Let me start by saying I’m a huge U2 fan. It would hard for them to disappoint. I’ve been a fan since the age of 11 in 1986…you can do the math. Having said that, of the five times I’ve seen U2 last night’s concert in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington (Dallas) was not my favorite. In fact, last night’s show would come in 3rd or 4th depending on which day you ask me.
The song selection last night did not disappoint. And to be honest, the music was quality as well. The Edge was on fire. He sounded better last night than any other time I’ve heard him. Bono’s voice seemed weak and a little off. I’d like to blame it on the stadium, which I’ll cover in a minute, but he wasn’t on the top of his game. Larry Mullen Jr. absolutely brought his A game in songs like Sunday Bloody Sunday with a hard, tight, pounding drum line. They played the favorites and played them well, including Elevation, Vertigo, and Beautiful Day. Highlights for me included I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, with a snippet of Stand By Me, which they did in the 1997 Pop Mart tour, One, with a snippet of Amazing Grace, and Where The Streets Have No Name. They played MLK which I can’t remember hearing in another tour, but I’d have to check the setlist to be sure.
On the negative side, the stage was too big. The band, at times, seem disconnected from the audience and from each other. This type of setup is not conducive to Adam Clayton. He looked lost and awkward as he wondered the stage during songs. Larry looked like a rotating duck in the middle as they appeased the crowd by spinning him around for everyone to get a front side shot of him. Bono and the Edge looked at home wondering around, but it was too much space to cover. I really missed the more intimate stage setup from Elevation and Vertigo tours. I also missed the more intimate venue as well. Watching U2 in the old Reunion Arena and in the American Airlines Center were as close to true worship experiences as I’ve been to, but that was completely lost in the big stadium. I know that U2 are big enough to carry big stadiums, but it didn’t work last night at the Cowboys Stadium. That stadium is too big. And the acoustics suffer because of it. The roof was closed and I wonder it that hurt the sound even more. I’ve heard from others that sat up in the top levels that the sound was terrible, with some leaving before the show was over. It would be interesting to see this concert in an open stadium. I could only hope that it sounds better. I don’t go to many concerts but I won’t be going to one at the Cowboys Stadium. It may be great for football, but it’s not a concert friendly stadium. Just a side note, Muse sounded horrible. I do know a few of their songs but I couldn’t make out a single word. Complete mush mouth. Again, I’d like to blame this squarely on the stadium and it’s acoustics, but since I’ve never heard them I can’t be sure that it wasn’t their, or their sound engineers, fault. The ‘space’ concept for U2 didn’t work for me. Bono kept making vague references to ‘taking off’ and it just didn’t go over well.
Overall I enjoyed the show. Like I said, it’s U2 and I just can’t come away disappointed with them. I did come away disappointed with how the stadium played and the concert concept. If you’re a star kind of ranker, I’d give last night a 3.9 out of 5. Here’s the setlist from last night’s show.
- Get On Your Boots
- Mysterious Ways / Sweet Lord (Snippet)
- Beautiful Day / Blackbird (Snippet)
- I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For / Stand By Me (Snippet)
- Stuck In A Moment You Cant Get Out Of
- No Line On The Horizon
- Until The End Of The World
- The Unforgettable Fire
- City Of Blinding Lights
- I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight (Remix)
- Sunday Bloody Sunday
- Walk On
- One / Amazing Grace (Snippet)
- Where The Streets Have No Name
- Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
- With Or Without You
- Moment Of Surrender