Wednesday, May 25, 2011

U2 at Rice-Eccles

It was my first time entering into enemy territory, and happily, it was a very good visit. Forever ago I did a post about must see concerts. At the time, I was only partly sold on going to a U2 concert as being one of the must-see concert experiences, but when I heard that they were doing the 360 tour, I thought it would be worth checking out.

Amy and I started dating, she was down with the idea, and we just planned on showing up to the concert and trying to buy the tickets off of a scalper. Then Bono hurt his back, they postponed the tour, and we had to wait a year.

Then last night finally came. We had the same plan as last year: just show up to the concert and see if we can find tickets cheaply off someone outside the venue. I had been looking at ticket prices on KSL and Craig's List and was pleased to see that so many had been put up for sale. I felt like we could get something for pretty cheap.

We put $100 limit on what we would spend for the both of our tickets. We found a free parking spot a couple of blocks away, and we made our way towards the stadium. I was actually a little surprised that we couldn't find more available. The Fray was playing and the music was pouring out of the stadium, and we were anxious to get inside. At first I thought we'd have to pay at least $50 for decent seats, but then I revised downward based on how many ads I saw online, but with the paucity of scalpers, I revised back upward.

The first pair were going for $100 each for general admission tickets that had $58 printed on them. The next guy was asking $90 for the same ones, and I told him we had $100 total, at which point he screamed at some other guy, and he sold us seats that were straight out from the main stage, just about halfway up - $95 for the pair. At first I was a little disappointed that we couldn't get cheaper, that is, until we ran into a friend of mine (Anna, yup, that one) who paid $100 each for her tickets. Phew! And we were lower and had a better angle on the stage than they did.

They opened with Even Better Than the Real Thing. The stage really was a 360 stage, and they had huge screens above them that went all the way. We later learned those screens expanded downward to fill the huge gap of space from the structure above the stage almost to the stage itself. They had some really impressive visuals, and lights and smoke really made it something spectacular to see.

I was impressed with the range of audience from young to old. I guess I shouldn't have been, but there were lots of kids and lots of adults, and everyone seemed to enjoy it equally. I guess that's the thing about U2 - they have managed to stay relevant for decades, and not just in the picture, but on top of the world for all of that time. They literally have dozens of songs that anyone would recognize, and as you'd expect, they just put on a really good show. They gained popularity in the 80s as a live act, and it shows. They're great.

Another thing that surprised me: I was a lot more emotionally affected than I thought I would be. They played Beautiful Day, a song which I don't even really love, but it really got to me. I was just so excited to hear them live, and they really are just so good musically, and great performers.

My favorites:
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday - there was a guy next to us that was obviously a HUGE U2 fan. He went crazy when this song came. I think the song kind of surprised everyone once it started playing. It's just a really cool song.
  • All I Want Is You - I've always just really, really loved this song. Great ballad.
  • Elevation - really got everyone going.
  • Pride (In the Name of Love) - classic!
  • Where the Streets Have No Name - this was the second to last song. I thought they would end with it, but some other random song followed.
  • One - it followed a really moving tribute to the Burmese leader who was released in this last year.
It's just crazy to think how much time that band has spanned, and how many memories everyone has associated with their songs. My earliest U2 memory is of my brother coming home with the CD single for Desire and him playing that over and over again. I grew up listening to Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum.

You know what else is impressive about them? Not only are they not pretentious as could very easily be the case with them, but you really, really, really, really get the sense that they really do try and use their celebrity to further good causes. They are very socially aware, and not about things that are really touchy issues. They support freedom and democracy, and they are wonderful strong advocates for those causes. Going to their concert and hearing them perform and hearing Bono advocate their causes, it's just really inspiring. It was all done in a really tasteful way, and it really felt like a lesson on some important world causes.

It was just a really cool experience. One of the best concerts I've ever been to, and one of those bands that I think everybody should see in their lifetimes. I know not everyone feels this way, but there are artists that you just really need to see do their thing live. It would have been cool to see Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. Everyone should have seen Michael Jordan play basketball. I got see U2 sing With or Without you, and it's an experience I won't soon forget.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Dang it... Chris and I were supposed to be at that concert!! We had tickets for the first one but when they rescheduled we had to sell them. You got them for a great price!! Someday we'll go! Sounds like it was great!