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U2 Tours (formerly part of AtU2): A Comprehensive Guide To U2’s Live Performance History
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by Angela P.

I've seen U2 a few times now, but this was my first (and probably only) i+e show. I'd thought when the tour began I would avoid reading about it/watching videos in order to be completely surprised, but my resolve about that lasted about a day! No regrets on that score--I loved being able to take part in conversations about the show as it landed in cities across the continent, and doing so didn't "ruin" the show when I did see it. I just felt like a virtual show-goer before my concert, and now I am a show-goer IRL.

A couple more pre-concert notes--I had a GA ticket and lined up around 5:30. The crowd mix in the line was very cool--longtime fans, college kids, parents and their young children. One woman passed by in a tour t-shirt that prompted one guy near me to remark, "I wasn't even born when that tour was going on..." Love for the band was the great equalizer; I overheard lots of strangers bonding over U2-line small talk: "Have you seen them before?" "Which album would you take to a desert island?"

And then as we got in, and we saw the band's performance area stretched the entire length of the arena floor, the mood among us all was of delighted wonder. One first-timer asked, "Where is the band going to be?" and I pointed to the main stage, the ramp and the e-stage right in front of us. Her eyes grew wide. "Welcome to your own personal U2 concert," I told her.

Now for the show itself: the moment that sums it up was when Bono sang his first note into the mike--only to discover the mike wasn't working. He tapped it melodramatically--at which point we roared the notes for him. (The mike came to life a moment later.) It was an unplanned but perfect demonstration of the spirit of interdependence that U2, and its fanbase, is all about.

Other examples of the same spirit--Bono conducting a chorus of Southsiders and Northsiders in singing "oh, oh, oh" and "the sweetest thing"; the band surrendering to the will of the people by debuting "Crystal Ballroom"; Bono's request to us to send our love to Ferguson, Baltimore, and Charleston; and the mass choir belting the first verse and chorus of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."

I also want to give a quick "you guys are amazing" to everyone working on the screen graphics. I want to go back and watch every concert video now to pull out the nuances of the imagery, particularly in "Bullet the Blue Sky" and "Even Better Than the Real Thing." I feel like a designer could teach a class on text and subtext, the medium and the message, and just use the visual elements of i+e to do it.

I am so glad to be a fan of a band that has remained at the top of its game, artistically speaking, for so long. I met a couple of folks that night who had never been to a U2 concert before--how amazing is it that the excitement of discovery of their live shows can still be had? That it's still like being let in on some marvelous secret?

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