Monday, July 18, 2011

U2 360 Tour at Busch Stadium, 7/17/11: Review, Photos and Setlist

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2011 at 11:39 AM

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  • Jason Stoff

The world's strife, painted in the broadest of possible strokes, was slathered throughout the set. The accompanying animation on the screen for "Miss Sarajevo" was cute toddler sketches of people, and of life, that gradually turned to fighter planes and burning buildings and actual bleeding, mangled bodies, still drawn in a child's hand. It's pure pandering, a cheap grab at emotion, just one of several examples of the grating simplicity of U2's global sympathy. Still, it is hard to completely fault someone for caring, and Bono's humanitarianism has clearly done good things for some people.

There are little droplets of self-awareness amidst all this heart-string-yanking: "As for me," said Bono at one point, "I'm a man of simple means: 200 trucks, 400 tons of equipment..."

For an encore, the video screen used cartoons to construct a rudimentary backstory: Some aliens are riding their UFO home after the show, complaining about their feet and rehashing the awesome, when a giant object hums immediately overhead. (We recognize it as the Claw -- somehow the aliens, who have just attended this very concert, do not.) There is a somewhat awkward attempt to transpose the video screen from the backdrop of the story to an actual piece of the space-ship (the Claw) which is now "landing" in Busch Stadium. A red target appears and we are supposed to imagine it is a steering wheel (?) and then: Bono flies in on a cable with the steering wheel attached to the bottom. And it becomes clear that it is a light-up microphone, and he is wearing a black jacket with inch-long metal studs that shoot out beams of red light. Are you following all this?

The band launches into "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me," and it happens for the eighth or ninth time -- this song is so good, so perfect for this setting, that we forgive the excess. Or really: U2 justifies the excess. "With Or Without You" follows and we are all 50,000+ in a Kumbaya drum-circle. It ends, somewhat anti-climactically, with "Moment of Surrender" and we all make our exodus to the streets. The hum of chatter is nearly unanimous: What a show.

  • Tickets? We don't need no stinkin' tickets. Photo by Jason Stoff

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: Proud devotee of The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby, casual listener to most of the rest. I'd be lying if I said the sight of that stage didn't raise my heart rate a little.

By the way: The heat, widely billed as a threat to drop GA ticket holders en masse, wound up being little more than a severe discomfort. A few people had to be carried off, but that will happen. It's July in St. Louis, after all.

Overheard: The perils of crowds large enough that everyone knows they'll never see any of these people again: In line at the ATM, the asshole behind us heckled those taking even a moment longer than he deemed necessary, even clapping one poor woman saddled with a handful of debit cards off as she escaped the scene.


Even Better Than The Real Thing The Fly Mysterious Ways Until The End Of The World I Will Follow Get On Your Boots I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For into Many Rivers To Cross Stay (Faraway, So Close!) Beautiful Day into Space Oddity Elevation Pride (In The Name Of Love) Miss Sarajevo Zooropa City Of Blinding Lights Vertigo I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight Sunday Bloody Sunday Scarlet Walk On One Hallelujah into Where The Streets Have No Name


Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me With Or Without You Moment of Surrender

Click here for a full slideshow of U2 at Busch Stadium

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