 is about and in this world of excesses, maybe it fell short for them. I think they were expecting the stage to actually lift off at the end of the show (which hasn’t been done YET). For me, it was everything U2 stands for.
My opinion of this show is not popular. Many felt the set list was flat, the stage was too expansive, the sound stunk, and the intimacy gone. On the contrary, I thought it was probably one of the best flowing set lists they’ve ever created. Sure there were flat spots, but remember: you can’t please everyone. We all have different favorites that we like to hear but the reality is, it just can’t be done. Some loved the stage; some thought it was annoying. I thought it was perfect. The jumbo screen and images projected on it, the color it projected was a beautiful aesthetic. I also made the remark that night to my boyfriend, who hadn’t seen U2 since The Joshua Tree tour in 1987, that I felt that even with all this fanfare, Bono can STILL make it feel intimate. I still felt connected to the entire band, which I thought was amazing. For a guy in the music business to look at me with this look of wonder and remark, “This is AMAZING”, confirmed that I wasn’t crazy.
Fans claiming that they’ve had a love affair with the band since the 80s and have seen 100+ U2 shows are really bitter about it. They report that they simply cannot stomach the political rants, the wild stage, the terrible songs, the bad new album. If they were in love with U2 from the beginning, those political rants are an element that defined the band and it’s one major reason why I became so smitten. I never tire of it. But many apparently, have. What I don’t understand about this point, is that Bono and the band pretty much kept a lid on the rants and decided that re-purposing “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” for the freedom fighters in Iran, and spreading “love to all” messages was the appropriate thing to do. Nobody complained about the 9/11 political rants, but they really took offense to the Iran dedication and the message of love to all. I guess people are just happy being miserable and feel that we don’t need more love in the world. I could not disagree more on this point.
I thought the show was the best show U2 ever performed. I would write about The Edge more, but I’m not a music writer and wouldn’t do him justice. Simply put, he’s a genius. I’m sure since this is the second leg, that they’ll work more things out and change up some elements and be back for another go. That’s how it is with U2. They keep tweaking until they dial in. I can agree with certain points the “nay-sayers” make about how bored they’ve become of certain songs (which I’ve addressed already), and the sound from the upper 300s sections. Some things just are the way they are. There’s no sense in getting so angry about it. I can understand a bit of animosity being felt on some of these points considering how hard it was to get tickets and the ridiculous PRICE of the tickets (lower level seating was either $100 or $250 which is ludicrous in this current state of economic distress). The one aspect of the show that really rubbed me the wrong way was the nod to corporate giants Live Nation and Blackberry, who I think have thrown a wrench in the U2 machine. It was obvious that the remarks Bono made at the conclusion of the show were scripted, written into the show’s agenda and really not something he’s used to. In fact, he appeared downright uncomfortable with that situation. Bono was never one to gush over corporate giants or sponsors and to witness that made me cringe. The other downer to the whole show had nothing to do with U2; it was the insanity of getting in and out of that ridiculous traffic pattern which caused people to be late for the show, and prevented people from getting a good night’s sleep before rising for work the next day. We’re not teenagers and 20-somethings anymore! We’re approaching 50, just like the band! I’ve heard that some people who live not even an hour from the venue didn’t get home until 4am. That is unacceptable. But I’ll take that up with Gillette Stadium.
I’m still excited and looking forward to seeing them again on another leg which is sure to come back to Boston next summer! I enjoy seeing where the experience takes the band, and how they develop the show over time. It’s part of why I dig them so much.