U2 . . . the Salt Lake City Appearance

A friend and I attended the U2 360-Tour concert Tuesday night in Rice-Eccles stadium.  It was a cool night, considering it was May 24th.  But the concert was fun and the crowd had a good time.  Everyone around me stood for the majority of the concert.

Yours Truly Before U2 Concert

Bono and U2 plugged a variety of causes, principally Amnesity International.  But these divergences into international politics didn’t really interfere with the music, and enhanced it for me.  There were short video clips of Burma’s most famous dissident, South Africa’s Bishop Tutu, a Sarajevo beauty contest, etc.  Before the concert, the screen displayed “real-time” info about the state of the planet, and the corresponding time (of day) in various cities around the world.  Anyone who is familiar with Bono’s obsessions knew all this was coming.

Other graphics displayed on the gigantic (360-degree) screen included a woman dancing and being transformed into a variety of interesting geometric configurations (think the start of a James Bond movie), early images of the band, a clip of the astronauts in the space station, and, of course, live images while the band played.  And there was that strange cartoon at the end of the show that I didn’t understand.

Small divergences from their own material included using David Bowie’s Space Oddity as an intro, Bono soloing the first verse of Blowing in the Wind, and the crowd singing Happy Birthday to Bob Dylan (his 70th).  These were all neatly packaged throughout the show.  Bono seemed remarkably healthy after his back operation, and The Edge did great work on the guitar.

Inside Rice-Eccles Stadium Just Before the U2 Concert

The stage looked like a gigantic claw with a tower stuck up the middle.  On top of the tower was a large mirror ball which was used at the end of the show.  At various times the stage was made to look like a garden, a spaceship, a Christmas tree, or just a wild collection of flashing colors.  To put all this together required a cast of hundreds and a large fleet of semis and other assorted vehicles.

Support Vehicles for the U2 Concert

I need to make one comment about Bono’s causes.  I travel to Africa frequently and enjoy Uganda immensely.  His support for Africa is greatly appreciated.  But there seems a strange disconnect between the money spent to mount this type of concert, and the need in developing countries.  I wonder if the money could be better spent.  I almost felt guilty attending the concert.  ALMOST.

However, having said that, I greatly enjoyed the concert.  It was good fun.

I’m 66, and my introduction to U2 was through my son who will soon be 40.  A couple of years ago, my family and I watched the U2 concert film at the local IMAX theater.  It was filmed during performances in Brazil and Argentina.  It represents a great companion piece to one of U2’s live concerts.

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2 Responses to U2 . . . the Salt Lake City Appearance

  1. susan says:

    I went to the concert with my brother, Bill, friend Chris, and her husband, Randy. I have always enjoyed U2, although not a fanatical fan. I think what made me appreciate their music to a greater extent was the IMAX concert that you referred to, which was featured at the Sundance Film Festival and played a few years ago. It was incredible.

    The concert was great. The set (“Claw”) was amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert. I, too, expected the political part of it, but it did not seem overbearing. I also thought it was amazing that Bono has come so far, since apparently it’s been 1 year this week since his back surgery. The Edge has a unique style. I also enjoyed the warm-up band, The Fray. All-in-all, a great night.

    No need to feel guilty about enjoying the concert. Bono and the boys have done much for the world, as you also have. Every little bit helps. Although the production does indeed cost huge amounts of money, Bono and others have made unselfish contributions worldwide. The old saying, “It takes money to make money” also applies. “It takes money to GIVE money”.

    “One love, one blood, one life, you got to do what you should
    One life with each other; sisters, brothers
    One life, but we’re not the same
    We get to carry each other; carry each other
    One, one.

  2. Bret says:

    Great write-up Roger. It is difficult to find anything bad to say about a group that brings such passion and hard work to the table. The technical fireworks (HUGE LED screen, fantastically endless variations of lighting and The Claw) might have overwhelmed a lesser effort or a lesser band. Burger in the Salt Lake Tribune nailed it for me “…if only every day of church could be this loud, thoughtful and pulse-quickening.”


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