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U2 review: Live at Soldier Field

U2 did what they do best at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 5, filled a stadium and put on a great show with striking visual elements and a stage design that was inclusive of its audience.

By Staff / July 7, 2011

U2 performed at Solider Field in Chicago on July 5 as part of their 360 Tour.

Ray Garbo/RG4 WENN/Newscom

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A disco ball perched atop the four-legged stage apparatus that housed U2; when it illuminated, lights shot heavenward.

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That about sums up the dual nature of this Irish band that long ago conquered America with its Christian-oriented rock anthems that, in latter-day incarnations, comfortably fit inside clubland.

At its current juncture, U2 seems to have nothing to prove other than it can continue to fill sports venues and become the favorite mascot of every city it visits. In Chicago at Soldier Field Tuesday, that goal was met easily enough, thanks to striking visual elements and a stage design that was inclusive of its audience at the same time making sure people knew who the big stars were.

Tickets for this current tour throughout North America have been available for two years; last summer the band idled its 16-date summer tour following emergency spine surgery performed on Bono following an injury he sustained during May rehearsals in Munich.

The year-long delay allowed the band to update references and for its lead singer to take it easy from the usual nonstop stage stalking he’s known for in the past.

Familiar themes rippled through the show, from favorite causes (on “Walk On,” children lined the performing walkways holding illuminated boxes to celebrate Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary) to global luminaries (Mark Kelly, astronaut husband of wounded US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, introduced “Beautiful Day” from the international space station).

And for a band known for making bridges, to African aid and, more recently, Broadway, at times there was a reliance on the actual thing: two bridges that rotated left and right, allowing the band to break huddle and separate in what, at times, looked like door-to-door campaigning.

The video funnel that hovered above the action played real-time footage of the band onstage, but at times – especially during “Zooropa” when it enveloped the band like in a cocoon – the visual finesse did too good a job and removed the audience from the actual songs at hand.

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