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View from the (Red) zone
U2 360 Tour
Member Name: tommy7
U2 360 Tour
Date: 21/10/09, updated on 24/10/09 (2170 review reads)
Advantages: Seeing the world's best band in the flesh
Disadvantages: View wasn't great
Arriving in Glasgow at 3pm was interesting. Between the concert and the Celtic vs Arsenal game I couldn't get a seat on the train due to the crowds. Unfortunately I only caught the last song the support act (Glasvegas) played, as I seriously misjudged the distance to Hampden stadium from the centre of Glasgow and we spent too long in the Counting House pub soaking up the atmosphere.
Initial impressions of the (Red) zone were excellent. We were in a kind of pen that would have held 750-1000 people and there were only 70 of us in it. I expected it to fill up in the lead up to U2 coming on but it didn't, the auctions were obviously seriously in need of more advertising. So we had a ridiculous amount of space which seemed crazy when there were people being held behind a barrier 20ft behind us. The stage was unbelievable, shaped like a massive claw with various walkways and a massive screen up top. Try and find an image of it online, ideally a video to fully appreciate what a magnificent structure this is (or see it virtually at http://360.u2.com/). Annoyingly it became one of the problems. The (Red) zones are close in proximity to the stage but in the wrong position. Thinking it was a 360 degree concert (so it will be fine), proved to be completely incorrect. If you imagine being at the cinema and sitting at the edge of the front row then quadruple the width that's roughly where you are in terms of angles. So you feel like you are at the event but largely being ignored. All four band members did walk the perimeter at one point each. Bono didn't even make it past the bit we were at though. Really disappointing, especially when the bridges to the main stage would move between songs as if they were coming over this time but it never happened. To be fair they maybe didn't want the screens to capture what was a ridiculously empty area in a sold out concert.
The other annoyance was that we were too close to the stage to really take in the whole spectacle. The stage was above our head height so we had a poor view of it and as it was so close we had to choose to attempt to grab the odd glance of the band or to look up at the roof to see the screens.
That said this was the second best of the four U2 concerts I have been to. I was expecting it to be excellent as the current album is the best for a while so it meant there weren't going to be many bad tracks (only one as it turned out). The set list was
No Line On The Horizon
Get On Your Boots
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Stuck In A Moment (You Can't Get Out Of)
City of Blinding Lights
I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (Remix)
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Pride (In The Name of Love)
Where The Streets Have No Name
A break then lead into an encore of
With Or Without You
Moment of Surrender
This to my mind was an excellent choice and although I have personal favourites, I would rather have heard, I think they played a well rounded set. The set on this tour doesn't change too much, 90% of it will stay the same 'Bad' and some of the tracks from All That You Cant Leave Behind sometimes make an appearance.
There were many highlights on the night. The real stand outs were an extremely atmospheric Unforgettable Fire where the whole stadium was bathed in red light whilst the smoke generators added hugely to the atmosphere. A nice touch was when I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For and the band took a back seat to allow the crowd to take the lead. I was pleasantly surprised by how in tune the crowd managed to be! The final and real highlight was the magnificent encore. These are three of my all time favourite tracks. Bono appeared in a jacket which had lights incorporated into it which was really unusual but worked well through Ultraviolet. With or Without You is always a standout and Moment of Surrender was the best concert closer since Love is Blindness finished the Zoo TV tour in 1993.
There was a disappointment when the sound system cut out during Walk On and the Glasgow crowd were surprisingly quick to vent their fury which I was a bit disappointed with. This only lasted 10 seconds or so but it happened at a bad time with Bono in full voice in his tribute to Aung San Auu Kyi, the Burmese politician who is being held under house arrest.
Another small disappointment was that U2.com had the set list up the following day and Mysterious Ways was meant to follow One in closing the opening set. This must have been planned but didn't happen for whatever reason. It's a track I love hearing live so it was a shame it was cut, presumably due to a late start.
The final disappointment is that you will see that I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight was a remix. This is a track which has grown and grown on me and will be the next single. I was expecting it to be interesting live and instead of those amazing opening notes I was given an absolute nonsense version of the track. I am still at a loss as to how anyone could think this was a good idea and this was the biggest disappointment of the night. Hopefully I will get to hear it properly, live one day.
This was an excellent concert and the issues I have highlighted were all that stopped it from being perfect. In reality you will never get a perfect view and the set list more than made up for it. The DVD will be spectacular though.
So to sum up is (Red) zone worth it? I would say definitely, there was no booking fee and the general admission tickets were £55 so we paid around double the general admission price but for this the experience was much better and hopefully most, if not all, of the extra went to the (Red) charity, I suspect it will as U2 are passionate supporters of this charity.
You can view a lot of fairly high definition clips on You Tube. I would jump at the chance of attending this if the tour comes near you.
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