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[T]his has got to be the maddest and most absurd experience of my life. -- Bono, on meeting the Pope

by Michael

While I'm sure no one is still reading these reviews, I will still post mine just for my own cathartic reasons. This is the third time I have seen this tour, first D.C., then Baltimore, and now Pittsburgh. I have been in GA for all three, even though I did "wonder" during this one.

The concert started late, for reasons that I can't explain. The crowd and the band both seemed a bit tired when the show finally started. I could blame it on Interpol, but why offend somebody needlessly?

However, the group and audience gained ground after the first 30 minutes, even though they were filled with constant issues that ranged from broken strings to band miscommunication. It was just an odd and sloppy 30 minutes, but it was still U2.

From there, the band and energy greatly improved. Everything seemed better, and we were treated to some classic renditions of songs that made everyone sing, dance, and possibly cry at times. More on that later.

By the end, it was clear that the show was special, but when the band huddled, and we could audibly hear Bono say, "Look, let's play "Bad", the night became unique beyond compare. The version of the song was really impressive considering a lack of preparation. Larry kept trying to determine when Bono would actually get to the end of the correct phrasing before the instrumentation kicked back in!

Unfortunately, most folks seem to think the slow dancing duet during "With or Without You" was a touching moment, when in reality, it seemed long, staged, and lacking in feeling. It was a nice gesture though. The HIGHLIGHT was Bono's emphatic singing of the bridge in "City of Blinding Lights." He was clearly trying to explain to the child and the audience that it is a certain "TIME" in the world, and that this "TIME" won't wait for you. The clock is ticking folks....

Regardless, this experience ranked second to the D.C. show because I'm so distraught over the fact that they have abandoned the great "NO LINE ON THE HORIZON" material for the lesser material. If you have never witnessed "Breathe" or "Magnificent" live, you have NO IDEA what you're missing. The techno "Crazy" and depressing "Moment of Surrender" continue to drag this show down. "Crazy" is particularly annoying and just doesn't fit the tone of the show. They must have fun playing it.

The setup for GA in Pittsburgh was BIZARRE and really illogical. Foremost, for GA, we get "Port a Potties" and hand sanitizer????? I felt like mooing. It was gross. Food lines were long, but there were vendors on the floor for some drinks, mainly alcoholic, which is great when you're dehydrated. Boo hiss to the setup! Parking was a bit more reasonable than Baltimore, but again, D.C. was better.

We were able to exit the city much faster than any other city. The entrance into the city, however, was a total nightmare. It was the most frustrating thing I have ever experienced. There were accidents, construction everywhere, and every street was clogged!

I met some beautiful folks from near Cleveland, Sandy and Hillary, and a family with pastor in tow from northern Pittsburgh area. They were great, and together, we fought off the drunks trying squeeze into our preserved area.

I did go backstage with an hour left in the show, and that was a really neat experience. We saw Paul McGuiness, and one of the road crew gave my son a copy of the setlist. We saw the band walk off the stage, and the evening was pretty darn complete.

Now, I'm certain that NO ONE will read or heed this warning, but honestly, put your cell phone cameras away. They take crappy pictures, and you're holding them in front of everyone's view all night. Furthermore, to the gentlemen in the front on the Edge's side who held his IPHONE in the air all night just to capture audio, what planet are you from?????? It's audio. You blocked our view all night so you could capture audio. It was beyond rude, and it did nothing to improve your audio capture.

It was my son's first concert ever, and he was treated so kindly by the crowd and the band he came to see. Thanks U2 and Pittsburgh for a lifetime of memories!

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