Volume: U2, 360 Tour, Cowboys Stadium, 10/12/2009

Originally posted on Facebook 10/13/2009

“Tim?” I asked.  “Yeah”, replies the person sitting directly in the row in front of me. “Randy Brown, what’s up man!” Out of 70,000 people at Cowboys Stadium, I am sitting behind a guy I grew up with at FBC Weatherford. We were always big fans of the band back then, but never in a million years did I expect to run into Tim McClure sitting in front of me at U2 last night. I could state how small a world it really is, but what’s the point.

U2 brought their massive stadium tour into the most massive structure I could imagine and made the billion dollar “Death Star” look like an arena for 15,000 people. Plus 55,000. The tickets I bought at 10:00:30 or so on April 20th were finally being used. What a wait it had been. Only to start with a bit of a whimper.

Yes, I’ve seen them 7 times prior, and will see them every time they come to town, and it will be the most important thing regardless of what’s going on. It will be priority #1. And I know that if I don’t see them, I will be very, very irritable wherever I am that night, not being in the arena. All this being said, I think I know a thing or two about the band and their shows. The opener is usually just another obstacle to get to the main course. Unless you’re PJ Harvey or Public Enemy, they were great in times past. Tonight I had to get through Muse.

Let’s talk about Muse for a second. This is my girlfriend, Leah, this is “her” band. She loves Muse in an undying fashion, so much she skipped out on a dazzling Arcade Fire show at ACL a couple of years ago. These guys are stadium vets from across the pond, so they know the tricks, and I must say, I enjoyed them immensely more than I thought I would.

So we’ve gone through the opener, run into a few people during intermission which seemed a feat to itself since there are 70,000 people present, chatted with the aforementioned old friend in front of me, when Bowies “Space Oddity” comes blaring though the PA, much louder than the rest of the in between act music (TV On The Radio), and you can feel it. The crowd is getting it, and it’s just about time.

The Claw comes alive to “Breathe”. Really? This is the opener? This was easily one of the more throwaway tracks on No Line On The Horizon for me. All I knew of the show up to this point was “Breathe” opened the show into another new song or two – that was it. I had avoided set lists, everything to make sure I knew nothing about the show. Let Me In The Sound… “Get On Your Boots” follows, then “Magnificent”, one of the more stellar songs from the new album, into one of my least favorite songs, “Mysterious Ways”. I actually cried when I heard it back in 1991 for the first time, I hated it that much.

Things finally start to settle in 5 songs in with “Beautiful Day” into my senior song, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. Okay, here we go and the show really gets cooking with songs from old (“Sunday Bloody Sunday”), to newer selections of the U2 canon (“Vertigo”, “Elevation” “City Of Blinding Lights”) and classics (“With Or Without You”, “One”, Where The Streets Have No Name”).

I’d probably been waiting 24 years, ever since I first heard the song, to experience “The Unforgettable Fire” live. This has been my favorite song since I was 17. Out of the previous 7 times I have seen U2, not once have they ever played it. Well, they did last night. And it was every bit as glorious as I thought it could be. Which is what will make this show stick out to me forever. Not the Claw, not the Stadium, not the 70,000 in attendance, those 5 minutes meant the world.

With all this being said, it is amazing how much they can leave out of a show. So many songs to choose from, and absolutely no way to please everyone whatsoever.  If I wasn’t to terribly pleased with the opening of “Breathe”, the closer of “Moment of Surrender” was a disappointment too. I certainly feel the new album is far superior to How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, but on the last tour, those songs seemed to come to life a bit better than the No Line On The Horizon material. The title track, one of my favorites, just didn’t bring the power like the recorded version. And a big omission was “Fez: Being Born”. This I thought would have been a stellar opener and a great mood setter for the evening, or at least a great encore opener with its giant intro. What did standout from the new material was the remix version of “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”. All four members out on the catwalk, Larry with hand drums and all. It was amazing.

As I said before, there is no way to please everyone with a set from this band, so I don’t ever fault them for just playing their show how they want. To demonstrate, I will post the actual setlist along with one that could’ve been done, with only a handful of overlapping songs (some you just can’t get away without playing, and new material) to see what this band can do and how they can’t please all of us. Unless they do some 1985 4 hour Springsteen shows, which is unlikely, ha.

Actual Set Fake Set

Breathe                                Fez: Being Born

Get On Your Boots          No Line Of The Horizon*

Magnificent                        Magnificent*

Mysterious Ways             The Fly

Beautiful Day                     Beautiful Day*

I Still Haven’t Found        All I Want Is You

Stuck In A Moment (A)  Desire (Acoustic)

No Line On The Horizon                I Will Follow

Elevation                             New Year’s Day

Until The End… World    Even Better Than The Real Thing

Unforgettable Fire          Bad

City Of Blinding Lights     Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own

Vertigo                                 All Because Of You

I’ll Go Crazy If…                 I’ll Go Crazy If…*

Sunday Bloody Sunday  Pride

MLK                                       Bullet The Blue Sky

Walk On                               Staring At The Sun

One                                       Numb

Where The Streets…      Gone

Ultraviolet                        Where The Streets Have No Name*

With Or Without You    With Or Without You*

Moment Of Surrender  “40”

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~ by thesynaptic on August 4, 2010.

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