U2 Stand By MN

The only thing that tempered my excitement for U2 bringing their 360 Tour to my hometown was my fear of what the weather might bring. Getting soaked during the concert was not my idea of fun, but it did not dampen most people’s enthusiasm during the show. However, in the spectrum of unpredictable Minnesota weather, heavy rain is much preferable to hail, high-winds and tornadoes (lightning seemed to be a non-issue, mercifully). At least with an outdoor concert scheduled in July in Minnesota, a blizzard does not enter into the forecast.

I think the only way I can adequately review my Minneapolis U2 weekend is to break it down into three parts: the Friday night Interference.com fan club get-together, the concert itself and the overall TCF Bank Stadium experience.

Interferencers (Blue Craicers, whatever) are rabid fans. We have been chomping at the bit for almost two years to have our fan meet-up in Minneapolis. It is always exciting to meet people that you have connected with online, but there often is a little apprehension, too. The “What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t like them? What if no one shows up?” thoughts run through my head. As has been my experience for this tour, those thoughts are useless. The other Minnesota fans are cool, nice people, and as a huge bonus, many fans from around the country (and a few from around the world) came to Minneapolis for the meet-up.

The Leaning Tower of Pizza on campus could not have been better hosts. Great, friendly servers keep us in drinks and food. It also helps to have a gathering in a university bar because no one blinks twice when there are spontaneous sing-a-longs to the U2 blaring from the jukebox. It was wonderful to see familiar faces again and a joy to meet so many new people, whether they were new to Interference or new to me in a non-internet setting.

Our plans for the concert as fans spanned a broad range; Some were going to get in the General Admission (GA) line almost immediately after the Friday night meeting, many of us were going to get in the GA line sometime during the afternoon, a few were lucky to have gotten Red Zone tickets, and a few others were headed for seats.

Walking in to the stadium, it was hard not to just stare at U2’s “Claw” stage even if I had seen it 10 times previously. It filled the field more than I had seen at any other show. After my initial awe, my eyes kept looking up to the skies, even though I had made peace with the possibility of rain. The hiking jacket and multiple Ziploc bags I had helped to mollify that fear.

 

There is far too much time between when the gates are opened and when U2 finally takes the stage, but it’s nice to use that time to wait for your other friends to arrive and to meet those strangers standing near you. As has been my experience for all of the shows I have been to this summer, the people around us ranged from U2 virgins to U2 veterans. It’s great to meet everyone, and it reminds me why I like to attend so many shows.

U2 took the stage and played four songs from Achtung Baby. Mysterious Ways barely had finished before the rain began. Edge had some guitar issues during Until The End Of The World, presumably from the wetness. The band and crew obviously knew that it would rain, so while adjustments were made on stage, the U2 continued seamlessly.

I was glad that after Get On Your Boots, Bono acknowledged that Minneapolis at one point was intended to be the final stop to the 360 Tour. This would have been fantastic, but I understand that financial and other considerations led to the final show being in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. Final shows often are epic and slightly longer than a normal show. I am ecstatic that I will get to attend that concert as well.

Even without being the final tour stop, it is obvious that the guys hold Minneapolis in high regard. The Vertigo Tour show at Target Center was one of the few tour stops that was honored with a rare second performance of Vertigo as the final encore. I was wondering how they might show their love for my city this time and was glad when Bono combined this affection with a special recognition of our state’s large immigrant population from the Horn of Africa. (Minnesota is home to the largest population of Somalis outside of Somalia, as well as many Ethiopians and Eritreans.) Toronto performer and Somali native, K’naan joined the band on stage for wonderful performance of Ben E. King’s Stand By Me.

As the rain fell harder, the band played on. I had heard during the 360 Tour shows last fall in Europe that the band, especially Bono and Adam, like to play in the rain and get even more enthusiastic. I didn’t necessarily believe that until Saturday night. Bono was having fun despite an occasional glitch from his drenched microphone. And Adam, much to the delight of some fans, finally stripped off his wet shirt. The bare-chested 51-year-old showed off his ripped chest and stomach as he smiled and marched around with his bass guitar.

Sunday Bloody Sunday by Tim Newell (in the pouring rain)

^video link

Snippets of songs about rain were peppered throughout the balance of U2’s performance; The highlight being a crooning of Purple Rain by Bono surrounding Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah which led into an amazing Where The Streets Have No Name.

During his introduction of the band, Bono alluded to the type of force of nature he heard from each band member during the previous show in New Jersey. Concluding the introductions with himself, Bono said, “Then I heard the voice of God. He said, ‘If you think you’re having fun now, wait ‘til you get to Minneapolis.’” That was funny on many levels. Bono is well-aware of his detractors who dislike his seemingly messianic traits, but he doesn’t care. And also, he is so charming and silver-tongued that I cannot help but half-smile and half-smirk as he so blatantly plays to his current crowd. Bono’s personality certainly is a large part of why the band has had such longevity and appeal. He, Edge, Adam and Larry drank in the cheers and applause before leaving the stage after the final song, Moment Of Surrender.

I am pleased that I got to experience a U2 “wet” performance at least once in my fan history. I wish it had been somewhere other than my home city, but there is no doubt that the soaked TCF Bank Stadium crowd loved the show.

The lines into the stadium were handled well; the lines for the buses after the show looked very long and slightly confusing. Overall, I think too many GA tickets were sold. The field was very crowded and finding your way through it was difficult. I am glad there was a plan in place in case of severe weather, but it was hard to believe that there would have been anything other than chaos on the field had there been an emergency. Since this was the inaugural concert at TCF Bank Stadium, some forgiveness can be offered for a little poor planning. Hopefully, for future shows, the stadium management will realize that they need access points to the field from both ends, that some portable toilets are needed on the field itself rather than requiring a long trek to the outside of the stadium and that fewer GA tickets should be sold. These are not minor complaints. The extreme crowding distracted from the show, but given how great U2’s performance was, ultimately I can overlook the flaws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 July 2011, TCF Bank Stadium

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Setlist

1. Even Better Than The Real Thing

2. The Fly

3. Mysterious Ways

4. Until The End Of The World

5. I Will Follow

6. Get On Your Boots

7. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

8. Stand By Me (with Somali native K’naan)

9. Stuck In A Moment (And You Can’t Get Out Of It)

10. Beautiful Day

11. Elevation

12. Pride (In The Name Of Love)

13. Miss Sarajevo

14. Zooropa

15. City Of Blinding Lights

16. Vertigo

17. Crazy Tonight Remix

18. Sunday Bloody Sunday

19. Scarlet

20. Walk On

21. One

22. Where The Streets Have No Name (Hallelujah intro)

-Encore-

23. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

24. With Or Without You

25. Moment Of Surrender

 

Review and Photos by kramwest1.

Special thanks to Tim Newell for his valiant video efforts.

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