red lights

Concert Livewire
basement tapes concert reviews cd reviews interviewsticket swap music news

Sunday rockin' Sunday with a
massive "360" stage spectacle

Soldier Field
Chicago, IL
September 13, 2009
U2 U2 U2

Review by Andy Argyrakis
Photos by Phil Bonytata

Every time U2 hits the road, the foursome attempts to outdo itself with stage spectacle and stadium-filling excitement. While iconic tours such as "Zoo TV" and "Elevation" will always be artistic and entertainment pinnacles of the enduring group's career, the brand new "360 Tour" ranks right alongside those influential outings. For starters, the band's touring in support of the stellar new CD No Line on the Horizon (Interscope), followed by the fact that this "in the round" experience literally played to every angle of a gargantuan football stadium.

Granted, the guys have slowed down ever so slightly when it comes to animated interaction, but they didn't miss a lick instrumentally and Bono was right on par with his unmistakable vocal prowess. And there was plenty of compensation for his mere handful of sprints (rather than all out marathon) around the massive circle, which was adorned by a jumbo-tron that separated and reconnected like an intricate puzzle, a lightening stick radiating vibrant lights and even a flashy disco ball.

But U2 was and continues to be a band that doesn't even need the spectacle because of its uncanny chemistry, plus cavalcade of hits and current cuts that are even more razor sharp than when the fellas first started in the early 1980s. Faithful hoping to hear early career cuts were relegated to just a handful of golden oldies ("I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "The Unforgettable Fire," "Sunday Bloody Sunday"), while tunes from the 2000s ruled the night.

"Breathe" kicked off the evening with a bang, "Magnificent" stood amongst the band's most triumphant tunes to date, while "Beautiful Day" and "Elevation" were militant sing-a-longs of epic proportion. Considering No Line on the Horizon draws several artistic parallels to Achtung Baby, '90s tunes "Until the End of the World" and "Ultra Violet (Light My Way)" fit right into the song choices and were virtually timeless.

The oddest moment of the night was a dance club remix of the current "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight," fitting perhaps for Cher or the Pet Shop Boys, but a bit bizarre for these Dublin boys. Nonetheless, they returned to more flattering roots with a moving take on "Walk On" (dedicated to the peace-keeping efforts of Amnesty International), which flowed seamlessly into "One" (augmented with the old time spiritual "Amazing Grace" and used as a catalyst to promote the band's hunger relief centered "One Campaign").

However, The Joshua Tree alum "Where the Streets Have No Name" ruled the night, kicking off with The Edge's charging jangles and exploding with Bono's bellows. In fact, the track could arguably be the best modern rock song ever written, and even though it's well over twenty years old, it sounds like it was literally conceived yesterday. And at the end of the two hour and ten minute experience, that's precisely why U2 is still on top of the world. Members may be veterans approaching their golden years, but have managed to maintain a genuinely youthful exuberance, unparalleled enthusiasm and inspirational appeal that transcends every age and demographic, sure to swell exponentially as its legacy expands.

Related articles:

U2 / Kings of Leon - Concert review - Chicago, IL May 2005
U2 / Garbage - Concert review - Chicago, IL October 2001
U2 / PJ Harvey - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI May 2001
Bono "One on One" - Interview
U2 - No Line On The Horizon - Album review
U2 - U218 SINGLES - Album review
U2 - All That You Can't Leave Behind - Album review
U2 - Pop - Album review
Zoo TV Live From Sydney DVD - DVD review

U2 U2 U2
U2 U2 U2
U2 U2
U2 U2
U2 U2

What Do You Think?



City & State:

e mail:

Here's Your Chance to.... Respond!

Your feedback will be featured on
Rant or Rave within 24 hours.

Return to Reviews
Return to Menu