Wednesday, 26 August 2009

U2 360 Ramblings.....

It's been over a week now since my last U2 360 show and I've had time to think back to the gigs, and look at them a bit more objectively than when I was in the midst of it all. I'm not going to go it too deeply (U2 gets analysed to death sometimes) but I'll just write about my personal feelings about the whole experience.

Overall I would say this is a great tour, though not truly 360 degrees, they would have to be in the centre of the stadiums to achieve that and boy that would be brilliant! The claw is best viewed from a distance, you missed lot of the lighting effects if you were close to it and sometimes they are really beautiful. Willie really is a genius with his lighting effects. U2 don't really need anything like the claw, the music speaks for itself, but these days concerts tend to need to be theatrical, the casual concert goer wants spectacle as well as good music and the claw certainly was stunning.

At present I feel they do not utilise the walkway enough, in fact in the early shows if you were not in the inner circle it felt almost like a barrier as it was used so little. But gradually they are using it more and that's something they need to keep working on, it's a large area to cover but between them they could manage it. Doing a set of songs there would be nice. Also they, and especially Bono, needs to give equal "viewing" to people on all sides, sometimes he favours one side far too much.

The band were very tight musically and Bono's voice fabulously strong, I love the way his voice sounds nowadays, it has matured well (like the man himself!). His energy simply amazing, I wish I had a quarter of it LOL!

No one was taken up on stage in any of the shows I saw, though I know it has happened occasionally on this tour. I missed that because it was always symbolic, Bono had each one of us on stage with him in that person. Maybe the band felt that was becoming a cliche or something, but for fans like me it is an integral part of what U2 are all about and was missed.

The repeated theme of the show is time, clocks in various forms appear on the video screens throughout the gig, even the robotic-voiced poem prior to Ultraviolet is called Stop All The Clocks.... Time has been mentioned a lot in their most recent lyrics too. Maybe it's inevitable that when the band is approaching 50, a major point in anyones life, their thoughts would turn to getting older, change, endings, new beginnings, different pathways. It's interesting for fans like me who are a similar age and are going through a lot of the life changes the band are, we can definitely relate to it.

Each show was different, but two stood out for me. The first Dublin one for the sheer, raw emotion. The crowd showed their love for the local lads and Bono was almost bursting with emotion at being back home. It created a powerful and electric atmosphere.

The second show was Wembley 2, which is without doubt my favourite show of the six I saw. It was one of those special u2 shows that takes you to another place. There was lots of fun and chat, lots of emotion and wave upon wave of energy sweeping back and forth between the band and audience. It was one of those emotional roller coaster gigs, that leaves you stunned at the end - we all could not talk for a while afterwards, you know it's a special show when that happens!

The best sound was in Nice, it was crystal clear there. I think that is because it was a stadium with a low tier of seats and so sound was able to drift away and not reverberate back from the building. The sound wasn't bad for any of the gigs I was at (maybe lucky in where I was) but in some places there was a slight echo.

Favourite songs? Simply love No Line On The Horizon, especially the bit when they all crash in at "Traffic cop"! I love the abandon of that song, there's a rawness about it that I always love in U2's music.

The other new song I love, grew to love, was Crazy. Initially I wasn't sure about the remix version but each time I heard it I loved it more and more. To me it seems like Bono is gradually creating a character in this song, a mad, almost out of control person, sleazy, dangerous to know. He's getting badder and badder.... maybe he'll have eyeliner on in the US? Love the bit where he screams, "RIOT!"

It's heaven to hear Bad again, what more can I say? Good to hear Ultraviolet too, not too sure about the "suit of lights" though.

I miss all the madness, the gigs, travelling, friends, pizza at 2am, going to bed at 5am, up at noon, queues a mile long, being with people who know what you mean when you say, "It's not a hill it's a mountain." But, hopefully, we'll be lucky enough to do it all again next year - just get that album out on time boys!


  1. QOTD I miss all the madness, the gigs, travelling, friends, pizza at 2am, going to bed at 5am, up at noon, queues a mile long, being with people who know what you mean when you say, "It's not a hill it's a mountain."

    great post - thanks for your thoughts on the trip. and what a trip! hope normal life isn't too much of a letdown this week.

  2. Thanks Captain! Well, you have to get back to normal life sometime. But hey, next year we might be able to do it all over again. Think I need to start work again to pay for it though LOL!