U2 At MetLife, Wednesday, June 28th, 2017, Reviewed
U2 is one of the few bands that can easily fill stadiums, and I mean with their sound and presence, not the number of fannies in the seats. They demonstrated this again at the Meadowlands.
The Lumineers opened the show with an entertaining set. They are very much in the alt/folk/rock school of Mumford and Sons, Lone Bellow, the Head and the Heart and other bands of that ilk. Their songs are good but do tend to all sound the same. The performance was enthusiastic, although they played to a mostly empty stadium at the start. They were done by about 8:10.
Then we waited. And waited. And waited. U2 did not come on until 9:30. I think that’s just rude, discourteous to the customers who paid top dollar for the show.
Once the band hit the stage, all was forgiven, at least temporarily. They started out on a small satellite stage, no video screens, but there was no sense that these four Irishmen were dwarfed by the surroundings. They performed four earlier songs, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, “ New Year’s Day”, “Bad” and “Pride” brilliantly and passionately.
They then moved to the main stage. In front of a huge hi-def video screen, they performed the Joshua Tree album start to finish. The videos, many of stark Western landscapes, added tremendously the atmosphere of the first few songs. The problem with the Joshua Tree as a performance piece is that, like several other U2 albums, it’s heavily front loaded. The first four songs are killer. From “Where the Streets Have No Name’ through “Bullet the Blue Sky”, the continued the momentum of the earlier songs. The rest, although good, don’t all lend themselves to a huge stadium show. “Exit” in particular was an unholy mess.
After a brief break, the band returned for a set of post-Joshua Tree songs, more or less in chronological order. “Miss Sarajevo” with a canned Pavarotti vocal was only meh, but the next few, “Beautiful Day”,”Elevation” and“Vertigo” brought things back to a fever pitch. “Ultraviolet” from Achtung Baby was somehow turned into a feminist statement with pictures of famous women on the screen. I’m not sure how Sojourner Truth and Grace Jones belong in the same category, nor what the lyrics have to do with this theme.Preacher Bono was a bit over the top here- if you want to deliver a sermon start a little earlier.
They finished up with “One”, then a new song from the forthcoming “Songs of Experience” album. Nothing from No Line or Songs of Innocence.
Grade B+- downgraded from A- for the overlong wait.
U2 at MetLife Stadium – 6/28/17 Setlist
Sunday Bloody Sunday
New Year’s Day
Pride (In the Name of Love)
Where the Streets Have No Name
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
With or Without You
Bullet the Blue Sky
Running to Stand Still
Red Hill Mining Town
In God’s Country
Trip Through Your Wires
One Tree Hill
Mothers of the Disappeared
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
The Little Things That Give You Away