U2 | 7.17.11

The front man proclaimed that despite a bigger stage than the bands first St. Louis performance 30 years prior, the band still had much in common with their younger selves.




Cencio Boc Photos
Words are simply not meant for some events. Music journalists do their best to analyze every aspect to decipher what equals talent or worthiness to a society, but the fact is that at a concert 95% of the people attending are trying to do quite the opposite. Concerts are about shutting down, enjoying a spectacle, and if there is talent involved then it’s all for the better.
U2 have spent much of the last decade (some would argue longer) trying to prove said worthiness, much to the chagrin of the press, but to continued undying support of long-time fans. Coming in to St. Louis as they have nearly wrapped up their record setting 360 Tour seemed a shame as the band seem to have become every bit the live Mecca of musical performance that classic rock music so desperately needs. 
With nearly all of their counterparts rendered either culturally irrelevant, or left with few original members, Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr, have long survived any  rifts that would have other ripped to pieces. The group didn’t show their age, Bono swung from a suspended microphone during a intense encore performance of “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” over two hours after the band had taken the stage. The front man also proclaimed that despite a bigger stage than the bands first St. Louis performance 30 years prior, the band still had many things in common with their younger selves.  Mullen, he suggested, still thought the band was “a great way to pick up girls”, though he admitted, “it is!”. 
The band seemed genuinely enthused to be in town despite the intense heat the forced Bono to leave the stage momentarily to get a new shirt. One moment in particular that was truly magical, as the singer later crowned the night, was after “Pride(In the Name Of Love)” when what seemed like for five minutes after the song, every voice in the stadium seemingly echoed the songs chant out with absolutely no prodding from the band. 
Few moments seemed to go over without complete astonishment, though the crowd did seem to slightly loose interest during a stirring take on “Miss Sarajevo”, as well as the acid-trip that is “Zooropa”. The group quickly got back in the groove with one of only three songs off of 2009s’ No Line on the Horizon, “City of Blinding Lights”.  Though there were political moments, many of Bono’s appeals were in fact quite touching. Introducing “Beautiful Day” via a pre-recorded message directly from the International Space Station was astronaut Mark Kelly, whom, though he is back at home now, requested that they “tell my wife I love her very much, she knows,” echoing the groups intro tune, David Bowie’s, “Space Oddity”. Kelly being the husband of AZ congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
As the concert was coming to a close, the band launched into a haunting albeit empowering, “Moment of Surrender” which was dedicated the people of Joplin, MO. Though being the largest concert in the history of St. Louis, moments like those made it feel at least as intimate as the bands normal arena shows… well that and the enormous stage. | Bruce Matlock 

Photos by Cencio Boc:
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