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"[T]he lyrics aren't literature; they are only part of the story." — Bono



by Sam B

In another fan review on this page "Pedro Maloy" suggests that those complaining about this show aren't real U2 "fans".

Well putting my fan credentials on the table I have been to 17 U2 shows in 9 different cities and 6 different Countries. I have purchased every single U2 release (all formats) on day of release for the past 22 years and have spent a small fortune on U2 promos & other rarities, so it being suggested that I (as a complainer of this show) am not a real "fan" is quite offensive.

Of all the complainers who've posted so far. Few (if any) have criticised the boys performance, and with so many complaints being aired it is fairly apparent that there were huge problems at this show as no other show reviews section has a % of complaints as high as this Hampden one does.

I never believed I'd diss a U2 show, but the stage set up at Hampden was unacceptable. To put into perspective how bad it was, seating at the sides had no view of the stage whatsoever.
We are not talking restricted view, we really are talking no view whatsover as the seats were behind stage level by approx 2 metres, so when looking at the stage all you could see was the side of a speaker stack (speakers were stacked from the ground and not suspended from above as they were in the U.S.). To compensate for this a small video screen had been attached to the side of the speaker stack to enable the people in these seats to see the performance.
I am sure everybody who was in the side blocks of seats (4000 - 5000?) will agree with me when I say that if I wanted to watch the Vertigo tour on TV I'd have waited for the tour DVD and only paid a fraction of the price.
Watching the small video screen which at the distance from where I was sitting was the equivillant of sitting at one end of a room watching a 14" TV at the other end of the room (very small), really was the only option as the only time the boys were visible "in the flesh" was when they were on the Catwalks and at no other time whatsoever. (I really can't stress enough that the view of the band wasn't just restricted, it was non existant).

The sound quality was truly shocking. You don't expect perfect sound in a stadium, but you do expect to be able to hear the songs being played rather than a mutation of whats coming out the speakers.
To put this in perspective we are not just talking a bad sound mix (which was without a doubt also bad - low vocals etc), the sound was so bad that the songs were mutated to the point of being unrecognisable.
The main reason for this sound mutation was the echo from the stands which was continuously layering the sound over itself with time delay resulting in a wall of noise rather than anything remotely close to the sound of the band we all love.
While the shape of Hampdens stands is without a doubt the main cause of this echo problem, I still feel the problem lies directly at the feet of U2 & their staff as a better arena layout would've averted this.
As far as I could see the reason for the echo / wall of noise was that the rear speakers had been placed directly in front of the stadium stand(s) which was / were in most cases less than 5 metres away from the speaker columns. Which had the same effect as placing your hifi speaker directly in front of a tin bucket - the sound gets trapped inside the bucket / stand and bounces around and results in the sound becoming mutated to the ear.
Blaming the poor sound on "Hampdump" just isn't fair, as better management & positioning of the sound towers & use of sound dampeners / deflectors would've rectified this and while not 100% solving echo problem could've resolved it to the point where people could at least recognise the songs being played.
Other bands are able to attain a respectable sound at Hampden, so I don't see why the biggest band in the world can't.

I'm sure U2 pay good money / hire staff to have venues surveyed in advance to ensure visibility & audio are at an acceptable level for everybody, though it's apparent that someone never done their job at Hampden.

I can fully understand why "real fans" left in disgust (imagine how you'd feel if you'd paid 65 and could neither see or hear the band). I personally hung it out until 2 songs from the end (had to leave to catch the last train home as having to sleep on the street would've really topped things off!) and left feeling both disappointed and cheated.

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