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June 23, 2011

Review: U2 at M&T Bank Stadium June 22

The next time the Ravens win a game at M&T Bank Stadium, they should be so lucky to get the kind of response four 50-something Irish guys got there Wednesday night.

Thousands of fans - the stadium estimated some 80,000 - welcomed U2 for their first regional show in two years like Bono and company had just ended the N.F.L lockout.

Billed as the record-setting spectacular to beat all concert spectaculars, U2’s 360-degree tour employs the latest advancements in live entertainment, including a moving, four-legged stage that looked ripped from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

It's been joked that for a band as bombastic as this one, a stage that big was needed to contain all of their egos, mostly Bono's. But the spacious arena, as big as a small club, allowed for maximum showboating, and for the band members to pull off pyrotechnics that would have been difficult at 1st Mariner Arena, where they played the last time they were in Baltimore in 2001.

Over two hours, The Edge got to sing directly above fans, thanks to the moving stage; other band members strolled the circular stage within reaching distance of the spastic crowd; got the stadium to sing along several times - most memorably on "I Will Follow" - and Bono got to show off some favorite Bono-isms, grunting, wearing a glow-in-the-dark jacket, and plugging his favorite political causes.

An ambitious show to say the least, it also featured cameos from, incongruously, Desmond Tutu and Gabrielle Giffords' husband. Now on its second year, the 360-degree tour confirmed why U2 is still among the few headliners that can sell out stadiums.

The setlist stayed close to what the band's been playing at other recent concerts, straying only at a few key moments. Over all they played some 24 songs, with all but a couple of their albums represented, going as far back as "Boy" and up to their most recent outing, "No Line on the Horizon." "Achtung Baby," "The Joshua Tree," and "No Line" had the most numbers in the show. The British band Florence and the Machine opened the show.

The wolf pack walked on stage at 8:56 p.m. to David Bowie's "Space Oddity," strutting out from underneath the stadium like a bunch of gladiators in tight jeans. Though they looked huge on the video screens, from where I was sitting on row 11, section 151, they looked like bendable action figures. At least one woman near me brought binoculars.

As everyone pulled out their phones to take pictures, a clad-in-black Bono barreled through "Even Better than the Real Thing," from 1991's "Achtung Baby." He kept going with six more songs that were each over 20 years old. Undercutting the solemnity of the first few songs was a helicopter flying overhead advertising strip club Scores.

Bono strapped on a guitar on a muscularly remade "The Fly," which also featured some of The Edge's shredding and vocal accompaniment. At that point, it was hard not to be envious of the crowd directly in front of the the stage, who looked ecstatic.

The rest of the stadium only nodded along politely, but they started to move on "Mysterious Ways," a love song that was blown up here into a stadium anthem, and where Bono and The Edge took their first stroll around the circular stage and walked over the moving bridges.

By fifth song "I Will Follow," it was already nightfall and the enormous stage was the only source of light in the stadium, surrounded like a supernova by the thousands of flickers of light from peoples' cell phones. On "Get On Your Boots," Bono showed how, despite his self-serious star-with-a-conscience public persona, he knows how to play the role of rock star with all the panache it demands. He never did take off his tinted sunglasses at all.

Bono introduced the next song by saying The Edge would be channeling Frank Sinatra, which suggested perhaps they'd do Bono's remake of "That's Life." But instead they sang "Stay" as a slow, almost acoustic song.  The band got Mark E. Kelly to introduce "Beautiful Day," which, tailor-made for this kind of setting, sounded excellent.

"Elevation" had the crowd near the front practically moshing. "Miss Sarajevo" showed off another genre where U2 is unassailable, the heartfelt power ballad.

The concert hit its stride around 10 p.m., when the band played "Vertigo," maybe because it's one of their most recognizable recent songs and maybe because the alcohol from the afternoon tailgaiting was finally making a difference. "Sunday Bloody Sunday," was certainly the night's emotional peak, milked here for all its possible relevance by being played over news images of the Arab Spring.

The Bono-isms started to rear their ugly head by then. He dedicated "Scarlet" to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese political dissident, a gesture that was only politely applauded for the crowd. Maybe they didn't know who she was? Not to worry. U2 helpfully provided an introductory blurb. "One" was introduced by Desmond Tutu. During the encore Bono both sang "Amazing Grace" and later thanked another kind of god, Live Nation, for organizing the show.  Fifty-year-old Bono also sprayed the audience with water and wore a jacket that shot off lasers on "Ultraviolet."

But there were great moments to compensate for those that were cringe-worthy.  "Moment of Surrender," dedicated to Clarence Clemons, was moving and "Where the Streets Have No Name" was undeniably beautiful; without a doubt, the concert's highlight.

Bono's stated goal was to shrink the stadium and turn it into a little club, a difficult task when you're singing from a metal, 200-ton arachnid. But for the Baltimore crowd, a majority of whom had likely not seen them in years, a stadium packed with thousands of like-minded fan did just fine.

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
 Beautiful Day
Pride (In The Name Of Love)
 Miss Sarajevo
City Of Blinding Lights
I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Walk On

Where The Streets Have No Name
With Or Without You
Moment of Surrender

Photos: U2 performing at M&T Bank Stadium June 22 (Gene Sweeney Jr./Baltimore Sun)

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Posted by Erik Maza at 1:20 AM | | Comments (67)
Categories: Concert reviews


Must of been cool for ravens fans to hear Where The Streets Have No Name played by actual artists at M and T. Used to be the ravens opening song.

Thank you for this review. I was there tonight. I'm still full of the energy and the magic. I still can't believe how good they sound. Amazing.

Overall, it was a great concert! I wish the fans near us would have shut up during the poignant slow songs like "Miss Sarejevo" instead of laughing and chatting the whole time. But then, it WAS a football stadium and maybe these fans aren't used to sitting quietly for 4 minutes. And the "Scores" helicopter above that made repeated fly overs was really annoying. But otherwise, it was a very good show! U2's catalog of so many good songs to choose from gives them a lot to choose from! "Pride" and "Stay" touched me the most.

Eric, a couple of things - it's "Get On Your Boots", not "Get Your Boots On". Also, the first six songs were not 20 years old as "Get On Your Boots" was the sixth song they played. Great show!

They still use that song Mike. They play it while the starters are being announced.

It was a great spectacle, but Bono sounded muffled at times.

The great moving stage was a farce. My seat, as well as many others, were totally obstructed by the construction beams that held up the video screen. So they spend incredible time and resources to block the view of the stage. With no cutting edge video, I would have been able to actually see. Worst stadium event I was ever at. The are on the cutting edge of stupidity.

The show was a self pretentious borefest. Phoned in. The huge stage did nothing,

Great production, horrible set list. This band should take a cue from the Stones, stop making music, and play the hits. To not hear "B.A.D." or "In God's Country" at a U2 concert is lam-o. Most of the time we were bored out of our minds by the music, they should have swapped some of the post-Achtung Baby sleepers with the real classics.

As for Su Kyi, we were joking that there are people hurting on Fulton Street, we didn't care about some woman half way around the world.

Of course they spend top dollar on massive stages and lighting because simply put they haven't made decent music in years. Boner and one chord Edge pretty much went south since going that "pop" route. Also no doubt the band has always been political but damn give it a rest. I suppose some will get off on shelling out major coin for a lighting show but some of us still crave good music. For the most part U2 will continue to draw mainly off name recognition. The music? Nice try guys.

I hate to be a crank, Mike, but it is must HAVE not must OF. I see this so often now that it drives me nuts. Sorry to take it out on you.

Incredible show! Loved the lighting and video effects!

I paid a stiff price for two tickets from a broker.
I did so to be close enough to see the band.
I sat in section 153. I was directly lined up
with one of the four support beams that held up the video system.
I could not see around the beam--I could not see the stage.

I cant believe that the engineers that design such a cutting edge
configuration do so such that some percentage of seats are genuinely
obstructed. The seat was not labeled obstructed or reduced, but sold
at full price. Great seat except that you could not see the stage around
the beam. I cannot believe that the designers of a system this intricate
don’t know that these seats are flawed, yet they choose to market them
as a good seat with no warning about the obstruction.

Most stadiums and sports franchises will acknowledge an obstructed seat,
will present it to the public as such, and reduce the price.

In a nutshell, I feel I was "ripped off".

I air this complaint to the press; I have no other recourse--the band took my
money and ran. Had they had no video system, I would have seen great.
So their system to help people see kept me from seeing---great planning,
I must say. Further, when we initially entered the stadium and approached
our seats, I immediately heard the couple behind us also complaining about
the obstruction.

Poor marks to U2---and please represent my issues in this press. You are
the public's defense against corporatiers that take the money and run----
which U2 did by selling obstructed seats with no warning or disclaimer.

I don't think you can call them "four 50-something Irish guys" when two of them are still under fifty.

Also, a quick copy edit:

"Bono's stated goal was to shrink the stadium and turn it into a little club, a difficult rask when your singing from a metal, 200-ton arachnid."

difficult TASK when YOU'RE singing from 200-ton metal arachnid

I thought the show was fabulous. Probably the best I've seen.

Honest review........They put on an amazing performance, but clearly the heat got to them. The set-list was pared down (no New Year's Day, Hold Me, Thrill Me...). One less acoustic number (Angel of Harlem, Desire, Stuck in a moment, or North Star), they cut a few tracks out from the new record (Magnificent), nothing daring, nothing the crowd wouldn't get bored with (stuck to the hits (Mysterious Ways), and old warhorses (Still haven't found) ), and clearly they dropped a few slow tunes for faster songs just to get the show done with. I didn't have a problem with that though, since I think they are at their best when Edge's guitar is driving the band.

One, I think this was because of the heat, two the band's schedule. They left Baltimore last night and flew directly to London because they headline the Glastonbury Festival in Redding tomorrow night. Today is a day full of press interview for them in England, tomorrow is the show, then they fly to Detroit to play another gig in East Lansing (Michigan State University).

Still, they were great!! I loved the opening salvo of songs from my favorite album (Achtung Baby), but I think it hurt them not including a newer tunes in the 1st few numbers.

We were in section 400 on the far end from where the stage was. I heard about a sound check earlier in the day - that must have been a very short test (do we have sound - yes - OK we're done). Did Bono actually speak at anytime? We heard little of that as well as any singing other than the one acoustic song and Amazing Grace. I thought about this post before realizing that this band has been at this for 30 years and has played countless arenas. Maybe next tour they will hire a sound engineer who's expertise consists more of turning the volume up. Given that they are playing mostly football stadiums in North America, how different is each space from a sound standpoint? It should bea easy to figure this out. It was still a very nice show & I would go again but I would want to have different seats to see if the audio was better.

Our city could not restrict the air space directly above the stadium bowl for a couple of hours. How stupid and dangerous was that advertising helicopter!

How do you get 80,000 losers to migrate to one specific location?

anyone have an answer WHY every source said that the gates would open at 5pm --- yet we were left standing outside the stadium until 5:45 ??

Dude they only played 3 from "no line" (thankfully) and 6 songs from "Achtung Baby". they did this because AB has its 20th anniversary this year. The first four songs in the set were from Achtung Baby but the next 2 were not. The other 2 songs from Achtung Baby were at the end of the set. I would say get your facts straight before you write an article. No wonder the Sun is going down the tube

I give U2 an A+++. I am giving the Light Rail an F-. How is it possible for the MTA to screw up transit of thousands of fans exiting the biggest concert in Baltimore's history ,only to find NO NORTHBOUND TRAINS for over an hour. Shame on the MTA who constantly beg us to use public transportation only to ruin the goodwill that delivered us to the venue on time. I will never step foot on a Light Rail train again!

This concert should have been named the less than half tour as that is the percentage of people who didn't have to watch the concert from behind the stage. I also have never heard of a concert where tickets were sold without notification of obstructed view or rear of stage. If I wanted to watch a big screen TV of a U2 concert I could have just stayed home....

Great concert! Yah part of our view was obstructed by the spaceship...but no big deal. Had never seeing them before, it was an experience. Even had fun on the light rail trip back to hunt valley! Baltimore, very nice city.....This is my second time to the city and I will be back again.

I thought the show was great and I had a really good time. I have seen them seven times and as a longtime fan, I never get tired of hearing the hits.

I was in block 148 row 33 so had excellent view of the stage - probably the perfect place to sit. I agree the sound wasn't 100% all of the time but this only seemed to be when all guitars / singing was happening together, which wasn't all the time. I would say 90% of the concert was ok with sound.

My only real gripe was the couple next to me who insisted on smoking pot several times during the performance which was constantly blown over myself and my wife - completely disgusting and would have been reported if I thought anyone would have done anything about it.

I'm a huge Florence fan as well ( one of the reasons I actually went ) and thought she did a terrific job.

I thought it was the worst sounding concert I have ever been to. And earlier comment mentioned the obstruction the support beams caused and I completely agree. I could not see the stage and the sound was distorted to the point of being frustrating. My section was mostly empty by the first encore (and we were in 551 - not bad seats - or so I thought). I blame myself for falling for the hype. The show was pathetic, boring and predictable. By the way, I LOVE U2. Just not live!

I agree the concert was great... and than to leave on such a high note only to wait over an hour for a train just took the mood away.I could have drove I even had a parking pass but sold it and decided light rail was the way to go.WRONG!

The sound was terrible. I was in the cheap seats - section 525, stage left, so I'm sure that contributed to it, but it was really bad. At times the vocals were not present in the mix (early in the show). The bass guiter sound was completely out of control as to make the whole mix unlistenable. Mind you, this was not the bass playing that was the problem, but the sound system. I've been to plenty of stadium shows so I didn't have very high expectations for sound, but this was well below par.

Great Show. U2 is worth every penny and it was a great "get" for Baltimore. I hope they continue to use M&T Bank Stadium for concerts.

I would also like to thank all the people that took public transportation which left ample parking in Federal Hill. True Baltimoreans know you can always find parking in the city.

I thought the concert last night was one of the best stadium shows I have seen. I was in sec. 103 and although it was a side view, which I expected the sound was very good. People should not expect orchesta hall acoustics from an outdoor football stadium. If it looks like a duck, it's gonna quack like a duck, but still U2's sound system was the best I've heard in a stadium. Light Rail has always been a mystery to me. I have never seen a more disorganised transport system in my life. You would think that after such a big event the trains would be lined up and ready to go. They know they have you hostage. Please fire the Head of Light Rail and get someone in there that knows how to move people. I really liked the image of the volunteers from Amnesty Intl bringing in lanterns to encircle the outer ring of the stage. Artists will always have their own political or humanitarian interests. Rather than act with disgust, why not listen with an open ear and, if not moved, enjoy the music. As far as the $40 tee shirts I heard were for sale inside the stadium (the real rip off!) I bought two out side the stadium for $20 (for both) and no, the ink did not wash out.

This was my first U2 concert. Full disclosure: I was there only because I won a pair of tickets from 98Rock by entering a contest at Honfest. So I was very lucky wherever I wound up and however it sounded. For me, it was all gravy. We had general admission (row 18???) and wound up standing in the middle outside the outer ring. The good: except for the two tall dudes in front of us and the folks who kept raising their arms to take pictures with their cell phones, the view was terrific. When Bono, et al., walked around that outer ring, they could practically ask my girlfriend for her phone number. The bad: we had to stand for 4 hours, and the air didn't move. But again, I can't complain. Especially since I can't believe they sold seats behind the control tower in the back of the stadium. Talk about obstructed view! Those folks saw nothing. How could they sell those seats? I felt so bad for those fans. Terrible.

I thought the sound was muddy and a poor mix for at least the first two songs (which I didn't recognize), and then it seemed to improve, as Bono's voice was more prominent in the mix. I like their music but I am not a serious fan, so, looking at the set list, I only knew 10 of the songs they played. They did play every song I knew except for Angel of Harlem, New Year's Day, and In God's Country. I really liked the two acoustic numbers as well as the final song, a terrific tribute to Clarence Clemons. For those who complained about the set list, I would say they have a very deep back catalogue, and they're not going to play every hit. As a casual fan, the concert actually got me more interested in hearing the non-familiar music that I heard last night, so it worked for me.

One question for the folks in the club level and upper deck: When the screen expanded and covered the stage and then retracted a bit but hung barely over the band's heads, could you still see the stage? That seemed like it was completely blocking the view of the stage for several songs from anyone who wasn't on the field. Just curious.

Overall, I thought it was quite the spectable and enjoyed it very much. (except for all of the political posturing--I could have done without that).

Show was good but was too "over-the-top" with the alien spaceship stage. Doesn't compare to the great Vertigo tour!

Great time! We too had purchased excellent seats from the pre sale only to have an obstructed view right behind the beams- BUT BIG THANK YOU and SHOUT OUT to John w/Ticketmaster and the Customer Service counter at the stadium who relocated us immediately into comparable seats with a perfect view!! NO questions asked, no grief, quick and painless! This was by far the best customer service experience I have ever had! We had a marvelous time at the concert!!

The McCartney concert at FedEx field a year or so back was similar scale but no issues with seats being obstructed by the large but seemingly better thought out stage.

"Overblown" and "pretentious" are cornerstones of U2 and stadium rock concerts in general, especially Bono. That's why I did not go despite liking a lot of their songs. I'm sure those who did mostly had a blast despite.

Light rail was completely overwhelmed last night. Show ended just past 11:00 and I didn't get to Cromwell station until almost 1:00AM. Other than that... FANTASTIC concert last night! I love the energy of their live shows. Usually I'm in the GA/floor section up close and don't pay much attention to the whole claw setup and light show. However, last night I had a great LL seat and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think everyone should try to experience both views! The set list was fine, but I was surprised it was so heavy on the "hits" with very little from NLOTH. Their shows are usually pretty well balanced. Now if only they had played "Bad" and/or "All I Want is You" that would've been icing on the cake...

This was my second time seeing U2, the first in 1985 on their tour to support The Unforgettable Fire. I enjoyed that performance WAY more because it was about the music and not some fancy gimmicy stage that didn't contribute to _ANYTHING_.

I'm also glad that others are commenting on the poor sound quality I thought it was just me up high in the cheap seats but I guess not.

I'm also glad that my decision to skip MTA's offer to take me to and from the stadium was the right one.

We were in section 549 - super nose bleed admittedly - and the sound was awful, pure and simple. You could not understand Bono when he sang or spoke for the first 3 songs. They tried to tighten it up just as "Still haven't found what I'm looking for" came on but it was quick to fade. It would come and go as if someone was playing with the levels the entire show. Even at the end when he was speaking we couldn't hear what Bono was saying, then we could. Really stunk.

I had to laugh when the guys behind me started calling for Sunday Bloody Sunday during the encore... a song I was fairly sure they had already played (but again the audio was so bad I wasn't 100% sure until I checked the set list.) Cross "see U2 before they die" off my bucket list.

I am a bit confused at the rants about the supports and seating locations... On the ticketmaster web site, it showed the stage layout and orientation... and that there were "legs". It shouldn't have been THAT much of a surprise.
The sound... was much better in DC in September of 2009. It sounded like many of the speakers were blown. I remember the same thing on their "Popmart" tour, where the sound was better early in the tour. The mix was poor, too much subs. The low end rumble made lyrics inaudible.
All of this, ofcourse, the band has little to no control over. So getting mad at U2 for sound or your seat location is like getting mad at an airline pilot because the baggage handlers lost your luggage.
I for one was happier with the set list than the previous show in the area. They sound checked "40"... which would have been a better ending... and the changes at the top of the set are in preparation for tomorrow's Glastonbury gig.
All in all, it was a great concert... and anyone who didn't think so doesn't understand what it takes to be in a band and put on a show... or is just a malcontent who should stop trashing threads just to be a jerk.

We were in section 549 - super nose bleed admittedly - and the sound was awful, pure and simple. You could not understand Bono when he sang or spoke for the first 3 songs. They tried to tighten it up just as "Still haven't found what I'm looking for" came on but it was quick to fade. It would come and go as if someone was playing with the levels the entire show. Even at the end when he was speaking we couldn't hear what Bono was saying, then we could. Really stunk.

I had to laugh when the guys behind me started calling for Sunday Bloody Sunday during the encore... a song I was fairly sure they had already played (but again the audio was so bad I wasn't 100% sure until I checked the set list.) Cross "see U2 before they die" off my bucket list.

That was a great show. The 4 Achtung Baby songs plus I Will Follow makes for an awesome opening.

Zooropa and COBL with the screen pulled down was amazingly impressive to look at.

For whatever reason a large amount of people around me refused to stand for anything. That was mildly annoying. I guess that is what happens when you play before a crowd so big and half of them are real fans, and the other half are just there because its the trendy thing in town. Don't tell me to sit down during Vertigo unless to want to be karate kicked in the face.

Loved the Clarence Clemons shout outs. RIP Big Man.

Florence of Florence and the Machine has an AMAZING voice. Very impressive. Really filled the stadium.

MTA light rail back to Hunt Valley after the show was a nightmare. Typical Baltimore. They ran one train in a 45 minute span from about 11:15 to midnight. We didn't get on until like 12:10 are so. Amazingly inefficient. It was so crowded around the Hamburg stop that it reminded me of the famous picture of all the people trying to evacuate Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War.

How there weren't two or three trains ready to roll both directions after they were filled up following the show is amazing to me. They treated it like a regular WED night. It was, other than the extra 85,000 people in the area for the show.

That being said, U2 are the best band on the planet. Can't wait to see them again in Philly. ACHTUNG BABY

Thought the show was great on many levels: One of the all time great rock bands--certainly the classiest and highest integrity band around; great songs; great venue, great weather; great crowd; great economic impact event for Baltimore and surrounding area. Thought the sound was a little muffled at times, but acknowledge that sound is rarely clear at open air stadium concerts. Adam Clayton also always has his bass turned up so high that it never sounds clear--even on recordings (I actually need to adjust the Bass settings on my car stereo to below zero for U2 songs). U2 is a great show--not quite up to the par of a Who or Springsteen show in my opinion--but certainly one of the best live acts of all time...

Good show, not great.

Sound was muddled in the lower level, too. I was lined up with one of the speaker towers, but it still sounded bad.

Good energy, as usual. I just think it's hard to get an entire stadium rocking. U2's arena shows are far better. I'll give it a B.

I've seen U2 12 times, and I think that this might be my second favorite of all the shows, and definitely the best of the stadium shows. I thought the set list was great - the emphasis on Achtung Baby and Joshua Tree songs was fun, and I disagree with those who call it predictable, because even after seeing them 12 times, this was the first time I heard Stay, Even Better Than the Real Thing, Scarlet, or Zooropa live. So clearly, there's some changes. Also, it's pretty rare to get Pride, Streets, With or Without You, Haven't Found, and Sunday Bloody Sunday all in one concert - they usually play some combination of these, but not usually ALL of them. So I thought that was great. There was also a lot of energy last night, especially given the heat. I mean, I was getting dizzy, and I wasn't running laps around the stage. Props to the boys for a GREAT show. One note on the seating/stage comments that people have made: when you purchase your tickets, either on Ticketmaster or StubHub, there is a map that shows the seats, and also has an outline of the CLAW in the center. If the section of seats is facing an arch of the Claw, I don't know why you think you're not going to have in the way. Just like, if the seats are BEHIND the stage, I don't know why you think you're going to have a lot of face time with the band. YOU made that decision, not the band. So get over yourself. I paid more to ensure that I wasn't going to have an obstructed view, and I had a GREAT time. I also bought my tickets last week, so I know they were still available. A little personal responsibility, please....

A bit of a hasty review—accuracy of facts should be pretty basic journalism protocol. It falls a little short here.

Bono’s full work and U2’s social activism is lost here too, from the journalist’s snarky comments and the blog reviewer’s selection concertgoer posts.

Luckily, for many fans, U2 rings true! The band has been sharing its music and social message with the world for years --it's what they're about, and it’s NO SURPRISE by now--so if you don't like it, please stay home. I'm tired of all the negative comments about it.

Thankfully, for me, there is no denying the band’s music and work is a source of true light. I’d hate to know the depressing world of anyone who cannot appreciate or find inspiration in the hope and spirit of humanity the band brings to our world.

"and anyone who didn't think so doesn't understand what it takes to be in a band and put on a show."

Meh, I think you're off base there Mike. To put on a great show you need great sound. We saw The Police in PA 3(?) years ago and they were great. Our seats were just as bad but the sound was awesome. No, the audio was sub-sub par and really sucked the energy out of the show.

I was in the cheapest seats in house (upper level endzone, behind the stage), and actually had a great view. There was no obstruction at all, except when they lowered the screen thingy for a few songs.

What's with all the sound complaints? I was surprised with how good it sounded, for a stadium. Maybe being lower down distorts the sound, or maybe my expectations were low?

@lberkeley6 - Totally agree that if people would've taken the time to look where their seats were located they might not have had an issue.

Not to mention that as much as the band members moved around the perimeter of the stage, catwalks, etc, I seriously doubt your view was ever obstructed for very long!

Should've bought a floor ticket - a bargain at $70 compared to nearly $300 for seats in the 100 level!

Aside from the sound problems, the show was an amazing technical achievement. But the band didn't excel where I expect them to excel. I wanted to be inspired; instead I was entertained. I wanted to be at a rally, but I was treated to a spectacle. I wanted to feel a connection with a band, but I felt like the consumer of a polished, packaged product. In short, I think there was a tension between U2's music and its presentation on this tour. It didn't surprise me, then, that most people in our section sat through the whole show. Perhaps this is simply a function of where we were--the nose bleed seeds--but it seemed that the show lacked energy and sponteneity. I don't think it would have felt much different if we were watching the concert on screen, with surround sound, at the Senator Theater.

The show was a fun spectacle and the band delivered a solid performance. I'm very glad they came to Baltimore! I just wish the powers that be were capable of getting our public transit coordinated. They want to increase ridership yet when the concert let out, we waited fully 1/2 hour for a light rail train to finally arrive at M&T. When it did, it was already packed full and simply sat on the track for several minutes without opening the doors - this is when we gave up. If we lived farther out we'd have been stranded. Folks will not use light rail and come into the city if the system is such a travesty that there are not trains lined up and ready to move people when it is known that the biggest concert ever to hit M&T will be ending at midnight on a Wednesday. It is lazy and inexcusable. Let's at least pretend to be a world-class city once in a while

This was my 3rd U2 concert. Went to Joshua Tree in 87/88? and then to 360 in DC in 2009. The JT concert was at RFK and was amazing! But they were just coming into their own - Sunday Bloody Sunday was still about the IRA battles raging on... and that was the only political aspect of the show!

The concert in 2009 was also great. I think the stage was a bit different than this one - We were GA then and very close to the stage (highly recommend!) but I recall the bridge swinging out more into the audience I think...He actually sang to a young child in the audience - very cool moment. The Burma leader was still a prisoner so the Amnesty International folks carried in masks instead of lights - I thought that was a neat transition for this concert. (I actually thought about the concert when I heard she was released - how sad is that?? lol)

We are in section 520, 1st row for this show. Sort of behind a leg but could see around it for the most part and the video was visible. The sound was a bit off but that's a stadium for you. I heard they prefer the arena to the stadium shows for those reasons, but that they want to do less shows so stadiums it is...

Overall I had a great time listening to an iconic band and while it wasn't the best ever - it was worth the time, money and effort!

(Also I dodn't like politics with my music, but I appreciated Bono thanking Pres Bush for the support he gave for his AIDs campaign. I heard him speak in an interview that when Bono asked Clinton for money he always got empty promises, but whenever he asked Bush, Bush said, what else do you need - let's do it. So I appreciate that he would thank him even though I'm sure he shares little else in common. Shows me a spirit of cooperation can be achieved!)

I'm from Kansas City and wanting to go to St. Louis,MO to see U2 '360' tour on July 17th at Busch Stadium. It's too bad U2 is not bringing their tour to KC and I'll have to travel 250 miles to see it. I've seen U2 once on the Elevation tour in Nov 2001 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City,MO. I've only seen a stadium show once before and it was for Genesis. It was the 'We Can't Dance' tour in Ames, Iowa at Cyclone Stadium in '92. It's difficult to make stadium shows work.

First and only time I saw them was the "War" tour at the Tower Theater. Incredible energy and show. Seems like a good idea to keep that memory of them.

Kudos to U2 for performing so energetically on such a hot, (typically) muggy Baltimore summer night. My first rock concert in a stadium and my first live U2 concert. We were sitting at the top of the highest section in the end zone opposite the stage. If I didn't stand up much during the show, it was not because I didn't appreciate the performance, but because the vertigo effect from the seating made me fear I was going to topple onto the people in the next row down. As to the complaints about sound, what would you expect in a stadium in a train yard? Even before the show started, blasts of train whistles distorted the recorded music from time to time. I've been to summertime outdoor acoustic performances in these parts where the performers couldn't keep the instruments in tune. Just imagine someone with perfect pitch singing along with a guitar that won't stayed tuned. Ouch! This sort of stuff just comes with this sort of venue. Thanks, U2, for coming to Baltimore and entertaining us so royally!

While we enjoyed the spectacle of it all (and the stage is really cool)...Bono's vocals were definitely drowned out on several songs. The drums (and especially the bass) were way too prominent in the mix. We were in section I thought it was our location...but now I have seen sound issues reported from folks in the lower sections. I was not expecting crystal clarity in a stadium...but I have seen many other stadium shows that sounded much, much better.

Stop moaning. The concert was very good. I bought a GA ticket for $59.50 from the ticket window 1 hour before the show and had a great view from the middle of the field. The sound was good and Bono's voice was in great form. For those complaining about the politics , come off it. He has been doing this stuff for 30 years. You should know better. And all the idiots standing around just waiting for one song. Fools. You deserve to be ripped off.

Fair, factual review.

Very good show, not great, but very good. I thought it a great set list and the guys were having a good time, although they seemed a bit rushed at times...

It was hot, and honestly, Baltimore is not a U2 town. There were empty seats and a lot of people sitting down during the show. That was disappointing, but I took my cues from the fans in mosh pit below. They rocked it out with the band.

I was in General admission - and we were allowed to get right next to the stage (inside the center ring), and I stayed there the duration. I had an amazing experience - I stood, danced and sang the whole time, and there were great people around me. I honestly have no frame of reference for sound issues or seating issues, but for me, close to the stage, it was FANTASTIC!!!

My first U2 show. Loved it - but very disappointed with the sound? I read that there's 3 separate stages rotating in North America - perhaps they forgot the sound engineer at the last location for this one. We took light rail to/from the show. We left in the middle of the encore to get a seat and still had to wait until after the show ended before a train showed at the northbound station & that took over half an hour to get out of the city. Some well-to-do folks in 3 buses got police motorcycle escorts to the stadium before the show - why oh why does light rail not warrant some special treatment the night of a show like this? Perhaps it's because MTA already has our money for the round trip ticket and therefore couldn't care less about us this late????

Note to Bono & the boys - call Dave Matthews and ask him who does their sound at concerts because their guy doesn't suck.

This was my second U2 concert and I was again inspired by their continued energy, stage presence and overall message.

As for the negative comments pertaining to Bono's activism, I have always felt that Bono-bashers suffer from a subconscious guilt that they lack the degree of goodwill Bono exudes. I appreciate a rock star who cares about matters like poverty, AIDS and political oppression. U2's music is inspiring because of Bono's voice and the Edge's tastefulness, but it touches the soul even deeper because it contains a universal call to love - and to fight for - humanity.

The words of Iberkeley6 resonate with me: " I’d hate to know the depressing world of anyone who cannot appreciate or find inspiration in the hope and spirit of humanity the band brings to our world."

Thank you U2 for the great show and the everlasting inspiration!

The show was great. The venue less-so. Stadiums are generally not acoustics-friendly places, but after hearing two fine-sounding concerts in recent years (McCartnet at FedEx and Elton John / Billy Joel at Nationals' Field) I thought that U2 would do as well at M&T Bank. I was wrong. The stadium was wrought with undesirable reflections which, apparently, the sound engineers were unable to overcome. For the most part, everything was intelligible, but high-fidelity it was not.

Also, the Baltimore Police have absolutely no idea how to direct traffic at a stadium event. At the aforementioned concerts in the DC area, it was easy-in/easy-out. At M&T, the Police were directing lanes of traffic into one another, holding back clogged arteries in favor of sparesly-travelled allies, and virtually shutting down exits to some of the parking lots for no apparent reason other than their own ineptitude. What a mess! After that experience, I don't know that I'll ever return to M&T for another concert.

I bet Tim would pay $5,000 for the honor of having Bono's junk placed in his mouth for 2 minutes.

This was my 14th U2 show, so I have a lot of different album tours, venues, etc... from which to judge this show compared with the others. It wasn;t as good as the arena tours of 2001 % 2005, but it blew away the show at Fed Ex Field in DC two years ago. Without high winds like that show, I thought the sound was much better. This my first time in GA, but I did it right, by getting Red Zone GA - no waiting in line all day, our own food/drink vendor in our section, etc... From up close like this, the sound was awesome. Bono's vocal level was low for the first couple of songs, but they raised his vocals after that. I thought the song selection was great. Many old songs and only three or four from the newest album, unlike in 2009, when they played eight or nine from that album. not a bad album, but with a group like U2, you always want to hear as many classic songs as possible. Overall, a great concert from U2 from where I was, both visually and sound wise.

One reviewer asked why it said gates were to open at 5:00, but didn't until 5:30. This has probably been answered already, but they were doing their sound check until 5:30, and at any concert, the gates do not open until the sound check is complete. After the last warmup song, Bono said "sorry", which meant sorry for having the soundcheck go long and delaying the opening of the gates.

go team scores ! the helicopter was awesome :)

To those blaming M&T Bank Stadium for the muffled and muddy U2 sound...complete BS. It ain't Carngie Hall...but somehow Flo and the Machine (of who I am no fan) sounded much better than U2. I am no die-hard...but I really like U2 and blew about $450 on 4 tickets...but the vocals and Edge's guitar should have been much more audible. On quiet sounded awesome for a stadium show...but on the heavier material...if you did not know the words to the song...Bono's vocals and Edge's trademark jangle were muddied and muffled.

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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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