Review: U2 Concert

First of all, let me say that it may be possible that I'm now to old to spend my day jam packed with things to do - including an emergency trip to the pediatrician for something like DIAPER RASH - and then go to an outdoor concert where the main act begins to play at 9PM but ALAS I was there in Charlottesville last night because DH bought tickets months ago for his 40th birthday. I think he knew he'd get something lame if he left the gift buying up to me. Secondly, did I mention that we sat on the hill. Outside. This is October. In Virginia. Beautiful night. Full moon. Not a cloud in the sky except the ones made by the smoke machines. Yep, it was a tad nippy and yet I saw girls - and I do mean girls - in mini skirts and flip flops. I know I was never that stupid because my mother taught me how to dress in layers. But I digress.

The concert. So, I'm not much into concerts and I probably only know a handful of U2 songs and I did not even stand up until the 3rd encore at 11pm and that was because I had lost all feeling in my butt and knew it was time to leave but throughout the entire show - and it is a SHOW - I had a perfectly unobstructed view of the stage and the screen. The stage of course looks miniscule unless you are on the field and within spitting distance. The screens are 360, so there is not a bad seat in the house! In fact, the entire stage is 360! Technically, there's a back but they did a good job of using the whole stage that I'm not sure the people in the 'back' even noticed.
And if you've heard anything about the show you've probably heard about the bridges that the guys can use to take them out into the audience. Well, they aren't technically 'in' the audience, but they are 'over' and 'with' the audience so that more people have the opportunity to see, hear, and I guess smell them.

What I found interesting, as I sat there shivering on my numb butt was how interactive and personal this experience was. Concerts have always had some personalization because live music lends itself to that. Musicians play differently each time they pick up an instrument or sing and it's never as 'perfect' as studio recordings. Not to mention the new lyrics that get thrown in - Bono used landmarks of the area and references to the college several times throughout the show. This isn't new in the realm of live performance but it does make for a unique performance and one in which the people at this performance will feel special.
Then there the people in the crowd that sing along. This isn't new either to live performance but this was the first time - in my very limited concert going experience - in which the band made sure the crowd was 'with them' for the last chorus of the song so that everyone was singing together. That is a massive undertaking and one in which they certainly didn't have to do. This wasn't a small concert either. These stadiums that U2 is using are outdoor, college football stadiums that probably seat 80,000 people!

The video portions of the show are remarkable. Some of it probably could have induced an epileptic seizure but I nearly cried when Bishop Tutu talked about the imagery of how the same people that campaigned for Civil Rights in the US, were the same people that campaigned against Apartheid in South Africa, were the same people that campaigned against injustice... and he named injustices around the world and then he brought it back to us, to the stadium, to the circle, to the screen, because it is a circle, because we are all One. Man, if that doesn't touch you somewhere deep and either make you cry or smile then I think there's something very wrong.

All of through the show I sat and thought of a professor I had in grad school who loved to talk about the future of post-modernism and how it would influence everything, even entertainment and how we - the people - would be incorporated into the actual entertainment process. Whether it was sports, literature, music or whatever I think we are truly beginning to see that change here. We saw musicians moving over and through the crowd last night and from where I was sitting they were moving together and in synchroncity almost indistinguishable other than the spotlight tracking them on the platform. We heard voices from the crowd instead of those we paid to hear and it was just as magical, if not more, and it was orchestrated by those supposed in charge - those we look up to on the stage. But here there is no front or back. There might not be anyone in charge. There's just a guy who thanks his friends for letting him be in their band and that is Definitely Cool!


Post a Comment