Observations on U2 concert

Went to the U2 concert last night.  In a word: Magnificent.  If you are curious as to what they played, I discovered this really cool website that has set lists for pretty much every concert.  Being a data junkie, I love the fact that you can see how common various songs are for them to play on this, and every tour.  So, I learned that we were among the select few to hear "In a Little While" on this tour– a song I could've done without, but it's also clear they played this in place of "Your Blue Room," a song I certainly didn't miss at all.  As far as what they played where there was any element of doubt, I've very pleased they did "Mysterious Ways," which they've only played in about half the shows on this tour.  Anyway, my various observations…

  • I really like the new album, but loved the old stuff.  Especially when they played New Years's Day and Sunday Bloody Sunday, off of War.  I think there's something thrilling about singing along to songs with about 60,000 other people.  They also managed to play all three of the iconic opening tracks of Joshua Tree.  I enjoyed New Year's day the most, I think because I just really love that song.
  • As far as the newer stuff (i.e., past 3 albums) their performance of Vertigo was my favorite.  Incredible energy.  Also, a really nice rendition of City of Blinding Light, in which a little boy accompanied Bono around the 360 stage. 
  • Clearly, Zooropa and Pop have already not stood the test of time.  I don't think there were any songs from those two albums.  I'm pretty curious to see what from No Line on the Horizon will stand the test of time.  Assuming U2 is still playing in 10 years (though, they are getting old), I wonder, what, if any, songs from this album they will still be playing. 
  • No Pride (In the Name of Love) tonight.  I learned from a website that this makes 9 straight shows without the song– a U2 record.  It is their most performed song.  I did miss it.
  • This was my third U2 show.  Saw Zoo-TV at good ol' RFK back in 1992 and saw the Popmart tour at Ohio Stadium in 1997.  Hard to decide whether this or Zoo-TV was better.  I really enjoyed Popmart, but it was in support of one of their weaker albums and little too kitschy.  I did decide that the Zoo-TV performance of Bullet the Blue Sky remains my single favorite U2 song in live performance. 
  • I'd guess that I was about the median age for the audience.  A decent number of college kids and twenty-something, but an overwhelming number of people in their 30's and 40's.  I wouldn't be surprised if over half the audience was between 30-45.  In some ways, its a shame, in that U2 has made some terrific music over this past decade, but hasn't attracted that much of a younger audience.
  • I got a free, presumably illegal t-shirt.  I was actually strongly considering dropping the $40 on a t-shirt in the stadium, but the long lines put an end to that notion.  Walking to the car,  a guy was selling some nice looking shirts for $10 (actually, I preferred them to what I saw inside). The guy gave me the shirt, and as I was digging in my wallet for cash, two beefy guys came up, grabbed his shirts, and said something to him along the lines of "we told you not here."  He made a quick comment to me about not paying the shirt, "we're good" or something like that, and hurried away with the beefy guys.  Weird.  And I love my shirt (I'm wearing it as I type). 
  • Apparently, Raleigh was not entirely ready to handle the concert.  All the news reports and concert reviews I read on-line focused on huge problems with the traffic.  Some people even missed the show!.  I was surprised– it's not like there's not half a dozen NCSU football games here every year. Apparently many people even abandoned their cars along the interstate to make the show.  Fortunately, being a very local (stadium is less than 10 minutes from my house), I knew the best ways in and out.  The only downside for us was the absurd crush of hundreds of people trying to get through security at a snails pace.  We walked all the way around to the opposite side of the stadium where there was no waiting and only cursory security– security person to Kim: "do you have anything in your pockets?"  Kim: "no."  Security: "okay, enjoy the show."  Why one side has no waiting and the other is like a Saturday in June at an amusement park is beyond me. 
  • Muse was awesome.  We heard their whole set, but were only seated for the last half due to our adventure around the stadium.  Perfect band for a stadium show: really big sound.  I've decided they are pretty much a hybrid of Queen and Radiohead.  I downloaded Absolution today. 

And, to end, here's a really cool photo taken by a friend of a friend at the actual concert:

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