Friday, October 2, 2009

U2 360 Tour - Washington DC - FedEx Field - 09-29-2009

I went to the U2 360 Tour concert on Tuesday night with Muse as the opening act. I'm not much of a U2 fan and was more looking forward to seeing Muse, but I've heard that the U2 concerts are an "experience" and if you get a chance to go, you should go.

I was amazed how easy it was to park and get into the stadium; even traffic on the DC beltway wasn't all that bad and we got there with plenty of time to spare. I figured that 5:30 on a Tuesday evening would be congested without the 80,000+ people trying to get to the concert. We parked and went to our seats and then others in my group took a lap around the club level (where our seats were) before Muse went on.

The place was relatively empty when the stadium lights cut out and Muse came on stage around 7:30 PM. They opened with Knights of Cydonia and tore through their set list without much of a break between songs. They brought a lot of energy but it didn't seem like a lot of people knew them and were just waiting for U2. I thought they were great and was glad I was there early enough to see the whole set. They played for about 45ish minutes.

The following picture is from a little before U2 went on after the place filled up for the most part (more people showed up and most of the seats except the top few rows of the stadium were filled):

U2 started their performance in much the same way Muse did, shutting off the light in FedEx Field, but they came on stage in a more theatric way introducing each member individually and (from our distance) just appearing on stage. The "360" aspect of the concert was pretty amazing. The video screen wrapped all the way around the stage and would transition from showing the same video to each of the 4 sides to becoming a single video that wrapped all the way around. The screen was also able to expand and take up the entire space from the top of the open area to just over U2's heads or be lowered completely in its more compressed size. It was pretty awesome just to see that, regardless of what music was being played.

Throughout the 2+ hour set (including encores), Bono made sure to bring up his political beliefs whenever there was a break. He did it in more of a "this is what's happening" way than a overly preachy delivery; which was appreciated. It actually flowed pretty well with their songs and the overall atmosphere of the event.

U2 is a pretty remarkable band. After attending this show, I'm still not going to go out and buy any of their music, and I'm still going to change the radio station whenever one of their songs comes on, but I am going to remember this as one of the best concert experiences I've had and also realize that this band is so ingrained in our culture (not what I want to use, but it kinda fits) that I was able to sing (or at least pretend to) the words to about 80% of the songs even though I have never actively played a U2 song in my life.

Oh, and don't get me started on the 150 foot tall space ship they use as their stage. It was something I would expect to see at Universal Studios in Orlando as a ride or attraction of some sort. The light show and the way the band interacted with the field crowd on the outer rings made me wish I was passionate about U2 and willing to stand down there for 4 hours so I could be right up front.

On a side note: as we were leaving the parking lot, we saw a girl get hit by a car. I drove after the guy trying to get his tag and I was stopped by one of the cops directing traffic. I told him what happened and another officer got in his car and went after. The girl was OK (at least to our knowledge) and I gave them my info in case they needed someone to testify or something. About a 1/4 mile down the road (once we got back on our way), the guy was pulled over and out of his car with a bunch of cops around him. Maybe this is the Karma I have and why I haven't had to do jury duty when all of my friends that are younger than me have; score one for civic duty.

No comments: