Monday, September 11, 2017

U2 Concert Review and Setlist - Minneapolis, US Bank Stadium

I finally saw U2 live.  For somebody that loves music, and loves their music, I have no excuse for missing them to this point.  I was glad to finally check them off my list, which leaves me with just one more band to go (yes, Foo Fighters, I'm talking to you).

I was supposed to be seeing this concert with my sister, which I would have loved more than words could say.  This concert was done featuring an entire performance of the Joshua Tree; arguably their greatest work, and one of my sister's favorites.  I thought about her throughout the concert and wondered a lot of what she might of thought.  Likewise, I felt pretty sorry for myself for missing her company for what was a great performance.

Here is the setlist, to the best of my recollection, with some notes:

Sunday Bloody Sunday - I remember first seeing this song in video during high school back in the 80s.  It still sounded fresh and wonderful.
New Year's Day - 3rd favorite U2 song of all time.  Interesting to see The Edge move between guitar and keyboards.
Bad - An OK version
Pride (In the Name of Love) - Was surprised at how much energy they brought to a song they had to play a million times.  Well done.

The Joshua Tree portion of the concert then started:
Where the Streets Have No Name - When this song started, my mind instantly went to their Super Bowl performance and I got really emotional.  While not as dramatic as their post-9/11 performance, it was still virtuoso:

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - I'm just not the biggest fan of this song, which is too bad as it is lyrically one of their strongest.  Still, a good effort.
With or Without You - This one felt a little tired.
Bullet the Blue Sky - My second favorite U2 song of all time.  Unfortunately, I've seen too many incredible versions of this song that their performance left me a little wanting.  Felt a little like they went through the motions.
Running to Stand Still - I have slowly moved this song up my favorite ranks.  Strong performance.
Red Hill Mining Town - The surprise of the night.  Performed in front of a video of a brass band, it sounded incredible.  Maybe their best song of the night.  I'm not kidding.
In God's Country - This one felt like they went through the motions.  Not great.
Trip Through Your Wires - Better than expected.
One Tree Hill - Pretty darned good version.
Exit - Really good version.  It is funny, the end of Joshua Tree is arguably the least popular, but they really seemed to work hard on those songs.  That's one of the reasons why they're so incredible.

Beautiful Day - Great version.  Incorporated portions of "Most Beautiful Girl in the World" at the end, which worked well.
Elevation - Loved this version.  Bono's voice is just incredible
Vertigo - Outstanding version!  So much energy.
Mysterious Ways - Just OK.  Had a fan come up and dance, and that was a touch annoying.
Ultraviolet - This is another favorite song, but was done as a celebration of women.  Nice message, but really?  It's 2017.  Do I need to have a screen flashing with influential women playing in front of me to recognize the importance women play in our society?  Maybe I'm lucky I've had the women I've had in my life.  Wife, mom, sister, many bosses, many other peers, many other coworkers - countless women that have influenced me and made a difference in the world.  Of course Hillary was flashed up and the crowd went nuts.  Are we ever going to move on from that election?  I know they're preachy, but this almost seemed needy.
One - My favorite U2 song of all time. Got choked up again at the end when they lyrics hit:
One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
One life
But we're not the same
We get to carry each other

Carry each other

I so missed my sister at this point.  It would have been a hell of a time to share a hug.  Bono tried for a sing along with "Purple Rain" at the end, but the meter of the song is such that it is hard to know when you need to come in, and it was unfortunately an ugly way to finish as the crowd totally botched it.  

Regardless of the finish, the concert in total was outstanding.  It was a great check of the bucket list.

Some last thoughts on U2:

  • The Edge is a hell of a guitarist, and while Bono is the soul of the group, The Edge is the circulatory system.
  • Hard to believe how relevant this band has been for so long.  Their latest release is currently at #1 on iTunes.  No band of their peer group can boast the same.
  • Bono conveyed a genuine appreciation for his lot and that he gets paid so much to do something that he loves so.  This didn't seem rote or canned.  It was really heartening.

Beck opened, and was really strong.  Unfortunately, he focused nearly all of his effort on his oldest (and most popular) work.  That's too bad as he's made some really incredible music of late.  With his tight band, it would have been fun to hear some newer stuff, but I understand that when you're the opener, it's best to feed the limited crowd some red meat.

Beck as well did a hat tip to Prince, which must be obligatory for any band playing Minneapolis for the next decade.  He did a nice little version of Raspberry Beret that actually worked really well.

Overall, it was a great night.  Go see this band if you have not.  As a music fan, you owe it to yourself to do so

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