by David Ditzel
I've been a U2 fan since the War album. I first saw them in '84 for the Unforgettable Fire Tour in a small theater in Detroit, '87 Joshua Tree Tour, '92 ZOO TV first leg and '93 ZOO TV Outside Broadcast. All of which were the best concerts I've ever seen. The indoor leg of ZOO TV was the best concert ever. I had 15th row center seats.
So I've seen them before and know to a degree what to expect and I have to say I was really disappointed. The order of songs they played lacked any momentum. They kind of played in fits and spurts. There were moments of brilliance and boredom. The stage and the LED screen were great but I was mostly shocked by the lack of passion in their performance. I don't need Bono to get up on a soap box to get me fired up. A lot of times the sheer power and beauty of their band chemistry and musicianship in concert can be wonderfully overwhelming and I sensed none of that tonight. It really seemed like they were going through the motions. That's surprising because Chicago has a notoriously strong U2 fan base. Past Chicago U2 concerts had been really rowdy affairs. Tonight was a sold out show, the fans seemed pumped but it never lasted for a whole song.
It was a good show but not a great show. After being completely blown away by ZOO TV, where it seemed everything had an intelligent/ironic/emotional/humorous purpose, I was afraid that they had reached their creative zenith concertwise. This seems to be true with PopMart. Sadly, I left this show wondering if they'll ever do this again but happy to have been taken on a wonderful 14 year ride.