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"We allow each other to pursue our goals. I wouldn't want to be married to someone who was not happy with what they were doing with their life and Bono wouldn't either." — Ali Hewson

by The Fly Guy

Night 2 in Chicago for the eXPERIENCE and iNNNOCENCE Tour and what a night it was.  We were in the Red Zone for the first time ever on any of the tours and did not know what to expect.  We had done GA for several shows, but with 3 small children at home now, we thought that Redzone would be a good alternative to GA so we didn't have to spend the whole day in the city.  It was a lot of money to spend, but it is for a great cause, and as mentioned above, probably the only way for us to still experience the show in GA.  It worked out great.  The Redzone team is awesome and made the check-in process very easy.  We were in the venue before the doors opened, so we couldn't go to the RZ areas until then, so we were in a holding area.  It was nice because you could buy merch, grab a beer, or whatever prior to the general public coming in.  We were divided into two lines, RZ1 (purple bands, North side / Adam's side) and RZ2 (orange bands, South side / Edge's side).  At 6:30p we were told we could walk to our areas.  We proceeded and found a spot on the front rail on the end of the stage.  It was a very good spot and knew we would see a lot of Adam and the rest of the band that night.  The bar service in the RZ was a nice perk, and the servers were great.  It was also extremely convenient to leave and come back without losing your spot.  We met some great people as we seem to always do in GA, so it was great that RZ was the same. 

The show began earlier than the previous night (no technical difficulties for this night) as Noel Gallagher's "It's A Beautiful World" began to play.  The lights dimmed, and it was show-time.  "Love is all We Have Left" kicked things off.  "The Blackout" then kicked things into high gear.  This is such a great live song.  It’s the first time I was able to see the screen head-on for the song, and wow, it’s hard to put into words how good it was.  "Light of Home" followed and didn't start this night with Bono falling, luckily.  The string version is great on tour, and the stage visuals are simply amazing.  "I Will Follow" kept the crowd singing and was followed by Chicago's debut of "Red Flag Day".  It was well received and the crowd seemed to really enjoy it.  It was the only change in the setlist from Night 1 to Night 2, as "Gloria" was dropped and replaced by it.  The setlist followed the same setlist as the previous shows with the exception of the noticeable omission of "Raised by Wolves".  I will admit the transition from "Sunday Bloody Sunday" to "Until the End of the World" has gotten better with Larry continuing to drum as he moves to the main stage.  We were at the St. Louis show when they first attempted to omit "Raised By Wolves", and that transition was very rough.  I could see it just becoming the norm going forward and maybe we'll just get used to it.  Mr. MacPhisto was in true form tonight as he snippeted Frank Sinatra's "My Kind of Town" and called out Russian President Vladimir Putin.  We then launched into "Acrobat", which I can’t say enough how happy I am that they are playing it live and how good it sounds live.  Skipping ahead to "Pride" we were near The Edge playing on his box which was awesome.  It was so cool to look behind us and see Larry drumming, look to our side and Adam playing the bass, Edge right in front of us and Bono singing the classic over on the 'e' stage.  After the song, Edge walked right by us to get back to the main stage and play "Get Out of Your Own Way".  It paired with "American Soul" as well as "Pride" before it are so good together.  They flow so well into one another.  "City of Blinding Lights" was amazing as always.  The encore for this tour (as I mentioned from Chicago 1) is really good.  Not the typical way U2 tends to end, but its so effective with the Women of the World recording that leads into "One".  Before “One” Bono acknowledged Ashley Judd, who was at the show, for her work and that she was off to the Congo to do 'God's Work'.  “Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way" is great live, and "13" is sweet.  Bono said before "13" that he has been 11, but with some experience has finally turned 13.  He had a couple of kind words for the city of Chicago has he made his way through the tunnel and out of the spotlight at the United Center. Amazing show.

The crowd in Chicago both nights were simply amazing.  Very few times did you look around and see anyone sitting or staying quiet.  It was loud!  So much that the band had a couple of moments where they seemed taken back by the energy that filled the United Center.  The new material from Songs of Experience was great live.  I could see a couple of the songs having staying power assuming U2 continues to tour into their 60s.  "The Blackout", "Get Out of Your Own Way", "American Soul", and "Red Flag Day" sound like they are classics already.  And that’s funny because "Red Flag Day" has only been performed 4 times, and the crowd took to it.  Even with 9 songs performed at this show from the new album, I couldn't help myself from wishing to hear more from it.  As far as their not being anything played from The Joshua Tree, I actually didn't miss it that much.  I love those songs, but the set was beautiful the way they have it arranged.  Now, I have been to several shows over the past 20+ years, so maybe that is why I feel this way, as I did hear some fans saying after "13"....that’s it?   They didn't play "With or Without You" or "Streets"?!  To me, changing it up is a good thing.  It shows that U2 can put on a great show without needing to rely so heavily on the past.  In a way, The Joshua Tree created an unintended shackle they couldn't breakaway from.  I never imagined going to a U2 show without Streets.  Now that I have, and can reflect on it, I can say I did miss it, but I didn't need it to enjoy the e&i tour.  If everyone feels that way, then it is a good thing for U2 moving forward.  It may create more flexibility and freedom with setlists on future tours. 

Great two nights in Chicago, we'll never forget them!

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