U2 Rocks the Meadowlands

Okay, it’s got nothing to do with ETFs, but I saw U2 at the Meadowlands last night and the show was amazing.

There’s no escaping it. After 35 years together with all four original members, these guys are the greatest living rock band. I’d seen them about 10 years ago, so I knew what to expect and they still blew me away. I’ve seen the Rolling Stones, the Who, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, David Bowie and the Talking Heads, but this was by far the biggest rock extravaganza I’ve ever seen.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that every other song is a mega hit. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of one of their most experimental albums, Achtung Baby, the show took off with a bang from the start with four songs from that album, “Even Better Than the Real Thing,” “The Fly,” “Mysterious Ways” and “Until the End of the World.”

Called the 360 degree tour because of the enormous stage set that allows the band to play to the entire stadium, the show highlighted songs from their entire career, all the way from their punk beginnings with “I Will Follow.” The show was big and bombastic, but what do you expect with Bono, a lead singer who’s persona is “rock messiah.” Still, the band can bring it to the last row of the monstrosity that is Giant’s Stadium. I know. My tickets were literally in the last row. This was made abundantly clear considering Interpol, the opening band, really couldn’t fill the space with their sound. With just Larry Mullen on drums and Adam Clayton on bass, the heavy reverb guitar playing of The Edge filled every corner of the coliseum.

The Claw, the huge spaceship set hovering over the stage, held a giant honeycomb device that provided both the screen for the videos of the stage as well as the dynamic light show, which added a nice dimension to U2’s transcendent songs.

Considering the tour is nearing its end, it was amazing how much enthusiasm the band had. But they were clearly energized by playing in the new stadium and for the New Jersey crowd, evidenced by Bono reading the set list form U2’s first Jersey show 30 years earlier. They even paid tribute to Clarence Clemons, the recently deceased saxophone player in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.

Reports say at 26 songs, it’s the longest U2 show ever, with the final encore their first hit “Out of Control”, a major crowd pleaser.

However, I must say I’m never seeing another show at the Meadowlands again, ever. The traffic situation into the arena is abysmal. It’s only 10 miles to the stadium from Manhattan, but it took us two hours to get there. We were literally in a traffic jam from 56th Street and the West Side Highway to the Meadowlands parking lot.

Set List.

Even Better Than The Real Thing
The Fly
Mysterious Ways
Until the End of the World
Anthem,
I Will Follow
Get On Your Boots
Magnificent
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Promised Land, Stay
In the Wee Small Hours
Beautiful Day
Space Oddity
Elevation
Pride
Miss Sarajevo
Zooropa
City of Blinding Lights
Vertigo
I’ll Go Crazy
Discotheque
Psycho Killer
Life During Wartime
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Scarlet
Walk On
Encores: One
Hallelujah
Where the Streets Have No Name
Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me
With or Without You
Moment of Surrender
Out of Control

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