Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Best. Concert. Ever.

On Sunday, July 17, 2011, U2 brought their epic 360° Tour to St. Louis.  It has been dubbed the biggest concert ever to come to St. Louis.  Every major news outlet in the area started covering the concert about a week before the show.  Busch Stadium had to be completely transformed for the stage.  The sod ripped up, aluminum floor put down, and "The Claw" had to be constructed.  It took an entire week and the hype of it all was pretty exciting.

I have been a U2 fan for most of my life.  I remember listening to U2 with my parents as a young girl and even got to go see their Rattle and Hum movie with my mom back in the late 1980's.  I've only been able to see them live only once before, during their Pop Mart tour.  It was a good concert, but it didn't rank as one of the best show's I'd seen.

When it was announced last year that U2 would bring the 360° to Busch Stadium I was ecstatic!  I bought tickets the day they went on sale, heck, the minute they went on sale!  Then the waiting began.  I'd never bought tickets to a concert 8 months in advance, and it felt a bit silly at the time.  However, I knew if I didn't get to this show, I would regret it later.  I surprised Chris with the tickets at Christmas, although I'm pretty sure he had an idea...

As the big day approached, so did my excitement.  Chris was able to score a room at the Hilton Ballpark which meant we could really enjoy ourselves and not have to worry about driving home and dealing with all the traffic.  The hotel was "sold out" but because of Chris's Diamond status with Hilton, we got a room.  One of the great perks of having a husband that travels a lot!  The show was sold out with over 52,000 people expected to attend, so I had a feeling navigating Downtown traffic after the show would be a nightmare.  My friend Candace confirmed that it indeed was as it took her quite some time to make it home that night.  But back to the awesomeness of the concert...

Friends for nearly 20 years!
We started out the night having dinner with our great friends, James and Kat.  Now that I think about it, it was quite fitting that we shared the night with them.  They were the best man and maid of honor at our wedding and Chris and I's first dance was to "With or Without You."  So, it was quite a full circle experience!  After a tasty dinner at J Buck's, we headed to the stadium.  We could hear Interpol playing their opening set as we walked the 3 blocks to Busch.  Seeing 'The Claw" upon our arrival was pretty spectacular.

The Claw

At about 9:15 pm, the lights in the stadium went off and "The Claw" lit up.  It was spectacular!  They started the show with "Even Better than the Real Thing" from Achtung Baby.  They went right into "The Fly" and "Mysterious Ways."  Bono started off conversing with the audience and brought up their first time in St. Louis.  It was in 1981 at Graham Chapel.  To see how far they've come is amazing!  Some of the other songs played:  "I Will Follow", "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "Pride" and "Boots."  I have to admit "Boots" is much better live than on the CD.  "Beautiful Day" was spectacular.  Commander Mark Kelly shared a personal message with us from the International Space Station as the opening of the song.

The view from our seats

The highlight of the show for me was "City of Blinding Lights" which went right into "Vertigo" and a remix of "I'll Go Crazy."  The only thing that could have been sweeter is if they would have played "Miracle Drug" but I knew that was a stretch.  The only song I was hoping to hear but didn't was "Magnificent," but the show was so amazing it didn't really matter in the end.

The encore was absolutely amazing.  The lead in to the "Where the Streets Have No Name" was a cover of "Hallelujah."  Of course "With or Without You" was in the encore and the finale of "Moment of Surrender" was dedicated to the people of Joplin.  

Bono did an amazing job of bringing a local touch to the concert and the interaction the band had with the audience was fantastic.  Even though the show was in a huge stadium, it had an intimate feel to it.  Of course Bono used his platform to remind us of great suffering in the world and he reminded me to be more thankful of the freedom we have living in America.  

The concert was absolutely epic.  It is the best live show I've ever been to.  The sound quality was amazing, the visual effects breath taking and the energy was so powerful.  U2 is definitely a band that can perform live.  Bono is 51 years old and has so much energy I'm jealous.  The Edge is still so sexy and probably one of the best guitar players of all times.  U2 is a band that spans several generations of fans and their sound will never go out of style.  The only drawback to the night was that it was SO good.  The bar has been set for all future concerts I attend, that's for sure.  Thanks for a wonderful night U2 one I surely will never forget!


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