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Offline boom boom

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Opening Night Reviews (Spoiler)
« on: September 13, 2009, 07:15:26 AM »
Well it looks like the press in the US are not going to be kind to U2 with their reviews as the Chicago Sun-Times are already comparing them to the Stones by playing it safe and calling it an empty spectacle as compared to the buzz of Zoo TV and failing to find the perfect mix of genuine passion and stadium-rock showmanship. Here is the full review:

U2 at Soldier Field

Chicago Sun-Times, September 12, 2009
By: Jim DeRogatis

 
Touring in support of its first two albums in the new millennium, the unadventurous U2-by-the-numbers All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000) and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004), Bono and the boys were in danger of becoming their generation's Rolling Stones -- a rote if occasionally rousing arena act more devoted to selling tickets than to breaking new musical ground.

Released last February, No Line on the Horizon, the Dublin band's 12th studio album, came as a welcome surprise: Though they didn't always succeed, the musicians at least took chances again, veering from that familiar U2 bombast to deliver their most creative disc since Achtung Baby (1991). Unfortunately, the new album also has been the slowest selling of their career, with U.S. sales yet to reach platinum status of a million sold--a fact that can be attributed to no one buying CDs anymore, or to fans being turned off by the group's experimentation.

Eighteen years ago, Achtung Baby inspired the Zoo TV Tour, a multi-media sensory assault that stands as the most inventive arena jaunt I've witnessed. The question looming over Soldier Field Saturday night as U2 launched the North American leg of its 360 Tour at the first of two concerts in Chicago was whether the band would uphold the creative spirit of the new album, matching or topping Zoo TV, or play it safe in an attempt to reconnect with conservative fans and please its new partner, giant national concert promoter Live Nation.

The answer, as is often the case with this band, was that it tried to do it all and please everyone. Though it avoided the most ambient and atmospheric of the new tracks crafted with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, the group did play a hefty chunk of No Line on the Horizon, including the strong show opener "Breathe," the hypnotizing "Unknown Caller" and the soaring "Magnificent," which really was.

But in place of the disorienting buzz of Zoo TV, U2 gave us the empty spectacle of the multi-million-dollar stage fans have come to call "the Claw," a ludicrous, fog-belching, crab-like mega-structure that primarily succeeds in dwarfing the musicians onstage, recalling David Bowie's equally silly Glass Spider Tour and making recent Stones stages seem modest in comparison. (U2 really ought to talk to the Flaming Lips, who've been building a more impressive UFO stage out of supplies found at Home Depot at a cost of a few thousand bucks.)

Zoo TV wasn't the superior experience only because of technology, though. The early '90s were the only period in U2's three-decades-plus career when the band dared to laugh at itself, with Bono trading his messiah complex for irony and the Macphisto alter-ego, and the group suggesting that maybe, just maybe, its desire to save the world was a bit pompous and self-aggrandizing.

Alas, the crusaders were back Saturday, linking "Sunday Bloody Sunday" to Iranian pro-democracy demonstrators, turning "Walk On" into an act of solidarity with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese politician under house arrest, and trotting out Archbishop Desmond Tutu on video to make a plea to end poverty and cure AIDS.

Um, Bono, old chum, many activists cite corporate globalization as the prime culprit responsible for some of the ills just cited. Care to explain how that jibes with you and the band wholeheartedly endorsing Live Nation's controversial mega-merger with Ticketmaster? On second thought, maybe there was some irony on Saturday.

In between the bounty of new tunes, the band trotted out the expected crowd-pleasers -- "Beautiful Day," "Pride (In the Name of Love)," "Where the Streets Have No Name" -- though some of these were truncated or delivered medley-style with awkward bits of covers ("Blackbird," "Stand By Me," "Oliver's Army"), with choppy and unsatisfying results.

As always, the deft rhythm section of drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and bassist Adam Clayton did their best to keep things moving, and the Edge was a deceptively simple one-man orchestra. Meanwhile, Bono posed and preened, emoted and yowled, flogging every millimeter of charisma he possesses. But as someone who's seen the group on nearly every tour since it first came to the U.S., I never found what I was looking for -- that perfect mix of genuine passion and stadium-rock showmanship.

This band just may not be capable of it anymore -- which means it may have become the Rolling Stones after all.

After the jump: Bono's Chicago shout-outs, four words about openers Snow Patrol, U2's set list and a point of comparison.

Bono's Chicago shout-outs


    * In introducing "Magnificent," the artist born Paul David Hewson name-checked Soldier Field, Grant Park and Lake Shore Drive. Hey, Bono, if you think Soldier Field is magnificent now, you should have seen it before they turned it into a giant toilet bowl with all those extra corporate sky boxes.
    * The singer also exhorted the crowd to "put the 'soul' into Soldier Field."
    * And reminded us that the band performed at the Presidential Inauguration for our homeboy, Barack Obama.
    * And bragged that a lot of Irish immigrants helped to build this city's skyscrapers. "We're the wind in the Windy City," he said.

 Four words about openers Snow Patrol

Coldplay lite; pretentious and boring.

U2's set list

Encores included, the band played for a little less than two hours (sorta chintzy, considering a top ticket price of $252). Here is the set list.

1. Breathe
2. No Line on the Horizon
3. Get On Your Boots
4. Magnificent
5. Beautiful Day / Blackbird (Beatles cover, snippet)
6. Elevation
7. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / Stand By Me (Ben E. King cover, snippet)
8. Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of
9. Unknown Caller
10. The Unforgettable Fire
11. City of Blinding Lights
12. Vertigo
13. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
14. Sunday Bloody Sunday / Oliver's Army (Elvis Costello cover, snippet)
15. Pride (In the Name of Love)
16. MLK
17. Walk On / You'll Never Walk Alone (snippet)
18. Where the Streets Have No Name
19. One
20. Bad / Fool to Cry (snippet) / 40 (snippet)
21. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
22. With or Without You
23. Moment of Surrender

Sun-Times News Group, 2009.

Does anyone else have more print reviews of the show?

« Last Edit: September 13, 2009, 01:08:02 PM by boom boom »



Offline monarchs99

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Re: Opening Night Reviews
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2009, 07:22:13 AM »
U2 went 1 for 2 with the Chicago newspapers....

Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune gave it a fairly good review. I think it's because he actually graded the performance of the band playing the music.

Offline boom boom

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Re: Opening Night Reviews
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2009, 07:38:06 AM »
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U2 went 1 for 2 with the Chicago newspapers....

Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune gave it a fairly good review. I think it's because he actually graded the performance of the band playing the music.

Does any have this review of the Chicago Tribune?

Offline ElJayVee

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Re: Opening Night Reviews
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2009, 08:37:18 AM »
Wow.  Like I always say, "If you can't say anything nice..."

And Snow Patrol?  "Pretentious?"  Pfffttt.

Offline Nielsen

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Re: Opening Night Reviews
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2009, 08:49:31 AM »
Thread needs ''SPOILER''

Offline p8ru2

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Re: Opening Night Reviews
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2009, 09:03:04 AM »
*don't let the b*stards get you down*   ;)

In U2's defence:  First, the Snow Patrol comment was taken out of context imo - Bono was being completely facetious and sarcastic imo - both in his comments about Snow Patrol and in introducing his bandmates!    ::)  He also joked about the "windy city" in relation to body, mind, sould and other body parts regarding the Irish and Chicagoans... all in jest.    His comments were totally hilarious and especially about Adam being "big balled" LOL :D    So I think some reviewers need to loosen up!  

U2 played alot of standards as predicted as well as from NLOTH but did NOT disappoint this fan whatsoever and I'd highly doubt the consensus of hardcore and casual fans were disappointed by the show either.   They were tight, the sound was amazing, the staging & visuals fantastic and Bono's voice was perfect ( to all you naysayers out there who think his voice is crap!).  Our boys were well rested, energetic and totally engaging.  

Now sure I'd love to hear more NLOTH and other songs, and they could have maybe used more of the ramp & bridges but what they played flowed well and totally rocked!   8)  Highlights for me were Bad/40, UF, Crazy ( remix version - outstanding!), Ultraviolet (even better than the youtube), Unknown Caller, Boots ( yes boots), COBL, Streets, Stuck.  Really - I can't complain about any of it b/c they were awesome & I totally loved the show!   Best thing... sharing it with friends & forum buds here in Chitown.    :)

Offline p8ru2

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Re: Opening Night Reviews
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2009, 09:03:55 AM »
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Thread needs ''SPOILER''

Oh yeah!  Can a mod do that or does the thread starter have to do that? 

Offline spinmagazine

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Re: Opening Night Reviews
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2009, 09:18:29 AM »
Hey there. We just posted our reviews and photos from Soldier Field on SPIN.com. Check it out:
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Offline Utwoed

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Re: Opening Night Reviews
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2009, 09:59:08 AM »
Great show last night, but I remembered why I hate concerts in huge stadiums.

Chicago Tribune review You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

satellitedog01

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Re: Opening Night Reviews
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2009, 10:39:05 AM »
The strange thing about 360 for me ist that while I find  the way they perform new songs is totally inspired and inspiring, those of older U2 hits turned out generally disappointing, even otherwise stunning songs like Bad and Mysterious Ways...
Actually they should try to have fun with their own music to be able to elevate the audience too. And Bono's voice really isn't what it was even on the last album (if we take the songs he hasn't written/recorded with his "now" voice...) and he sounds out of breathe too many times. I don't care about his age. He was already old the last time around.

Offline p8ru2

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Re: Opening Night Reviews
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2009, 11:00:55 AM »
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The strange thing about 360 for me ist that while I find  the way they perform new songs is totally inspired and inspiring, those of older U2 hits turned out generally disappointing, even otherwise stunning songs like Bad and Mysterious Ways...
Actually they should try to have fun with their own music to be able to elevate the audience too. And Bono's voice really isn't what it was even on the last album (if we take the songs he hasn't written/recorded with his "now" voice...) and he sounds out of breathe too many times. I don't care about his age. He was already old the last time around.

satellitedog, did you go last night?   I beg to differ on his voice and "uninspired" on the standards is a bit harsh.   Bono sounded great last night & the band delivered!  Sure, they could be more spontaneous & less scripted but I cannot even find the words to argue about the quality of "then" vs. "now".   :-X

Offline dogcrazy325

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Re: Opening Night Reviews
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2009, 11:05:09 AM »
Concert was great last night...definitely not the best show I have seen do, but all around entertaining and the sound was good. They did a decent mix of old and new, but it didn't seem like Bono worked the crowd as much as usual...could have something to do with other posts stating that he wasn't feeling all that well.

I do agree with Utwoed....I would take them seeing them in an indoor arena over a stadium any day. Here's looking forward to the 3rd leg.   :)

satellitedog01

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Re: Opening Night Reviews
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2009, 11:19:32 AM »
My opinion is based on many European performances I've heard, and I don't mean to take away from the experience of those seeing them the first time live, but I'm less than thrilled with the current state of their setlist, even more so to find it unchanged on the second leg.
I know from my own experience that being at a concert vs. listening to a recording is such an intensive experience, that it's hard to judge unbiased.
Listening back to the U2 concerts I've been to was revealing as far as actual quality goes.

I'll listen to their current U.S. gigs too, and will be happy if his vocal stamina gets stronger.

Offline Midnight is Where the Day Begins

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Re: Opening Night Reviews
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2009, 11:22:50 AM »
All I can say about this review is that criticism is much easier to write than praise.

Offline chifly84

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Re: Opening Night Reviews
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2009, 11:25:59 AM »
I saw the Pop tour at Soldier field--actually every tour since War. I still say something gets lost in the big stadiums. They have a way of taking an indoor arena and making it feel intimate and electrifying. With both Pop and l360 ast night I missed that element. I still love the boys and their music but the venue did not do their talent justice. The "connection" wasn't as strong.