Monday, July 18, 2011
U2 360 Tour
Last week, I finally got to see U2 in concert! It was an exciting experience, to say the least. U2 is a hugely popular band with multi-generational appeal, and this concert drew everyone from tweens and teens to their parents and probably even grandparents. (Cool, hip grannies, of course.)
This stop on U2’s 360 tour was, without a doubt, the largest concert I had ever been to. The venue, the Lincoln Financial Field, is a football stadium, home to the Philadelphia Eagles (Boo! Go Giants!), that seats 67,594 people. This bests Madison Square Garden, which, at most, seats 19,763. So this wasn’t exactly an intimate show.
Which I suppose is okay because Bono (a.k.a. Paul Hewson), the Edge (a.k.a. David Evans), Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton know how to put on a show. But you know what, that was something that actually struck me as wonderfully quaint: It’s just the four of them up there. Obviously there are tons of people backstage helping to make the show happen, but it’s just the four of them making that music. For over 20 years. There’s something really magical about that.
The stage is topped by a huge spaceship structure, and with all the spectacle of the show, I kept waiting for Julie Taymor to come in and claim credit. Of course, that didn’t happen, but I was reminded of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark throughout the concert, particularly when U2 played their early 90s hit, “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me.”
When they played that song, it was probably the first time I had heard it since it was released 15-ish years ago. So I didn’t instantly recognize the song, but I did recognize the hook – because it’s Spidey’s theme! It seems (at least to my ear) that Spider-Man’s leitmotif, which is also the basis for Peter Parker’s big number, “The Boy Falls From the Sky,” uses a sample from U2’s own “Hold Me.” Adding to the connection, during the song, Bono swung around on a mic-wheel that was suspended from the top of the “spaceship.” And here’s another superhero connection: “Hold Me” was featured (and maybe written for?) a Batman movie, Batman Forever. (That’s the Val Kilmer Batman, with Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face and Jim Carrey as the Riddler.) So really, I couldn’t help but think of our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
But perhaps the best part of the show was when Bono sang a verse of Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah.” Bono may be one of the few people who can match the vocal emotion of Buckley, and when he played this, the boisterous crowd went silent in awe. I love rock and roll!
There are a few more stops left on the 360 tour. Visit U2.com for details.