I’m Sorry: I Can’t Leave That DMN U2 Review Alone

I mentioned it in Leading Off this morning, but since I was there and (more or less) saw what Mario Tarradell saw, I’m going to have to dig in a little deeper. You’ll find me after the jump, still trying to drown out the voice of the guy behind me who 1) never stopped singing and 2) couldn’t find the right key with a GPS and a Mapsco.

Here's the guy I just mentioned. For a moment, I considered asking him if I could pose for a picture, since I never thought I'd score seats next to Bono. Instead, I went with this, which is why the photo is predominantly forehead. But I was able to catch him over my shoulder.
Here's the guy I just mentioned. For a moment, I considered asking him if I could pose for a picture, since I never thought I'd score seats right in front of Bono. Instead, I went with this, which is why the photo is predominantly my forehead. But, fortunately, I was able to catch him over my shoulder. He's the guy with his eyes closed. I will say this: while he was annoying, what with the off-key singing, the running commentary he shouted to what I think was his nephew, and the constant dog whistling, he was amazing at either predicting the next song, or identifying it based on one note.

Okay. Now. Mario’s review.

U2 is the quintessential stadium rock band.

Mario Tarradell is the quintessential weak lede writer.

We don’t need further proof of that. But if we did, Monday night’s show at Cowboys Stadium certainly would serve as enough evidence.

I don’t need further proof. If I did, this would serve as enough evidence. Skipping ahead…

These guys couldn’t be more comfortable before a humongous mass, or underneath such high-tech gadgetry. For about two hours the U2 members sang and played with passionate precision. They backed up the spectacle with plenty of dramatic substance.

Two problems: 1) this is three non-sentences in a row. Might as well be Greeked-in copy for all it illuminates, and 2) we’re three paragraphs in — short paragraphs, but still — and he hasn’t written anything that required his attendance at the show.

Bono was a messiah figure when he performed. Dressed in black and prone to raising his arms and tilting his head back, as if basking in the presence of his disciples…

And so on. This would probably be a good place in the review — if one were paying attention and casting a critical eye at the proceedings, instead of being one of the disciples — to note that for a goodly portion of the show, Bono seemed to be going through the motions. He was sort of a parody of himself. The other guys were into it, especially The Edge, but Bono wasn’t the same showman he was been on other occasions. His stage patter was weird and affected. For instance, after one song (I think it was “Mysterious Ways,” but I wasn’t on the clock and so wasn’t taking notes), he said, “Where are you going on the DART? … Fort Worth? … Richardson? … Fair Park?” Props to Morgan Lyons for apparently sneaking a transit map backstage.

For sheer U2 explosiveness,

Guh.

we got “Vertigo,” “Get On Your Boots,” “Elevation” and “Beautiful Day.” If you wanted a good groove,

Double guh.

The tunes from No Line On the Horizon, the quartet’s newest disc, blended perfectly with older material.

Sort of. The reworked, made-for-the-dancefloor version of “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” was a standout. I guess they blended. But starting the show with two of them (“Breathe,” “Get On Your Boots”) was a bad idea. Got the show off to sort of a jog instead of a sprint.

One more song deserves mention: “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” an anthem that prompts fist pumping. It’s just as inspiring a song now, with all the violent political unrest in the world, as it was back in 1983 when it was originally released.

So at least the copy-and-paste function on his computer works. I think this pair of sentences is contractually required to appear in every review of every U2 show ever.

Which brings us to the sound at the venue, a constant source of argument among concertgoers. Two colleagues of mine sitting in section 449, basically nosebleed seats, said the sound was “pretty muddy” during opening act Muse. It only got “marginally better” for them during U2’s set.

However, sitting next to me in section 136 were Robb and Rebecca Peterson. U2’s gig was their first visit to the stadium. Robb said the sound was “fantastic, considering the huge place they’re working with.” Rebecca had heard it was “awful,” but admitted,”It was better than I thought it would be.”

The sound wasn’t good. It was terrible for Muse and better but not great for U2. I think part of the problem is that the stage was meant to be in the center of the floor, but thanks to the giant HD TV, they were crowded into one corner. They did raise the screen, but the stage still would not fit.

Anyway, I thought it was a decent show, but too packed with songs from the last two records, which I think are extremely marginal — at best — entries in their catalog. They’d be better served just embracing their new status as the modern-rock Rolling Stones, just as they once embraced stardom and celebrity and reinvented themselves on Achtung Baby! Serve up the spectacle, rely on the hits, and mix in a song or two from whatever record they released to give them an excuse to tour. It’s not the worst thing in the world.

I’ll leave you with a shot of their expanding video screen, which made the stage look like a pineapple.

pineapplestage


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