Dazzling with lights and scope, U2 transforms St. Louis [Live Review]
Editor's note-- On our Facebook page we asked if anyone would like to submit a review for the U2 show last night in St. Louis. Our good friend Michael Steinmann, bassist for Edwardsville based band Belleview, stepped up to the plate. Read his review below: A week after its transformation began, Busch Stadium proved to be the perfect backdrop for U2’s 360° tour.
In its five-year existence, I’ve probably seen upwards of 80 baseball games at the stadium, but this was my first concert in the venue. I must admit, at first it was strange seeing the alien structure perched in center field, but it didn’t take long to sink in that this was probably the most impressive temporary structure that I’ve seen.
If you haven’t seen the U2 360 stage, I’ll spare you the details and refer you to (pics / links). As stunning as the ‘claw’ structure was, the 360 LED video display impressed me the most. It was difficult to tell where one side of the video display ended, and the other began and pretty much guaranteed anyone in attendance, or for that matter, anyone in a downtown high-rise, could visually keep up with the live action.
Interpol opened things off as the sun was setting, but it was still pretty steamy down on the floor. While the conditions were warm, the evening did not seem as bad as it was made out to be earlier in the day. The occasional breeze was just enough to keep things tolerable. When Interpol took the stage I was a bit concerned about the acoustics. As one would expect with any stadium show, there was a lot of reverb with the delay from the stage mix to the seats. To my relief, this was rectified about 3 songs into the Interpol set and from then on out the sound was unbelievable.
With an hour wait after the finish of the Interpol set, U2 finally took to the stage just after 9 o’clock. Ten years earlier I saw them last on their Elevation tour. That show was in November of 2001 and for me the concert will always resonate due to its proximity with 9/11. Much of the show that night was dedicated to those lost on that fateful day.
Last night, the band entered on foot as David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” played over the loudspeakers, a theme which would recur many times over the course of the show. Once the band hit the stage, it was business as usual. The Edge’s guitar sound was huge and with a 3.5 million watts system, I could hear why. Bono, the consummate showman, hit his marks, as usual. Every stop seemingly a chance to strike that perfect lead singer pose displayed on the video screen for all to see. The outer ring of the stage was accessible by two large metal bridges which The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton, and Bono utilized frequently. Midway through the set, Larry Mullen, Jr. even took a tour of the out ring playing a bongo on “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight.”
For me, highlights of the night included Bono reflecting on a show they played in St. Louis 30 years ago at Graham Chapel on the campus of Washington University. He pulled out a set list and read it aloud to the crowd. Most were songs not recognizable to casual fans of the band, with an encore consisting of songs they played earlier in the set in addition to “A Day Without Me” which was their “big hit." Bono poked fun at himself again later stating his needs were that of a simple man, “Just give me 200 trucks, 400 tons of equipment and 56,000 people and I feel great.”
Though I’ve been a fan of U2 since the mid-'80s, I’d still call myself a casual fan of the band, most times enjoying them from a distance. Unlike the more stripped-down Elevation tour, this tour was for the masses. Loud, large, and doing what U2 does best; entertaining a large crowd with their hits, three decades strong. Throughout the show, I got the feeling that the band weren’t necessarily tired, but instead reflecting on their past and a tour that’s spanned seven legs, 100+ shows spanning over two years. With only four tour dates left, I’m sure that the home stretch was on their mind. The crowd seemed to enjoy themselves, and even though it was a warm night, it didn’t seem like that affected the more than 50,000 that sang along with most of the two-hour and 15 minute set. I must say, that I enjoyed the show thoroughly and was not disappointed by the band’s performance and the whole spectacle of the show. The scope of the stadium along with the stage was amazing to see and when the largest grossing tour of all time comes to town, I would have felt like I missed out if I didn’t attend.
U2 set list - Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO - 7/17/2011
1. Even Better Than The Real Thing
2. The Fly
3. Mysterious Ways
4. Until The End Of The World
5. I Will Follow
6. Get On Your Boots
7. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / Many Rivers To Cross (snippet)
8. Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
9. Beautiful Day / Space Oddity (snippet)
10. Elevation 11. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
12. Miss Sarajevo
14. City Of Blinding Lights
16. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
17. Sunday Bloody Sunday
19. Walk On
21. Hallelujah (snippet) / Where The Streets Have No Name
22. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
23. With Or Without You
24. Moment of Surrender