What A Tour! Top Moments From More Than Two Years of 360

August 6, 2011

What a tour! U2′s seemingly endless jaunt went on and on, as though Larry, Adam, Edge and Bono had finally resolved to never let go of their instruments, happy to circle the globe over and over to the delight of the millions of fans out there.

But, the adventure that began in June 2009 is finally over and with a plethora of shows, moments, and memories from this legendary world tour, I’ve boiled down some top moments from the past two years.

10. Liftoff in Barcelona

After much anticipation, hype, and rumors, U2 unleashed its architecturally striking 360 stage to an unsuspecting 65,000 fans at Camp Nou stadium.

Crowd, critics, and even the band itself seemed in genuine awe by the sheer size (90 feet tall) and magnitude of this new stage.

For the first time in the modern era of outdoor stadium rock, the audience turned into an undulating backdrop to the show. It was a grandiose opening night to what turned out to be a record setting extravaganza for the next two years.

9.  Zurich in the Rain

U2 has always been a band that plays rain or shine, no matter the elements; you can always count on a magnificent experience. This said, no one could have predicted the historical downpour that fell over Zurich on September 12th 2010, during the 3rd leg of the tour. The clouds opened up early over the Swiss sky, and instead of drying up as showtime neared, the rain just seemed to get worse.  What no one could have predicted was one of the most unforgettable concerts in U2 history. Fueled by the extreme weather, U2 unleashed a flurry of energy, playing with passion purpose, and even debuting the never heard before gem “Mercy” from the Atomic Bomb sessions. Oh yeah, did we mention Adam Clayton took off his shirt and showed of his bare chest?

8. The Return of Bono 2.0



On August 6, 2010 in Turin, Italy, U2 played their first concert since front man Bono’s back injury and subsequent emergency that forced the band to cancel 16 North American shows and their Glastonbury headline set.

Yes, Bono was back, and it was a beautiful day for sure, as the band came in full force with a brand new show, including never heard before songs and the return of “Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Kill Me,” not heard since the Popmart Tour.

7. Zooropa

With U2’s tour back in South America, the band continued to slip surprises into its setlists. Case in point: At the band’s stop in Sao Paulo, Brazil, fans were treated to the first performance of “Zooropa” since 1993. Before this, the song had only been played four times before. An inspiring moment for longtime followers of the band who only dreamt about this song ever seeing the light of day proved a preview for many of the remaining shows.

6. Patience Pays: North America Gets a Top Form U2

After a year long delay following Bono’s emergency, the U2 360 tour returned to North America with a sold out show at Invesco Stadium at Mile High in Denver, and boy, did patience paid off for North American fans. With a very different show from the earlier 360 incarnation, U2 came at the peak of their musical powers blasting through set-lists that included spectacular variety, including: “Even Better Than The Real Thing,” “The Fly,” “Zooropa,” “North Star,” and “Out of Control” among many others. In the words of Bono: “Through the wonders of science I’m not just fixed, I’m better!”

5. U2 Beats Pope for Giants Stadium Attendance Record

In the band’s last show at Giants Stadium before it’s torn down, U2 blasted the stadium’s attendance record with 84,472 fans coming out to see the Irish rock band’s show. Pope John Paul II held the previous record after his visit to the stadium in 1995 (82,948).

The significance of the historic feat was not lost on Bono: “News just in,” said Bono from the stage near the end of the night. “We’ve broken every record for attendance in this stadium — including the Pope. Sorry Bruce (Springsteen) — we know it’s your birthday and all.”

Later, Bono added, “I know they’re knocking this place down—we probably won’t be here again before the wrecking ball, but it was a magic place for us as well as the Giants.”

4. U2 Goes Home: 360 Style

U2 rocked fans from across the world in Dublin as the Irish hit new emotional highs on home soil with a spectacular three-concert homestand at Croke Park. In front of crowds waving flags from as far away as Brazil and Japan, Bono said tens of thousands had traveled worldwide to Dublin. “You know the best place to see U2 live is right here,” he said to adoring crowds. With setlists that varied throughout the three nights, songs from all eras where played including “Desire,” “Angel of Harlem,” “Stay,” “The Unforgettable Fire,” and “Bad.”

3. Explosive Night in Nashville

U2 made their first appearance in the Music City since December 1981, and for two hours, they made up for lost time, delivering a transcendent, magical performance for the ages that left fans exhausted, exhilarated, and transformed. But the shocker of the night came after “Moment Of Surrender,” a song the band had used to close nearly every show. Bono started talking to a fan in the audience who somehow managed to convince the frontman to let him come on stage and play guitar on “All I Want Is You.” At the end of what has to be the highlight of this blind man’s life, Bono gave him a little souvenir: his green Irish Falcon guitar. U2’s return to Nashville was an anthology dedicated to the power of music in the universe.

2. Glastonbury

Playing their first festival since the 80′s and with endless hype, support and even criticism, U2 unleashed a combative, frontloaded set calibrated to win the unconverted as they headlined Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage for the first time. Working with an additional video screen, they reach back to the early-90s not just with an opening salvo of songs from Achtung Baby but with the frenetic visual overload of the Zoo TV tour. It finds them at their fiercest and most urgent with The Edge wrenching bolts of noise from his guitar during “Until the End of the World.” With “One” and “Where the Streets Have No Name,” U2 proved the doubters wrong and came on top.

1. The Glorious Return of Ultra Violet (Light My Way)

Ask a hardcore U2 fan to create a top 5 list of Bono’s best lyrics, and you will find the majestic 1991’s gem “Ultra Violet (Light My Way)” in most of them. A song that had been completely ignored since the Zoo TV tour, fans had been clamoring and dreaming to one day hear this beauty see the light of day once again. Dream no more. After a week of rumors and hear say, opening night in Barcelona was the showcase in which the masterful song returned, and boy, was the wait worth it. Complete with a visual spectacle that included Bono dressed in a laser filled leather jacket while a fully illuminated mirror ball graced the 360 stage, fans around the world finally experienced this song live. The emotions, the power, and depth of the tune are still unmatched to many in U2’s catalogue and seeing it come back as triumphantly as ever became the staple of the 360 Tour for those of us lucky enough to experience it live.

– Jaime Rodriguez, Contributing Writer

Honorable Mentions for This List from the Interference Facebook Page:

“One Tree Hill” in Chi-town

“Bad/40” in Pittsburgh

Standing in the down pouring rain in Minnesota

When Bono started singing Rejoice…I was singing and crying and it was magical…

Picture Credits: Barcelona = Publikacciones Espana

Zurich = Matthias Muehlbradt

Turin = Live Nation Italy

Zooropa = Beth Navi

Denver = Rodrigo Baquera

New Jersey = Peter Hutchins

Dublin = Chris Williams

Nashville = Tim Hiber

Ultra Violet = Jonathan Puntervold

Glastonbury = Al De Perez







Feeling Bon Iver’s Deep Connection, Live In Nashville

August 3, 2011

In the three years that Bon Iver has been on the scene, front man Justin Vernon has implanted his sound in the collective consciousness of people across all spectrums.

Originally composed of Vernon himself, Bon Iver has added eight new members to the name. This change has occurred as Vernon’s musical style has evolved from his unique take on the one man and a guitar sound into something far deeper and more beautiful, and the Ryman Auditorium – built in the late 19th century as a house of worship – would be the stage where we would all witness this change.

The opening group The Rosebuds built the excitement with their short set. Their sound has a classic feel to it, carried by a lovely combination of keyboard and an electric violin.

When Justin Vernon appeared on the stage, it was as though our prodigal son had returned, and while we are in awe, Vernon seemed equally in awe of the reception he received. There is no sign of the typical musician’s arrogance. Instead, there is a humble look to him. The rest of the band took their places – nine characters in the play about to unfold before us.

Opening with “Perth” started slowly, like the first rays of sunlight coming over the horizon in the early morning, then rising higher and higher. The sound filled the room entirely, occupying ever possible space, until the air was saturated entirely with the raw sound. Vernon’s voice is high and while not exactly melodious, it is beautiful. Drums drilled a beat almost military in nature. The drive of the song tapped every heart in its energy and longing. In the height of the song, I found myself soaring to a place with the music that brought me to tears, and looking around, it was easy to see that many in the room felt the same soaring emotion.

The night flew through many highlights as the band played most songs from both the original album For Emma, Forever Ago, the EP Blood Bank, and the new album Bon Iver. In tribute to Nashville, Bon Iver performed a cover of Don Willams’ “If Hollywood Don’t Need You,” which was both surprising and beautiful.

For all the highlights we experienced, for all the joy that we felt and tears brought to our eyes, the true high point in the evening was the encore. Bon Iver returned to the stage to perform three of the original hits from For Emma, Forever Ago. “Flume” was first followed by “The Wolves,” during which we were asked by Vernon to join in singing the second half of the song, repeating the words “what might have been lost,” eventually raising our voices to a fever pitch in what Vernon called “something magical.”

Feeling increased excitement, we knew what to expect: the one song that had, to this point, not been heard. For many, “Skinny Love” has a deep connection, a tune about lost love that is as beautiful as it is full of hurt. It is the heartbreak song to end all heartbreak songs. Vernon approached the front of the stage and addressed us all, asking for our help in doing the song like it was in early days of his touring career.

He reached for a weathered steel guitar and began to play, unplugged, with the band at his sides. Even from my place near the back of the room, his voice called out, crystal clear and resonant. Overwhelmed, he carried us all to a place we are all familiar with. In one of the most beautiful moments I have ever witnessed, the first chorus began, and we all joined our voices as one, connected through the power and beauty of song. –Jordan Frye, Contributing Writer

Photo is from http://www.alyssainnashville.com/

360 Full Circle: U2 Ends Tour In Moncton

August 1, 2011

Not to start on a down note, but it is hard not to write an obituary. For many of us fans, U2’s 360 Tour stage, “The Claw,” has become an entity of its own. With the tour ending in Moncton, and the eventual fate of the Claws currently unknown, it is a little sad to think of the giant steel structure being disassembled for the last time. For more than two years, this engineering marvel has thrilled audiences around the world. Its arrival and assembly in town meant something cool and different was about to happen. It enhanced U2’s show without overshadowing them. It had a personality (if possibly only a projection of U2’s Willie Williams’ own personality) and some faults (legs that blocked some people’s views and a screen that increasingly lost some pixels). Such a presence will be missed, even if we know as fans that the band will return someday.

The end of a tour is both exciting and melancholy. U2 is able to relax and be a little more playful knowing that the demands of the tour will be over soon, but there also is an air of sadness with the eventuality of this production’s magic coming to an end.

Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada hosted this ending, and it did so well. With nearly 100,000 people in attendance, concerns about logistics in this smaller town were valid, and there were some glitches. Yes, traffic was somewhat difficult, but only those with unrealistic expectations could have been disappointed or annoyed. Moncton and its people embraced this event and should be proud of their efforts.

Carney kicked off the night with an ambitious performance. For me, too many cover songs marred what seems to be a relatively talented band.

The Arcade Fire took the stage for a performance that I had been anticipating for months. They played a fairly standard set, which is great for their long-time fans, but not immediately engaging for such a large crowd. The band has plenty of loud, catchy tunes to draw-in the audience, however it took almost 10 songs into their 12-song set for fans to be interested outside of the immediate Claw stage area. I had hoped that they might join U2 on stage at some point later that night like they had in Montreal on the Vertigo Tour. Unfortunately, as an Arcade Fire fan, they did not. Fortunately, as a U2 fan, it did not matter because Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry gave such a great performance without any special guests.

Many “ending” songs played over the stage’s speaker system before the band came out: The Rolling Stones The Last Time, REM’s It’s The End of The World As We Know It, etc. Also, two F-18 fighter jets made a few flyovers of the concert grounds before the show started. This may have thrilled the crowd more than either warm-up band.

Jet Flyover video link

Finally, U2 took the stage to the repeating opening riff of Even Better Than The Real Thing. As had been the case with previous shows, several Achtung Baby songs opened, then I Will Follow and Get On Your Boots. Bono continued the refrain, “Get on your boots, Moncton. Moncton… Moncton as opposed to Muck-Town. That’s not good.” –a reference to the incredibly muddy condition of the field. Most attendees were well-prepared for a wet evening since it had rained the entire day. Thankfully, the sky cleared up, and mud was the only annoyance to be endured. Bono referenced the rain as well saying, “Deep down, I know you like your rock stars wet.” I only can imagine that he was responding to any number of the signs that the die-hard fans were holding up in the Claw’s pit.

The Fly video link

After crowd sing-along favorite I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Bono performed a verse from Springhill Mining Disaster. A great cheer rose up as locals appreciated the small recognition from the band of the disaster that happened in nearby Nova Scotia.

Springhill Mining Disaster video link

Little flourishes throughout the night were reminders that this was a special show. Larry performed an extended drum solo at the end of Elevation. During the Crazy Tonight Remix, members of the 360 Tour crew replaced the usual faces of Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry on the video screen. Some of them mugged the way the guys usually do. Others smiled. Some looked embarrassed.



Much to the crowd’s delight, Bono belted out a beautiful and sorrowful verse of Hallelujah before the chiming guitar opening of Where The Streets Have No Name began. Streets always is a hit, but to see a mass of people in the General Admission section that flowed seemingly endlessly uphill from the stage clapping along was amazing.

Beautiful Day video link








The encore brought the usual trio of songs in addition to Bono’s multitude of “thank-yous” before Moment Of Surrender. As they played a particularly raucous version of Out Of Control, Bono, obviously enjoying the atmosphere, said during the middle section, “I’m not going anywhere without a bottle of champagne, so take as long as you want.” When he received the bottle, he opened it and began to spray the people in the pit. After a little discussion, Adam and Edge switched sides of the stage signifying they were going to play the traditional U2 show ending song, 40. While finishing his part, Bono removed his glasses and revealed his eyes welling up with tears.

It was a beautiful and emotional night. So many people in Moncton were seeing U2 and the 360 Tour for the first time, but as for myself and many others, we were seeing it for the last time. My U2 360 Tour spanned 12 shows in 9 cities in the U.S. and Canada, including the North American opener in Chicago and now the tour closer in Moncton.

Over the course of the tour, I have gotten to experience so many great things: meeting up with old friends, meeting new friends, visiting new cities, hearing new songs, hearing old songs redone, hearing songs I never thought I would get to hear live… just so many great things. It has been a wonderful ride. I would like to say a “hello” and a “take care” to all of my U2 AOL MB friends (you know who you are), my Interference friends (those I have met in person and those I have only met online) and to some of the random people I was fortunate to run into along the way: Chris and Stephanie, Alan, JJ and Katja, Audrie, Michel, Paul and others. I hope to see you again someday. I am so glad that we all took the time to introduce ourselves to the people around us. I am so glad we all met while seeing U2.

Bono added a long extra verse to the end of Stay (Faraway, So Close) Saturday night, and I think it is appropriate to close out the reviews of the 360 Tour:

“3 o’clock in the morning,

and the trucks roll out of town.

Ray Daniels, we’ll be thinking of you,

sittin’ on his cloud.

110 shows,

but strangely, this feels like home.

Glad my wife is here tonight.

It’s not a night to be alone.

Everbody’s lover,

everbody’s brother,

all came here for the show.

Some loves, some loves

are just so hard to let go.

3 o’clock in the morning.

It’s quiet. There’s no one around.

Just the bang and the clatter

As 360 leaves town.”







30 July 2011

Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Magnetic Hill Festival Grounds


1. Even Better Than The Real Thing

2. The Fly

3. Mysterious Ways

4. Until The End Of The World

5. I Will Follow

6. Get On Your Boots

7. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

(Springhill Mining Disaster snippet)

8. Stay (Faraway, So Close)

9. Beautiful Day

10. Elevation

11. Pride (In The Name Of Love)

12. Miss Sarajevo

13. Zooropa

14. City Of Blinding Lights

15. Vertigo

16. Crazy Tonight Remix

17. Sunday Bloody Sunday

18. Scarlet

19. Walk On

20. One

21. Where The Streets Have No Name (Hallelujah Intro)

22. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

23. With Or Without You

24. Moment Of Surrender

25. Out Of Control

26. 40


Review, photos and video by kramwest1