Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Now that I've slept a few more hours, I thought I would say a bit more on the U2 concert; a few things worth mentioning that I overlooked (and a few things that could probably go unmentioned without being missed but I'll mention them anyway).
The set. I've seen some elaborate sets in my concert going career. I can't even begin to fathom how this particular set gets put up and taken down and moved from stadium to stadium – it is enormous, elaborate, mesmerizing, and seemingly integral part of the show. While I am confident that this band can do the barebones, no set, in your face show and let their talent and the music do all of the talking – as Bono described, and I paraphrase, "the design of this set has a purpose to bring the band and the audience closer together." As I mentioned in the last post, Bono has mastered the art of incorporating these multimedia elements and knows just how to use the set as a tool such that the set achieves its primary purpose and doesn't end up being a giant point of wonder. I had this grand vision (not to be confused with a hallucination) of the set, which is supposed to be a space ship, actually taking off after the show and getting to the next city on the tour on its own.
Politics, Religion, and Her (a title of a Sammy Kershaw album but an adequate opening to this paragraph). U2's music has always come with a message rooted in Bono's political and religious beliefs. One of Bono's skills, in my opinion, is to effectively express his point of view without being pompous, pretentious, or overbearing. I know there are some people who just hate the idea of mixing music with these sorts of messages and if that is the case with you, don't go see U2 and definitely don't go see Bruce Springsteen (the greatest live performer in performance history) – buy the CD's and be done with it, then you'll have nothing to complain about (though you'll consistently miss something special).
Oh, the Her part…what is that all about? I neglected to address the "Her" in the title of the previous paragraph so I will accomplish that here in this one. Folks, let's not forget this is Rock and Roll if Bono (along with the other guys in the band) is a bona fide rock star. As such, there was a point in the show where Bono cleverly brought a lady from the crown on stage with him to participate in the show and leave her with a night to remember in her fantasies while adding to the mystique of a guy named Paul Hewson, but goes by Bono (Vox). As Bono said, "there are advantages to being in my line of work." Let us not all forget that being in his line of work has both advantages and responsibilities, clearly, Mr. Hewson (I wonder how often he is referred to that way) wants us all to know he has a handle on both.
There's not much more I can say about the show specifically other than reiterating how amazing it was and how extraordinary this band is as a live act. After the show ended, things got pretty ugly as Gillette Stadium (and the entire Patriot Place complex) was poorly designed from a city planning perspective. Either payola on the Kraft bunch or stupid oversights on the town and state planning commission led to an oversight about how the complex would affect infrastructure; particularly traffic. I sat in my car for two full hours before even starting the car, much less any movement taking place. Once moving, the three short mile trek up route 1 to get me to a back road out of town took another hour and a half. U2 left the stage at about ten minutes before eleven and I didn't get home until three in the morning (I only live about 40 miles from the stadium). Other than the negatives – I'll just remember the good stuff…if you have a chance to see U2 for the first time (or any time), go for it.