quote:Originally posted by billhike:
I ticked off a bucket list show by seeing U2 last night at Soldier Field. They are not my favorite band and I'm generally not a fan of large stadium shows, but holy crap, this was incredible. It is easily in my top 5 all-time concert experiences.
We had general admission tickets on the field. We stood about mid-field, slightly left looking at the stage. We were next to a lighting/camera/spotlight tower that also included a slightly raised viewing platform for those who purchased "premium" tickets. It was nice to have a rail to keep others only on one side of it, and there was also a rubber/plastic edge around it that we could stand on. The extra couple inches of height aided my short wife.
As Bomba noted above, they started with a few songs on a small stage that was a little out in the field connected to the main stage by a ramp. While there, they played only with minimalist lighting. It was a cool way to start before returning to the incredibly wide main stage that had a fantastic media screen behind it. I don't normally like large screens and prefer to focus on the performers, but this setup was incredibly well-integrated. A mixture of film, images, and live camera shots of the band while they played through the entire Joshua Tree album. I had not listened to it in a really, really long time. What an incredible piece of music, from start to finish. Rather than feel like you were watching a music video or a band on screens from miles away, they did a great job of making this feel closer to an arena show rather than a football stadium. The crowd all the way up to the rafters was on their feet the entire show. Sound was excellent from the start, and quite loud without being painful. Bono's voice was mostly great the whole time. A few slight cracks, but the dude is 57 and has been doing this a long time. Adam and Larry Jr. laid a great foundation and I thought the drum and bass mix were perfect. The Edge is The Edge - it was nice to see him get really animated during the livelier or heavier songs. Great backing vocals as well. Whatever you think of Bono's grandstanding, politicking or whatever, he is one of the greatest frontmen I've witnessed live. He had every person in the stadium engaged. Bullet The Blue Sky was my favorite performance of the setlist.
I have to give some kudos to the organization at Soldier Field, and I really expected somewhat of a cluster***k. I've been to one show before this one where GA ticket holders needed the credit card from the purchase for entry, and it took about 45 minutes in line to get in the United Center. I was NOT looking forward to a repeat at a facility with triple the capacity. They had a great setup last night as far as number of security/x-ray lines, credit card swipers, and people giving out the field access wristbands. We got parked a few minutes before gates opened at 5. I was getting anxious when I saw the massive queue of people at the GA entrance section, but we were inside with wristbands within 15 minutes. I was a little shocked, because it often seems in Chicago that those organizing large things can find a way to f*** up water cups and napkin dispensers. There were also a LOT or beverage vending stations on the field - mostly ringing the front row of the seating bowl but also next to some lighting/sound towers. Also, those with field access were able to go into a long, huge tunnel in the bowels of the stadium that had a ridiculous number of porta-johns. No waiting despite a capacity crowd with a huge number of people on the field. Kudos to the organizers - this was really well executed. Unfortunately, a new reality is seeing a lot of police with a lot of military-looking firepower. Thanks to them for keeping us safe.
Forumites going to see this tour are in for a hell of a treat.
I'm glad you enjoyed the show, Bill.