It’s difficult not to get pumped up for the U2 show Thursday at Lincoln Financial Field. Sure, it’s a stadium concert but that’s the way it’s been for much of U2’s existence.
U2 made its Philadelphia stadium debut in 1987 at the late and not lamented JFK Stadium. It was one of the best stadium shows I ever witnessed. Bruce Springsteen joined Bono and co. for an inspired version of ‘Stand By Me.’
Sure, it would be nice to catch U2 in an intimate setting. The iconic Irish band was spectacular playing the 1,100 capacity Irving Plaza in Manhattan a decade ago.
For some crazy reason, I recall more moments from U2 shows at Giants Stadium and the Vet, rather than the Irving Plaza concert. The group is usually good for at least a couple very memorable moments per show. That’s been the U2 story ever since I first caught the quartet in 1983 at the Tower Theater.
Who can forget the 1984 show at the Tower, which kicked off ‘The Unforgettable Fire’ tour when Bono uttered, ‘I think I lost my voice?’ and the crowd carried him for the rest of the night?
The best U2 show I ever experienced capped the Joshua Tree tour. I hit 13 shows and the finest of the bunch occurred at the Hampton Coliseum in Virginia. I never saw the band looser or more playful. It was the last concert before the band filmed ‘Rattle and Hum’ in Arizona. The group truly arrived.
It’s never been the same since then but that’s what happens to rock bands that become mega-successful. There are fans, who jump off the bandwagon when a group becomes crazy popular but those are the ones who miss out.
U2 has perhaps been the most consistent band since it emerged out of Dublin in 1980. Who else has been this good over a 30-year span? The group has released a number of great albums (1987’s ‘The Joshua Tree,’ 1991’S ‘Achtung Baby,’) and good releases (1980’s ‘Boy,’ 1984’s ‘The Unforgettable Fire’ and 2000’s ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind.’).
The group’s latest ‘2009’s ‘No Line on the Horizon’ is another solid offering. U2 has put together an enviable canon, to put it mildly.
Their creative streak has lasted from youth to middle-age. Grunge, nu-metal or any other style has been unable to derail U2, which is bigger than any musical or pop culture movement.
U2 has rendered its share of memorable live performances. Who can forget their inspired, in the moment appearance at 1985’s ‘Live Aid? It was utterly transcendent yet the word was that the band was close to calling it a day after that concert.
That’s hard to believe since U2 is a genuine rarity since there has never been a personnel change. It’s been Bono, guitarist Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. since day one. It’s been a remarkable run, which shows no signs of ending.