Tag Archives: Where The Streets Have No Name

U2 with The Lumineers

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

Seeing U2 live is always an experience. My friend Kim is a superfan, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a U2 show without her. She organized a tailgate and we got to Gillette early to meet up with some other fans and beat the traffic. We got to hear soundcheck from the parking lot, too, and fans were pumped. My friends Aimsel and Colin did the GA thing, and we stopped by to say hello to them, as well. Kim and I did GA back in 2011 in Montreal, and well it was well worth it to be a few rows from the stage. However, it makes for an exhausting experience, especially standing outside for all of those hours in the middle of the day in the summer. Turns out, I was jealous later when I saw their pictures, so I’ll have to reconsider my position on GA next time U2 tours. You can check out Aimsel’s show recap and pictures from the GA section here.

The Lumineers are excellent live, and I was really excited that they were opening the show. I saw them last summer at Thompson’s Point in Portland, and they put on a fantastic show. I loved hearing “Ophelia,” “Ho Hey,” and “Stubborn Love” again in person. I bet they had a blast playing for such a massive crowd, too.

U2 took the stage and brought their A game. They opened with a mini set of “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “New Year’s Day,” “Bad,” and “Pride” before playing their entire 1987 Joshua Tree album from start to finish. It was incredible to hear The Joshua Tree all the way through. Those songs are the soundtrack to so many lives, and it’s hard to believe the album came out 30 years ago. I feel lucky I got to be there. Also, “Where The Streets Have No Name” is definitely my favorite live U2 song, and it was exhilarating to enjoy it with 60,000+ other fans.

U2 always creates a phenomenal concert experience, and this night was no different. Their stage design was incredible, with the extension stage in the shape of a joshua tree. They projected stunning videos all night on a 200-foot long 45-foot-high LED screen. Also, it always feels a bit like worshipping at the Church of Bono, as I like to call it, and it’s always interesting to hear what global issues Bono will talk about. He dedicated “One Tree Hill” to Boston Marathon Bombing victim Martin Richard and told us that his family was in the audience. He said “there is no end to grief, and that’s how we know there’s no end to love.” He gave a shout out to John Kerry for his early support of HIV/AIDS research and told us that millions of people are now living long lives despite HIV/AIDS. They did a whole video montage about great women and promoted women’s equality. Finally, during “Miss Sarajevo,” we watched a video of of young woman in Syria who dreamed of making it to America someday and passed an enormous sheet with her face on it around the stadium. Bono sure knows how to use his platform to stir up emotion and affect change.

They turned up the energy for “Beautiful Day,” “Elevation,” and “Vertigo,” and closed the night with “One.” Since Boston is their favorite American city, they also treated us to “The Little Things That Give You Away,” from their forthcoming album, Songs of Experience. It’s always a treat to see U2 live. They’re nothing quite like singing along with 60,000+ other fans and worshipping at the Church of Bono.




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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Madison Square Garden, New York City

U2 is an incredibly significant part of popular culture, perhaps even our Greek chorus–the conscience of the people. Their 40-year career making music together is nothing short of stunning. Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. are phenomenal musicians and their song catalog is incredible. They’ve written songs to educate and move people, and their philanthropic work has been extraordinary and impactful.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing U2 live seven times over the course of 15 years. I got to see their Elevation, Vertigo, and 360 tours—even waiting outside in line in Montreal for a solid eight or nine hours in the hot sun to get inside the inner circle of their last tour. Getting to see any U2 show is monumental. I’ve joked that going to see them is like going to worship in the “Church of Bono.” He’s preachy live—educating the audience, asking for their support for causes important to him, and encouraging us to be more open minded and take an active role in our global community. Getting to hear “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “One,” “Pride” and “Where the Streets Have No Name” live is spellbinding. You feel like you’re part of a significant, dare I say it, sacred, experience. It’s really something. So my expectations of a U2 live show are obviously high, based on my past experiences. And this show at Madison Square Garden, my first there, just didn’t reach the bar. It’s sort of shocking to write a less than stellar review of a U2 show, but if I’m being honest, this night fell flat for me.

2011–Kim and I are still smiling after waiting at least a solid eight hours for U2 in Montreal! Inner circle!

 My dear friend and U2 super fan Kim and I made it an adventure and spent the afternoon standing outside Madison Square Garden hoping to meet the band. She and I both know folks in Montreal and Boston who happened to be at the right place at the right time and got to meet members of the band, so we had our fingers crossed and our hearts set on it. I even know someone who Bono pulled on stage for a solid ten minutes at one of the Boston shows, so hopes were high. After seeing all of the guys drive into MSG, we hoped they’d come out to greet us, but had no luck. Kim looked back at the set lists from the tour and saw that they’d been playing some songs they hadn’t played live in decades, but that didn’t happen for us. Jimmy Fallon was the surprise guest the night before our show, and Lady Gaga and Bruce Springsteen were guests on nights after us, but there was no special guest at our show. I think I would have been less disappointed if I hadn’t known so much about the other nights before going into the show.U2 always sounds great, which they did, but their set was slow moving and not full of the hits I’d come to expect to hear live. I suspect that maybe Bono was tired that night, because he didn’t talk to us as much as usual, either. Their stage design was impressive with a very long catwalk stage, which was neat and gave people in GA a lot more opportunity to be close to the band at some point during the show. Their set also included an LED cage that ran the length of most of the stage, and even though the graphics they projected on it were cool and the fact they climbed up into it to play was neat, I didn’t like being even that much farther away from the band I’d paid so much and come so far to see live.

So pumped for U2 at MSG!!

Madison Square Garden

We’d hoped that spotting U2’s head of security meant they’d be coming out to greet fans. No such luck.


“Sunday Bloody Sunday”

 Overall, this show just didn’t cut the mustard for me and that is incredibly uncomfortable to say, but it’s true. I still love U2 and appreciate them tremendously and hope they were just having an off night, which everyone is surely entitled to.



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