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September 30, 2009

Concert review: U2 at FedEx Field

u2, bono Subtlety has never been one of U2's strong points.

Dublin's finest have almost always been about big -- from their catalog of arena anthems to their unabashed pleas for world peace. Does U2's 360 Degrees tour, which made a stop at FedEx Field last night, have one of the biggest stage setups in the history of live music? Of course it does.

In fact, if you ask lead singer Bono, the foursome has transcended band status altogether.

"The nation state that is U2 is a global force -- yet, a democracy," he told the crowd last night.

Sure, sure, Bono. Now you put those light purple shades back on and sing us another song. Because when U2 wants to rock, U2 rocks. "Beautiful Day" was about as epic as epic gets -- except, of course, until they played the even bigger, bolder "Where The Streets Have No Name."

For better or worse, the show itself was, at times, so excessive it was surreal ...

The production, which reportedly cost a whopping $40 million and takes roadies three days to break down, transport and set up again, was one of the wildest things I've ever seen at a show.

The round stage sat underneath this giant, futuristic, four-pronged claw. Directly above the stage was a circular video screen which expanded vertically and contracted again several times over the course of the night. A couple mechanized bridges let the band members walk out to a narrow outer platform that ringed the stage.

u2, the edgeThere was Bono, clad in all black, preening and preaching about global democracy and the fight against AIDs while standing in the middle of this evil-looking artifice. All the posturing and technological wizardry aside, U2 put on one of the best rock shows you'll see today.

The genius of The Edge is that even though he blankets his guitar work in reverb, echo and delay, he still sounds organic. Whether plucked or strummed, his notes rang out and filled FedEx Field like few guitarists could.

U2's two-and-a-half hour show was heavy on songs from their latest album, "No Line on the Horizon," which is one of their least commercially successful efforts yet. Though the single "Get On Your Boots" is far from being one of U2's best, live, it had spunk. And "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" worked much better recast as a disco tune.

The night's most poignant moments came when the band dipped a little deeper into its songbook. Drummer Larry Mullen Jr.'s snare cracked like gunshots on "Sunday Bloody Sunday," and bassist Adam Clayton's notes were thick and fuzzy on "New Years Day."

Here's a technical question: When the video screen crept downward to form a cylinder just a few feet above the band members' heads, could the folks on the top tiers see the musicians?

Bono tossed out teases of songs such as "Blackbird" and "Stand By Me" sporadically through the set, and sang a verse of "Amazing Grace" near the end of the show.

U2's performance ended with not one but two encores, in which Bono emerged wearing a jacket that emitted miniature laser-like beams of red light, and sang into a glowing microphone that hung from the rafters. He spoke-sang his way through most of "With or Without You," and closed out the night with the slow ballad "Moment of Surrender." That last song drug on for too long -- a poor choice to wrap up an otherwise bombastic show.

"Don't forget about us, now," Bono asked the crowd near the end of the night.

Don't worry, Bono. We won't.

(AP photos)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:06 AM | | Comments (72)
Categories: Concert reviews


When the screen dropped down we could see just as fine as before, but we had a good angle, despite being up high we were at the far end of the field and could see clearly

Another fantastic show! I always try to get into the stadium early to see the reactions on peoples faces when they see how big their stage rig is. "Amazing Grace" as the lead in to "Where the Streets have no Name" was incredible. Same with the snippet of "Blackbird" at the end of "Beautiful Day". Going to see them 1 more time on this tour, but the rumor is they'll be back at it in the late Spring/early Summer.

We could see most of the band when the screen dropped down, but they were partially blocked. Still, it was amazing. So very worth it.

This was a terribly overrated concert. Since when was wearing christmas lights on your leather jacket and swinging around on a hanging microphone considered cool? I could care less about what Bono thinks about AIDS, hungry children, democracy, and the imprisonment of Suu-kyi. Yes hungry children are a problem, and so is AIDS...thank you Bono for that inspiring message.

Concert stunk...please stick to pre Achtung Baby. Everything after that album blows.

The set looked like something from War of the Worlds.

That metro ride home was awful. Great preperation WMATA.

Um, wow.

I don't think it was a cheap show, ticket-wise, so if you don't like anything Achtung Baby, why would you even bother to go to a concert for their FIFTH album after that one?!?!

And was Bono really giving his opinion about AIDS and hungry children? Not really: He was talking about all the good work that's been done by the One Foundation and the Red campaign and their supporters, etc. Bono is an activist. I really can't believe that someone would expect to go to one of his shows and not expect to hear mention of that stuff. It's part of what makes them such an awesome band and gives their songs deeper context.

Obviously, I am a huge U2 fan, and I thought the concert was amazing, though maybe not the best U2 show I've been to. I totally agree with Sam on "I'll go crazy..." and "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

It's pretty much known that U2 is going to play two "encores" so for the people who left before the first one, I was really wondering, did you not think there was going to be an encore? were you that worried about traffic? Or did you just hate the show that much?

" U2 put on one of the best rock shows you'll see today" -- errr, yeah, right. although I am a big fan of U2, seeing them live yesterday for the first time was very disappointing: if you sat anywhere above the ground level, the echo was so bad, you could hardly tell what Bono was saying/singing. Not to be misunderstood -- the U2 was great, the sound was absolutely aweful. I ended up leaving the concert after 45 mins, and waiting for the metro for another half an hour (see above on wmata).

The seating in the round concept added a new twist to their always interesting stage setup. However, they rarely worked the back half of the stage. Which was fine since it did sit mostly at one end of the field.

I'm a HUGE U2 fan and can say this show was good, not great. They seem to try and one-up themselves each time out. My suggestion? Their next tour should be smaller clubs (9:30 club size) played for several days with no over-the-top production. U2 stripped down. I dare them to.

i think political talk should be left for political venues. you wouldn't want to go to a restaurant and have your waiter or the head chef come to your table and tell you how great democracy is, or that suu kyi's imprisonment is bad, or that they hate or love george bush.

the stage was impressive, but fedex field was a dump and it was poorly run (not u2's fault). the setlist was mediocre, the sound echoed too much (not u2's fault).

All in all, for what is considered a legendary band I was pretty disappointed. Just my opinion. I'm sure people had a great time but everyone has different likes and dislikes. Nothing wrong that. Next time I will probably pass.

That was NOT a 360 show, 180 maybe. I had tickets 10 rows back in the corner end zone and thought they would be awesome. Would have rather been in the upper deck and facing them. I've seen 6 consecutive tours and this was my least favorite and a huge let down from the show at the Verizon Center 3 1/2 years ago.

I don't think that human rights issues are "political talk." Two different things. Bono is a human rights activist, so equating him mentioning the work that's been done on these issues to a waiter spouting off his or her opinions is not at all a fair comparison.

I totally understand that people might not *want* to hear about that stuff at a concert, but, come on, it's U2! Does anyone really think it's NOT going to be mentioned?

For me, their social conscience is part of what sets the band apart from others. Maybe for you, when Bono starts talking, that means it's time to get more beer.

We couldn't see the musicians when the screen was all the way down. It was still such a beautiful effect that it didn't detract from the experience.

It was an incredible show. Absolutely incredible. And to Bob, who complained they should stuck to pre-Achtung Baby- stay home and listen to the radio. Any thinking U2 fan doesn't go to see them to hear their commercial hits. Its an experience of joy, hope and celebrating the global community.

Besides the crazy drunk people around me (including the balding man that wet his pants.... *really*!?!?), the show was great. I think that the setlist was a great mix of the old and new (though they could've used a couple more of their older stuff). In reality, most bands will do way too many new stuff, and not enough of their old. U2 keep some of their old stuff.

the jacket thing was also done on SNL this past weekend. knew that was coming...

As for the social justice issues that Bono raised... yeah, it's a rock show, but it's U2. if you didn't expect to hear any of it, you don't know U2.

My biggest complaint would be that they didn't use the 360 stage enough. the whole concept made it seem like they would be moving around through the whole show, but not really. the moving bridges were more of a distraction than anything. And yeah. if they really wanted to do a 360 show, they should've set up the stage right in the middle of the field. now that could've really utilized the stage.

we got there early and had NO traffic issues in OR out! the sound was excellent, not as much echo as you'd expect in such a big bowl. the song list was just OK, and while I do like their newer music, for an over the top production you need over the top songs, and their latest album features none of that. Overall, a very good show, with a good vibe coming from the crowd too.
And for anyone longing for them to do an "80's and 90's" heavy set-list, go find a U2 tribute band show to go to

The analogy about the waiter is off. U2 writes songs based around their activist leanings. I'd call that the ingredients of the song.

The more accurate waiter analogy would be a waiter describing the ingredients in your dish: "The beef is free-range from Colorado, it's finished with organic asparagus in a red wine reduction." Perhaps you'd prefer your waiter just say "The special of the day is steak." That would be the U2 concert without the dialogue. Sure the songs would be the same (as the steak would taste the same) but you wouldn't exactly know all that you were getting.

Agree with the echoing being terrible and the political talk being overwhelming. Not sure if you can categorize AIDS as human rights issues but either way I paid for music, not an advertisement for Bono's world wide mission.

Setlist was ok. I don't mind the new songs. I enjoyed the stage, the venue was bad, and the crowd was ok. All in all I give it a C+

This being my first U2 show, I thought it was great! Yes, it wasn't really a "360" show, as I saw Bono's backside most of the time, and yeah, I couldn't really see them when the screen dropped down (I was in section 315), but I still think they put on a great show. "Where the Streets Have No Name" was by far the best song of the night!

U2 sounded very good, fresh, and energetic. i was, however, disappointed by the political BS and the contrived stunts (especially when the middle-eastern guy draped in the US flag "rushed" the stage during "sunday bloody sunday"). i appreciate what Bono and Co. are trying to do, but please, keep politics out of my rock-n-roll.

and why doesn't MUSE get any press here? i thought they were the best band in the world BEFORE i saw them last night, and came away from their performance awestruck and terrified. i wonder if the rumors are true, and U2 forced MUSE to play such a short (45-minutes?!) set out of fear that they would otherwise be impossible to follow...

the person sitting next to me had to promise his wife that it would "be over soon" and what appeared to be his teenage daughter was sleeping or attempting to sleep before the first encore even started.

i think the people sitting "behind" the stage got screwed over as the band rarely addressed that side. the whole night was alright. i had fun but wasn't overly impressed. not something i would pay for again but i'm sure others had a great time.

45 minutes is pretty standard for an opening act, but i thought muse outplayed u2 given the fact that it wasn't their stage setup, and played a really short set. they left out their slower, progressive, (citizen erased, butterflies & hurricanes, exogenesis) & stuck with the quick and dirty rock songs.

but it was u2's concert and fans so you can't really complain.

Loved it. LOVED IT!

I thought it was a great show, but I was also stupid enough to push to the front of the stage. Not very comfortable, but a good experience. I was confused by the Sikh that was there to represent the plight of the Iranian people.

Great Show! Missed Pride. Hate Fed Ex Field and will never go there again. They needed to be more prepared with the exodus.

I wasn't much of a U2 fan before last year, but after that concert I want to buy all of their albums. I stood for about six hours, 15 feet from the front of the outer ring stage and was in awe the entire time. I didn't even leave for beer. What a show. Huge, impressive, great, over the top in a great way. I can't stop thinking about it and plan on visiting Dallas for that show as well...

360% stage meant nothing as Bono never came anywhere near the back and our $150 seats. This show sucked and I am not sure if I am as big of a fan as I had been. I couldn't hear or understand any of the political crap that he kept bringing up. Their egos just seem MASSIVE and it is a turn off. Ended the night on the horribly crowded and annoying Metro a mile plus hike from the stadium.

From the upper deck the view or the players was obscured by the lowered screen. I was surprised by the phasing in and out of the sound system. I could not tell if it was the wind or some miss-used effect. It truly marred a very good show by a group that knows how to stage one.

I wasn't at the show and have never been to a concert at that stadium. Anytime I hear about shows there people consistently complain about bad sound and awful traffic situations. I think the promoters need to step up and stop booking shows there.

I'm a Skins fan and went to the first game ever played there and traffic was no worse than any other sporting event. However, that was before Dr Evil (aka Dan Snyder) bought the team/stadium and began cramming thousands of additional seats into the place. Now, even though I'm still a Skins fan, I won't go to games there and will certainly not pay the money for concerts there either.

Come on IMP (or whovever books FedEx Field) - bring the shows to Baltimore! If it's a big act like those that typically play Fed Ex (Stones, U2, McCartney), they'd surely sell out at M&T Stadium where the sound and accessibility would both be superior!!

I couldn't go, but nice review idiot. What about MUSE?

IMO they are a far hotter and better act right now with main stream music.

Up in section 432 I often couldn't tell whether I was hearing echo, if Bono was taking too many 1iberties with the his music or if he was genuinely out of synch with the rest of the band. And I couldn't understand a single spoken word. I don't mind if Bono proselitizes but given that he does and that he's got this fantastic set and lights to support him, I would have expected the show as a whole to flow. Maybe it's because I couldn't understand what he was saying to string the songs together but I don't think it did, except for the middle piece of Vertigo and the songs before and after it. I agree that the middle eastern guy with the flag was cheesy, though his inability to sing along w/Bono did give the appearance of his being genuine and not a plant. Despite these shortcomings I'm glad I went, they're awesome.

It seems like this show differed based on your seating. I was about 50 feet stage center from Bono and I will tell you this, the presentation was phoenomenal. Except for the technical glitch at the begining of the set, the stage and light show was simply one of the best things I've ever seen at a show.

The song selection was weak and I think they could have chose a better song to end the show with. No Pride? Come on.

That said, Bono was great. Well worth the money I paid.

this was a horrible show, poor setlist, I still can't believe the sub par vocals by Bono, with or without you was a whimper surprised no one brought up how bad he sounded, stage set up pretty gigantic but not much utitilization, 180 not 360 we sat in sec116 with a pod leg in front and the band's back, Bono came around 3 times, Edge once and Adam once great 360 indeed.
less politics and pumping up your agenda please, and Lauren that is a Sikh far away from middle east.
I love U2 and been a fan since BOY and seen them so many times this definitely the worst, have to be careful if to go next time. Metro a total disaster.

I,ve seen U2 concerts back into the 80's and this wasn't the best, it wasn't even the biggest (the stage was). But I have to blame FedEx field, that venue sucks for a band, the acoustics are bad and the logistics of getting to and from the place are the worst for any venue I have ever been to. After averaging 6mph for 2 hours on the Beltway it would have been nice if you weren't greeted with a $10 beer! U2 will always make you aware of what they are working on other than the music, it has been like that since day one. Still a great live band and show that has bridged many generations.

Great Show- my 6th time seeing them. Don't forget the Muse who I did not know. Now I do. U2 showed what rock legends the are. No stadium performancer has bene better since RFK- Pink Floyd. U2 took the lead last night

My husband and I are pretty big U2 fans, but we had never seen them in concert before. We were in section 313, behind the stage on the club level but we still thought the show was great. We didn't think the echo was terrible but it did seem like Bono was having some problems with his monitor and maybe that was why he was off at times.

I am really shocked at the people who were upset about Bono talking about his activism--he was man of the year because of his activism, he's started a huge and successful campaign to fight AIDS in Africa, and he regularly meets with world leaders to advocate for things he believes in--how could you expect him NOT to talk about his beliefs? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, because I've heard similar complaints during and after REM and Ani DiFranco shows, but Bono is so OUT THERE with his activism I don't understand how anyone could be surprised.

I think it was an incredible concert with an important message that can inspire all of us to think about the importance of our interactions and our connection as one.

I will say I give the entire experience a solid B. My group planned ahead and drove down early. We pulled into a parking lot and were instructed to go to the back of the lot, closest to the stadium. We rolled left out of the line of cars and came back and parked by the entrance. This made getting out of the lot much easier after the show. It took us about 15 minutes to get back on 95. We had GA floor tickets and we got in early enough to be roughly 30 yards from the stage. We had a great vantage point and it was really unfair for the people who paid for tickets behind the stage.
Muse came on and rocked for 45 straight minutes. I really went to see those guys and they did not disappoint. To see these guys live was great. Opening with "Knights of Cydonia" was phenomenonal. They played mostly their bigger hits with a few new songs and an oldie mixed in for good measure. For anyone that missed them due to being in traffic or on the Metro, I recommend picking up the live concert DVD/CD "H.A.A.R.P". It's amazing.
As far as U2 goes, I wouldn't say it was a true 360 degree show. They spent most of the time facing my side of the audience. I thought the sound was pretty solid and the stage and video display was impressive. I could've done without the political posturing and brown nosing but I expected nothing less from Bono.

Hightlights for me included:

"City of Blinding Lights"
"Ultraviolet" It might be my favorite U2 song.
"Where the Streets Have No Name" I was waiting for the Ravens to run out onto Fexd Ex Field.
"Sunday Bloody Sunday"
"Beautiful Day"


not one song from "Rattle and Hum"
No "Pride"
I think there would've been a whole lot more happy fans if they would've replaced that last song with "Pride"

To the people complaining, I think with a little more planning and buying better tickets, you would've had a better experience.

My first U2 concert (though I've been a fan for a while now) and I thought it was awesome. Loved the set list, good combination of new and old, though I too was slightly disappointed about the omission of Pride.

I could have done without the shout outs to certain American political figures. I don't mind that U2 talks about AIDS, the Burmese ruler who has been under house arrest for 18 years, and global debt relief. Those issues transcend partisan politics. But leave the partisanship out of it. And if you didn't want to hear that stuff at all, then you should have stayed home. U2 is known for its advocacy of human rights issues, so it should have been expected that Bono would bring it up. At least they're not singing about getting laid, drunk, high or arrested, but rather have a message behind their music.

I felt for all the folks stuck in traffic leaving the parking lots. I took Metro and got lost finding it from the stadium, so I'd suggest that the Redskins post signs in or around the stadium indicating how to get to Metro. If not for a PG Co police officer my friends and I would have wandered for an hour and probably missed the last subway train (we caught one of the last ones to New Carrolton). And so what that you had walk a mile to get to the station. It's EXERCISE. There are too many lazy, out of shape people in this country as it is. And at least it wasn't raining.

Finally, I'd never heard Muse before and thought they were awesome. People sitting behind me hated them and thought they were a "charity" act, but I loved them. Will be looking into buying some of their music soon.

It never ceases to amaze me when people go to a concert put on by a band like U2 that has been putting out music for over twenty years, and they're disappointed when the band doesn't perform the ten songs they actually know. There were 80,000 people there last night and your upset Bono didn't send you an email the day before and ask what you wanted U2 to play... just for you?

Bands usually tour on a new album, that's the whole point. You know... selling albums. Their record label isn't going to foot a chunk of the bill for them not to promote their new work and play just what you want to hear. Where have you people been? Frankly, bands like their new stuff (duh, it’s their creation) and want to play it. Its only fan friendly super acts like U2 and Springsteen that have the power and fan sensitivity to mix in a heavy dose of old stuff.

In my mind, the great thing about a live show is not that the band plays what you like already, but turns you on to songs that you don't appreciate before you hear them live or don't know well before hand.

If you going to be disappointed if a band doesn’t play your personal set list, don’t waste your money on concert tickets. If you go with an open mind, you will almost always walk away humming a new tune.

For every one complaining about the political banter - you fail to mention the MULTIPLE times Bono gave shout outs to the United States, the concept of the United States, the Nation's Capital, the Bush administration, and Bush's lead in AIDS drugs in Africa. What, you're pissed because he flattered Nancy Pelosi, too? It's Bono, a rock star who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. If you expected something else, you were pretty damned clueless, weren't you?

i don't think people were SURPRISED by the fact that bono was spouting political stuff, but that doesn't mean either way that it was welcome.

i also don't think people (unless it was your first concert) were surprised that they played new stuff. i think with a band thats been around forever its impossible to please everyone. asking if you wanted bono to email someone the day before is a little outrageous. they could have played a 5 hour set and there would still be songs that people would have wanted them to play.

personally, i really enjoyed Muse and their set was entirely too short. U2 was decent, nothing bad, nothing mind blowing. the sound kind of traveled and echoed. not the best venue. still had a great night though

must be a lot of U2 newbies posting. this is CHURCH baby! preach on brother B. going to LA, PHX, AND LAS VEGAS.

It wasn't under a red sky, but it was under a full moon. An evening of a lifetime presented as a Mother's Day gift from my son. His childhood was filled with U2 music in the house especially the Rattle and Hum video. We arrived early enough in the day to witness the arrival of the band and Bono walking up to the crowd on the sidewalk to greet everyone. I was so awestruck as to how well they sounded live. We were in the 5th row seats to the right side of the stage and the fans around us were pretty respectable and were really enjoying the show too. Traffic directed us to a back exit and once on the beltway it was smooth sailing from there. : )

This review further emphasizes why I generally do not like U2 anymore. Too over the top, a tired sound, and taking themselves way too seriously. Bono's lyrics are tired and the rest of the band has not updated their sound in years. I have seen the band live when they were great; all prior to Achtung Baby. They certainly didn't need a $40 million set back then. In addition to that, Bono's activism is a bit thin when you consider that he and his "nation state" waste millions of dollars on an overblown tour and yet want to have my tax dollars wasted by debt forgiveness in third world countries. Until I see Mr. Hewson and company fork over a good portion of their money for the cause, keep you damn hands off of my stash (to paraphrase Pink Floyd.)

I thought the show was good. I think I prefered the last show at Verizon better because I enjoyed the cd that came out at that time more so then this one. I wasn't able to see anything because I accidently bought general admission tickets, but I could hear everything perfect. There wasn't any echo and U2 sounded good to me. I loved Muse. I was so excited when I heard they were opening and they didn't dissapoint.They were amazing-maybe the best live band I have seen. I can't wait for them to come back to a smaller venue where they can play even longer. I will say that their music is completely different than U2. I just happened to be a fan of both, but I did hear people complaining that they would rather see the Black Eyed Peas.

I thought that this was a good, not great concert. I was happy, though, as it was my first time seeing U2 so it was still a thrill.

Though I was pleasantly surprised by how well Metro worked. We left after the last song, walked directly with the crowd to Metro, and were able to get immediately on a train. It sounds like other folks had a worse experience but it was fine for me.

Bottom line you go to a concert for the audio experience. In section 453 It sounded like an AM radio through a bullhorn. You could not make out one word Bono was saying.(that might be a good thing) I was really bummed about the audio issue in the upper level It ruined the show.

Sheesh...what a bunch of spoiled whiners. The concert was brilliant. Bono voice was in better form than in some recent tours. The set list was a great mix of old and new. From where I was, the sound was incredible. The set was impressive. They are the only band that I've ever seen keep an entire stadium...even those in the way upper tiers...on their feet for over two hours. That is an extremely rare achievement. As far as the political statements, we need more artists with Bono's heart and courage, not less. His tribute to the resistance movement in Iran was extremely moving. I thought Fed Ex field did a good job of moving 80K people in and out. My only complaint actually was with those obnoxious and self-absorbed concert goers who behave as though they are at a frat house kegger. Besides having to endure their boorish and drunken blather during the concert, one also has to contend with the slobs who treat the stadium as their personal garbage can, dumping the gluey remains of their cheesy fries all over the stairs. One fellow actually took a trash can from his car and proceeded to dump it right on the street. Ugly, Americans, indeed.

Been to plenty of concerts by all sorts of musicians, in all sorts of venues, but the sound last night was so bad that I had to work to keep a frown off of my face--didn't want my husband to know how disappointed I was. (He's a huge life-long fan, and I know he wanted me to enjoy the night as much as he might have.) I also knew that the sound in a stadium--especially Ritchie Ritch's dump--Cooke's Crapper--wouldn't be that great, but GOD, I expected something better from a group as big as U2...maybe their money (and mine) would've been better spent on trying to improve the acoustics rather than on that amazingly fugly space-tick thing.

I usually come away from a concert with a few new favorite songs and/or some new insight into some of the old ones, but not last night--I couldn't hear many of the words at all--not even the ones I already know! I think it's telling that my hubby's favorite parts of the show were the ones that reminded him of PAST U2 concerts that he really enjoyed.

I appreciate Bono's work for those living in an oppressive and poverty-stricken world, but honestly, there are other groups out there who do a little bit of that too, without nearly as much bravado. My compassionate side would've been okay with his "preaching," but since the rest of the evening was such a let-down, it did grate on my nerves a little. I didn't arrive at the show with a grudge, but I came to see that I'd shelled out mega-bucks for crappy seats in a mediocre performance; my spirit was dampened and most of my charitable sentiments were already spent on what I hoped were the band's good intentions.

I've been to some incredible U2 concerts going back to the 1980's. This concert was excellent. The sound was just fine. The band hasn't lost anything. A couple more "old songs" would have been great, but I didn't go with a checklist, I went to have a good time and I did. As for the political stuff, they've used their influence to cause a lot of non-partisan good in this world for a lot of years. If you went to a U2 concert in 1986 Bono was going to advocate for someone in need. Why should today be any different. They are still the best.

I thoroughly enjoyed the concert and you'd be hard pressed to find a better all round gig (2.5 hours of play). However the venue and all round organization was terrible.Metros took ages, no signs directing people,Lines for beer way too long (15 mins) because they didn't have enough staff, and lastly the crew trucks were backing up just 15 minutes after the end of the concert. We barely had time to exit the stadium when we had to watch out for 18 wheeler trucks forcing us onto the grass and flower beds. Will never attend another concert in this venue, nor a football game. Great cocert though!

Frist time seeing them, loved it. No complaints.

Concert was good but not great. I've seen one concert from every tour since the Joshua tree and though the stage was awesome I agree the 360 was not utilized very well. Usually Bono is moving all over the place and that is what I expected when I got seats behind the stage but he stayed in the front of the stage and he was blocked from us 80% of the show. There was also a lack of energy or maybe "enthusiasm" is the word. Bono just didn't seem to be into it as usual. Maybe it is due to the lackluster sales of "No Line on the Horizon." I agree that ending the concert with "No Surrender" is a bad choice, as much as I love the song. Many people didn't know it. He should of stuck to "Pride" or "40". For those who complained about the political/human rights stuff, that is what the band is all about. Most of their songs have a religious or human rights component to them so you should come to expect this by now. Bono is a deeply religious person and I believe that faith drives him to sing and to speak out for the poor and those suffering injustices in this world. This is nothing new for those who have attended concerts over the years. For anyone contemplating going to a concert, just know that you will here a little religion, human rights and politics and if you get their music you will appreciate it.

the stage: awesome, muse (not "the muse" as bono called them): excellent, especially supermassive black hole. u2: some songs were played simultaneously in two different keys. dude! it was not echo (muse was louder and stayed together), it was multiple songs that sounded bad. The edge did not bring his best game. bono tried, but he seemed low energy -- maybe too much politicking during the day. even bono called it a crazy night. the good songs were transcendent, worth the ticket price. but i did not expect the amateur musicianship. watch out, future tour cities. . .

This was my third U2 show. It was not the best of the 3, but still awesome. Sound was inconsitsent, but mostly great. Enjoyed the set list. The encores were great & they really delivered on their biggest hits - nothing felt stale about them, U2 gave them energy as if they were new.

FedEx is a dump, but that didn't detract from the excellent experience. The set was awesome. Over the top, sure...but isn't that part of the fun??? I do think I would have been pissed if I sat behind the stage on what was billed a 360 show. Sat front row to the front/side of the stage and felt like I had the best seat in the house (too old to stand in the inner circle! But not too old to dance all night).



I have seen U2 six times and although this was a good show it was not their best show. I liked the setlist but I missed "Pride" and "Bullet the Blue Sky". Fedex has lousy acoustics so I wish RFK or even M&T would be used for stadium shows in this area.

i don't think there's any need for personal attacks telling people to get a life whoever the anonymous person was.

people paid for a music show. maybe if bono talked about something that you didn't like for whatever reason, that doesn't make you a loser or stupid for thinking or talking about it.

Thought Muse was great. u2 was above average. fedex field was terrible. sound was eh. traffic after the game was expected but still a giant mess.probably going to stay away from that stadium going forward.

that big monitor was 1 tv too many, if you ask me.

Is this what music has come to? mega money for a ticket to a mediocre show? Amazing that after reading all the posts there were more positive comments about the "warm-up band" than the main act. Saw U2 in the 80's and it was the most boring show I've ever seen. Music was decent but my idea of a "show" was not bono running back and forth across the stage with a white surrender flag. To "Adam" who said that they are the only band to keep an entire stadium on thier feet for over 2 hours" - obviously you never saw Springsteen in his prime at the Meadowlands...and that would be for 4 hours, not 2. I saw Pink Floyd in concert 5 times. Those were concerts. Compared to that U2 is like seeing your local bar band. It's sad that the standard for concerts has fallen so low. U2 is overrated and like Springsteen way past their prime. Peter Gabriel said it best - "A band's creative period lasts about 5 years, after that it's mostly rubbish"

Drove down from Pittsburgh with my 14 and 16 year olds to watch the show. As a U2 fan since 1984 I can say that while this was not an epic show, it certainly was one to remember. We sat in 418. We did not mind the view from behind the stage as the video feed was great. The sound is what you get at such a big venue. The set list was great as well. Moment of Surrender has replaced 40 as the closing song this entire tour. They do have a new CD...

As far as the venue, we got very lucky it appears by arriving early and parking near the entrance. We spent about 20 minutes in traffic then right on to the interstate.

We had a great time in DC!

I have been a U2 fan for quite some time now, but have never been to their concerts. I must say this show was the best ever concert I have seen, no doubt!

The sound, staging and set list was excellent! The energy and performance levels were incredible!

My response to all the negative comments:

Too much traffic, crowds, parking, METRO problems - there are 80,000 people trying to get to the same place at the same time - what did you expect? Drive up to the front entrance and sit down immediately?

Sound not good - it's a football stadium - what did you expect? Carnegie Hall acoustics?

Not enough "old songs" - it's a tour to promote their NEW ALBUM - what did you expect? The entire Achtung Baby album?

Political remarks - it's U2/Bono - what did you expect? Sex, drugs and Rock n Roll?

Expensive beer - it's a football concession stand - what did you expect? Happy Hour $1.50 drafts?

To all you grumpy, grouchy, whiney people:
drink some strong coffee to clear out the cobwebs from your dull & fuzzy minds. If not, stay home and listen to some old record albums and drink T-bird wine.

OK....more overwhelming than U2's political messages were the constant organizations hounding you outside for signatures and whatever. Honestly, anyone is entitled to their opinion, including Bono, but I hated the constant accosting that occurred outside. No one was rude or demanding, but I thought it was an atmospheric killer.

Furthermore, getting into the concert was as simple as pie, but getting out was a NIGHTMARE. Geez....hire some traffic cops! Flashing lights make people slow down and gawk. Shut them off and direct traffic!

U2 is suffering from the same fate as KISS. The need to build a bigger, better, more expensive show just causes people to say "huh" more than "wow." Honestly, at this point, U2 needs a stage setup like the Joshua Tree Tour. The songs and the group are more than enough to entertain us. Furthermore, why build a 360 stage and then utilize about 1/2 of it.

The music and sound in a stadium is nearly impossible to correct. I hate to say this, but the sound in the back would be better if you wore earplugs. I know...I know...that's not the way to enjoy a concert, but at least you would hear the guitar and vocals better.

U2 sounded great, played great, and entertained extremely well. The set list, minus "Your Blue Room" was nothing unexpected, but from my perspective, was a bit bland. Yes, you must play your hits, but I'm selfish enough to wish for more "Unforgettable Fire" selections and fewer "With or Without You" choices.

All in all, you can't call this the best U2 show, and you really can't call it amazing. It was very impressive, but a the same time, stage design was more distracting than effective. The swinging microphone/laser suit was just inexplicable. It was so random and out of place that I don't have enough "huh's" in my vocabulary to express it. I still had a great night, and I would go back. That probably says it all.


P.S. Beer vendors in a pit where 3,000 people are jockeying for position??? That was really annoying.

"Your Blue Room" was awesome, but so many folks had no idea as to whether or not it was even a U2 show. See...Larry was right....Passengers was a mistake.

This was my first U2 concert. we were at the field-level, about 3 feet away from the outer stage...and...completely LOVED IT!!! One of the best concerts I have been to!! I was completely in awe of the set-up and amazing music!! They were fantasic!

Amazing Show. My 4th U2 show and 100% amazing experience. It is such a rush to see so many people all sharing the same great vibe. The world needs more of that uplifting energy.
What baffles me is all the haters who are willing to spend boucoup bucks to go to a concert just to have a lousy time? If you do not like U2 and the social statement or any of their music since Achtung Baby STAY HOME, save your money and leave the seats to people who seriously share in the love.
FedEx parking was a mess and it took an hour just to leave our parking spot. The only downer of an otherwise transcendant night.

It was my first U2 show since Joshua Tree back in High School so I was anxiously anticipating it for months. I downloaded the Giants Stadium setlist beforehand to get an idea of what would be played and was impressed with some of the older songs that made the list (Unforgettable Fire, New Years Day) as well as some lesser known but great tunes from prior albums (Ultraviolet).

I had seats behind the stage and was disappointed in how little the band used the rear sections. I didn't have any expectation of equal time but it was barely used. Also, the sound reverberating off the football scoreboards behind us really hurt the quality of the acoustics.

I thought New Years Day, Stuck in a Moment, and City of Blinding Lights were the top performances. I thought Bono should've left Unforgettable Fire off the set list if he wasn't going to actually sing it. I'm guessing that it's not an easy song for him to knock out now that he's not 25 anymore. I'm a huge fan of the song but was really let down by the execution.

The laser reflecting suit in Ultraviolet was cool on the TV screens but didn't have much of an effect when you actually looked at Bono. Seemed like a "made for TV" move.

I understand that political statements are part of U2 shows so I wasn't surprised with the messages Bono was delivering. However the contrived Middle Eastern man "rushing the stage" with the American flag left a very bad taste in my mouth. I refuse to believe the guy could've just walked onto the stage from the audience, and if so, what does that say for the safety of a U2 concert? So since it was very obviously a planted performance I'm then left asking myself ... what's the message I'm supposed to take from this? I know Bono likely assumed he's playing to a liberal crowd given that it was DC and the President was in attendance, but I talked to people who went to the NY show and needless to say, the Mid-East guy with the flag rushing the stage was NOT part of the concert. That part really pissed me off. In theory if you're going to making a political statement shouldn't it be consistent everywhere you go? Lot's of people in NY and DC were adversely effected by 9/11. I think this little stunt definitely crossed a line.

No one "rushed" the stage. Bono saw him in the audience with the flag and helped him up on stage. Did you not notice Bono putting his arm around him? Also, there were many politicians in the audience, but President Obama was not one of them.

So, I'm sure no one's reading this anymore, and I'm not one to insist that people enjoy something as much as I do. However, it's really irritating when people whine about getting exactly what they should expect to be paying for.

Like it or dislike it as you will, but don't expect the band to be anything other than what they've ALWAYS been. Since U2 are famous (since the early 80s) for bringing politics into their music and performances, anyone who spent dollars on a ticket and is offended by that aspect of the show wasn't taken. They willfully wasted their money. In fact, as expressed by others, that's exactly why the vast majority of their fans are so zealous about them. The music transcends a simple regurgitation of every song, and adds a far more epic aspect to the show. I honestly don't understand how any true fan of U2 can be offended, as even their very music is rife with political content. It's hard to separate the two. Muse was a great example. They put on a great performance, but it was just them singing their songs. U2's show is more.

Regarding the "contrived" segment with the Sikh, DMS, I don't think you were paying attention. No one rushed the stage. Bono leaned down and dramatically gestured him onto the stage. The guy actually threw the flag up first, thinking that was what Bono was after. Bono gestured again, security let the man through, and the rest was a fantastic moment. That's exactly what separates U2 from the rest: Magical moments like that actually occur at their shows, and often. Anyone who would assume that it had to be contrived doesn't know them, as such things are common in their shows (which is what keeps me going).

Esmerelda: Open to interpretation here, but I think his bringing that guy up on the stage with the American flag was meant to reflect the true diversity and inclusivity of the American idea, not to specifically relate to Iran.

I loved the show far more than the Vertigo show in 2005. I felt more intensity, and the 360 screen made it far more engaging for me, even though I was off to the side of the stage. I just hope these guys can keep producing....

For more information on the "flag guy", you can read his account of the day's events here:

Charlottesville, Virginia
2:24 A.M., 10-6-09

I wasn't at this concert, but
I saw U2 play for the first time on 10-1-09 here in Charlottesville, Virginia at Scott Stadium on the campus of the University of Virginia.

10 people could have 10 completely different opinions on the same concert, right?

As for the Charlottesville concert, let me just say this:
I recently saw the Rolling Stones, Van Halen, and Elton John play in Charlottesville, and all of them played the music that made them FAMOUS. In other words, they played mostly music from early to middle of their careers.

U2 basically played music from the past 10 years! That was not what made them international superstars!
Maybe that's what they've been playing for the past 10 years, but unless you've been going to their concerts for the past 10 years, how would you have known that before you bought a ticket to one of these recent shows?!

So for me, the Charlottesville concert was horrible. I came expecting to hear mostly "The Joshua Tree," and for example, the concert started off with 3 songs I had never even heard of, and none of them rocked.

On a scale of 0-100, I would give the stage a 100, and the concert maybe a 10.

It would have been like going to see The Rolling Stones, and instead of them playing the songs from the 60's, 70's and 80's that made them famous, they basically just played all of the music from "A Bigger Bang," instead! LOL.

Oh, and the band sounded like an ultra-loud garage band. Maybe it was the size of the venue.

Nelson, "The Joshua Tree"? Of course it's their most popular album, but I think they've had other good albums in the TWENTY-FIVE years they've been around.

Just reading the comments on this show. Disclaimer: I've been a HUGE fan since Boy. Took my 14yr old son for his first U2 show and we both loved it. I've seen U2 in small venues like Ritchie Coliseum at UMD, arenas, and stadiums. While they are MUCH better suited for arenas, it's still a wonderful show.

While U2 has an almost reverent following, some of the comments still amaze me when I read them. They're promoting a new album. They're one of the few acts that refuse to rely on their earlier work when playing a show. If you want to see a greatest hits show, don't bother going to a U2 show. It's all about the feeling, the vibe and (of course) promoting the new album. Want to hear greatest hits, go see Journey.

As for the other criticisms, it's a stadium show - the sound is going to be bad. There's a lot of people - it's going to be tough to get in and out of. And I've already addressed the setlist.

I thought Moment of Surrender (not No Surrender as someone stated) is an excellent closing song. Again, it's about the vibe. Real fans are familiar with the song and understand the bigger meaning of the lyrics. Don't like it, go see Night Ranger.

Maybe I'm just too much of a music nerd and need to realize that not everyone follows this stuff as closely as I do but some of the comments in this thread just leave me scratching my head.

i was so floored. this was the first Rock concert i have ever attended….it was the most exciting well executed show i’ve ever seen!!!luv 2 U2!

I first saw U2 perform live in July 2005, and I haven't stopped talking about that experience yet!! : lol: Over the years, I've had the good fortune to see them many times, U2 band and their show improve with each new tour! Next weekend I'm gonna see them again since I can compare and get cheap tickets from ; so I can save some dollars to the next concert ...I’m so excited!!

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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