U2 offers a nostalgic set list, lights up St. Louis
St. Louis had U2 fever last night. The brutally hot July temperatures didn't scare away loyal local fans from setting up camp downtown in the morning to wait in line to mark their spot on the floor to see the biggest, most ostentatious show to stop in the city this year - possibly ever.
All day my Facebook and Twitter feeds overflowed with reports and pictures from the 360° World Tour stop. The biggest tour in recorded history rolled into the Gateway City, tore up the turf at Busch Stadium (crews took a week to set up the massive stage), and readied the stage for one of the most anticipated shows in years.
While the contributors here at 3 Minute Record have always been much bigger fans of the American band R.E.M. (a small little band from Athens, GA - you might have heard of them), the fact that when one of the world's biggest bands hits town with the largest stage and daily costs running at three-quarters of a million dollars per day maybe our little corner of the internet may have something to report even though none of us shelled out the big money to actually go see the show.
Over the years Bono has taken his lead singer role as part messiah, part prophet in stride taking a larger political stance and capitalizing on opportunities to hobnob with world leaders discussing issues on a grand scale. As the band's stature has grown around the world U2 seems like a soccer team with a huge worldwide following while R.E.M. feels like a baseball team with a big following and famous members, but without the huge head and it's still enjoyable that way. While over the years Bono evangelized, Michael Stipe pushed the political views of his band in his quiet way; not as hard and with much less Hollywood showmanship. Though, one thing that U2 has always done well is drum up anticipation and St. Louis brimmed with excitement prior to the show according to my water cooler pass through Facebook this morning it doesn't seem to be diminishing anytime soon.
Just browsing the set list from last night, U2 is firmly entrenched in 1990s nostalgia as their album Achtung Baby turns 20 years old this year and a remaster of the album is likely to follow the tour this fall. Some St. Louisians may remember the accompanying Zoo TV tour played the old Busch Stadium on September 20, 1992 (with openers Big Audio Dynamite II, and Public Enemy). Last night the band opened with four songs from the early '90s era and later adding more songs from their 1993 follow-up Zooropa even including the mid-decade rarity "Miss Sarajevo" and "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" from the Batman Forever soundtrack. Rounding out the set list, the band mixed in older hits from the '80's and from the last couple of studio albums playing songs for all ages of their fan base.
Playing shows every 3 to 4 days seems almost like a hockey or football schedule where the players take a while to get in a steady groove, but for a band firmly in middle age (Bono and Clayton are both 51 while The Edge and Mullen are 49) maybe it's the perfect schedule. However, when your band has outgrown arenas for large-scale stadiums the only way to go is back down - unless U2 stole a few pages from The Rolling Stones playbook.
Even though St. Louis waited until the 7th leg of the tour with four more stops to go to get the show its nice that the Cardinals/Busch Stadium management can secure such an act for the ballyard. Lucky for the crew working on the stage though that the Cardinals haven't secured the financing for Ballpark Village, still an empty lot five years after the stadium opened, otherwise all those trucks would have had to find someplace else to park a little farther away.
I asked a few friends to send in their thoughts about the show and here's what I received -
"U2 had a spectacular, mind-blowing, electronic, outer space themed stage that had Bono running circles and belting out tunes from 1982 to present. Bono looked hot in black jeans & his signature shades. There was plenty of world peace stuff , save the Burmese political prisoners, and it only takes One to make a difference. This old lady was dancing and singing for 2 and a half hours! Yeah...it was that terrific! If you missed it, well, I am sorry for you. Bono and crew still has it, and has it good! Booyah! Now, after sweating my butt off and not regretting it a bit, I am off to dream of lullabies sung by an angel...Bono." - Kim Graham
Crews now have just eight days to get the Busch Stadium playing surface back in shape for the Cardinals to play baseball. At least the downtown drinking establishments received a little stimulus after the show as giddy fans surely felt the need to imbibe rather than go home. Let's hope that Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. didn't leave anything in the outfield for Holliday, Rasmus and Berkman to trip over. That's just what this baseball city doesn't need.
Feel free to leave your comments and thoughts about the show below
U2 Main Set:
Even Better Than The Real Thing
Until the End of the World
I Will Follow
Get On Your Boots
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For- Many Rivers to Cross
Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
Beautiful Day - Space Oddity
Elevation Pride (In The Name Of Love)
City of Blinding Lights
I'll Go Crazy (remix) - Discotheque - Life During Wartime - Psycho Killer
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Hallelujah - Where the Streets Have No Name
Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me
With or Without You
Moment of Surrender