U2 6/28/17

(a) setlist

    1. Sunday Bloody Sunday
    2. New Year’s Day
    3. Bad
    4. Pride (In The Name of Love)
  1. The Joshua Tree
    1. Where The Streets Have No Name
    2. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
    3. With or Without You
    4. Bullet The Blue Sky
    5. Running To Stand Still
    6. Red Hill Mining Town
    7. In God’s Country
    8. Trip Through Your Wires
    9. One Tree Hill
    10. Exit
    11. Mothers of the Disappeared

Encore:

  1. Miss Sarajevo
  2. Beautiful Day
  3. Elevation
  4. Vertigo
  5. Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
  6. One
  7. The Little Things That Give You Away

 

(b) highlights

  • U2!!!!! what!!
  • people who hate U2 and people who hate Joshua Tree and people who hate Bono are the epitome of why 60% of the Bible is God going, “Oh, you don’t like when I give you nice things? Fine, here’s a plague, here’s a flood, learn to swim, girl bye.”
  • can we just talk about the first 7 songs in this setlist. just those 7. um. Give me the name of ONE band in the world right now that’s still together and still performing that has 7 incredible, perfect, and more recognizable songs than “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “New Year’s Day,” “Bad,” “Pride (In The Name of Love),” “Where The Streets Have No Name,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” and “With or Without You.” Please send the name of such bands and their songs to my twitter (@Kat_Wilde) or Instagram (@katgoestoshows) or comment below here, thanks.
  • ULTRAVIOLET (LIGHT MY WAY). I cried. the band paired it with incredible images of famous and infamous women in history who lit the way for all the women after. I seriously cried, so so beautiful.
  • Speaking of the visuals, CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE VISUALS?? none of my pictures do it justice. U2 takes production to The. Next. Level. Every. Time.

(c) lowlights

  • I have really bad anxiety with heights and we were so high up in this actual STADIUM that my ears popped, ugh
  • we were really far away but honestly that’s not Bono’s fault, that’s my wallet’s fault

 

(d) overall thoughts

I’ve seen U2 once before this and wrote extensively on how they get too much hate in what feels like every corner of the internet at this point, so I won’t go too much into it. Long story short, people who bitch about U2 are probably the same people who bitch about getting free bread before their meal at restaurants. Oh, they brought bread? Now I’m going to be too full for dinner 😦 Oh, pack it in. U2 is great, go choke on that bread.

MetLife in East Rutherford, New Jersey is a bit of a trek from New York City, but it wasn’t going to stop what felt like half of Midtown from piling into Penn Station. You couldn’t turn a single corner without seeing an authentic Joshua Tree tour shirt from 1987, or someone in an Innocence Tour tee. The crowd was overwhelmingly older – which is to be expected – but still crossing a lot of demographics. And I think that’s one of my favorite thing’s about this band’s music: despite having such a strong point of view, U2’s music truly crosses all barriers and time in such a way that anyone can connect with it. I mean, you’d have to be living in remote parts of the world to have never heard those first 7 tracks on that setlist and not felt even the slightest emotion of connection.

Even though Joshua Tree is an album that’s older than me, it’s no surprise that it was the one that finally gave U2 their big break in America. The imagery of the endless landscape, roaring mountains, dirty deserts, rusted cars on highways, all in God’s country – these monuments feel so embedded in Americana at this point that I feel like so many people have forgotten how U2 revitalized these sentiments during a time when no one was interested. There wasn’t much to be proud of in American culture in the mid-80’s with decades of war, homelessness, strife, attack on civil liberties, clear injustices and discrimination. U2 manages to address these points out of the music while celebrating the positive and only slightly touching on them in context. In a way, they remain respectful but vigilant – merely Irishmen living on the outside, but admiring within.

This performance at MetLife was ultimately successful not simply in its nostalgia (I mean, anyone can do nostalgia these days with more and more bands performing anniversary tours to both celebrate and cash checks), but in its ability to transport the audience and visually tell a musical story. The gigantic screen of lights 50 feet high and 200 feet across could be seen from any seat in the stadium, and truly led the crowd through not only 1987, but America. Everything U2 does feels precise, well-intentioned, and deliberate, which is not something I can say for other musicians of lesser caliber. And should mean something in 2017.

The earnestness, talent, and strength of Joshua Tree and U2’s music ultimately reveals more of its audience than the band. But you know what does give U2 away? This. At the very end of the show, Bono told the crowd, “Our first show in America was just across the river there. At the Ritz. Not all of you were there, I assure you. Only about 10 people were and that was 1980. It feels like we’ve come so far now and not too far at all.” Isn’t that amazing? Instantly, all at once, Bono has revealed all the cards in his hand and U2 makes so much sense as a band, a group, as people. And we should be so lucky.

Bottom line: U2 are untouchable, a true staple in the entirety of modern music. Only performers of their caliber could perform a 30-Year Anniversary tour for an album that remains more relevant than ever without appealing to pure nostalgia but simply transporting its listeners through a state of being. U2 have the honor of being both incredibly timely and utterly timeless, and that’s never a bad thing in my book.

 

Coldplay 7/17/16

(a) setlist

    1. A Head Full of Dreams
    2. Yellow
    3. Every Teardrop is a Waterfall
    4. The Scientist
    5. Birds
    6. Paradise
    7. Always in My Head
    8. Princess of China
    9. Everglow
    10. Clocks
    11. Midnight
    12. Charlie Brown
    13. Hymn For the Weekend
    14. Fix You
    15. Heroes (David Bowie cover)
    16. Viva La Vida
    17. Adventure of a Lifetime
    18. Trouble (acoustic)
    19. God Put a Smile Upon Your Face (acoustic)

Encore:

  1. Earth Angel (The Penguins cover) (performed with Michael J. Fox)
  2. Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry cover) (performed with Michael J. Fox)
  3. A Sky Full of Stars
  4. Up & Up

(b) highlights

  • seeing Coldplay for the first time was pretty cool, I guess!
  • ummmmm, Michael J. Fox came out and played two songs from one of the greatest movies of all time, Back to the Future, and apparently some people weren’t crying which is insane to me because I was sobbing
  • “Trouble”!!! “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face”!!! “Yellow”!!! “The Scientist”!!! Basically anything released before X&Y!!!!
  • seeing “Up & Up” was pretty cool, considering it’s my favorite track from Coldplay’s newest album, Adventure of a Lifetime (I swear that Noel Gallagher, who plays guitar on it, has something to do with it)
  • getting to experience a literal stadium of people singing along to a song like “Fix You” really is something you treasure forever, even if it’s a bit overly packaged up and wrapped in an over-produced bow; it’s still a beautiful song

(c) lowlights

  • ironically, a lowlight was literally all the light-up bracelets Coldplay is known for having at their shows; I get that they’re supposed to add something to the experience and that they “look cool” when all of them light up accordingly, but I personally found them really distracting; the best songs I found where ones where the bracelets weren’t implemented at all
  • why does Chris Martin have to be so annoying? it’s like – I know that he’s honestly probably not a bad dude, but there’s this strange self-righteousness about him that puts me over the edge. oh and he dresses like he shops at a store where Lisa Frank somehow sponsored clothing for grown men
  • getting to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey from NYC is literal. hell. on. earth.

(d) overall thoughts

I have a lot of conflicting thoughts about Coldplay that can basically be brought down to this: I think their first two albums, Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head, are mindblowingly incredible records, and 75% of everything else they’ve put out is garbage. Now, I know that’s not really fair and maybe it’s not even true, but it feels real to me. To me, X&Y was ultimately a very disappointing album that included a couple of good tracks – “Talk” and “Fix You.” I hated Viva La Vida when it came out, but grew to really like about half the record a few years later. I thought Mylo Xylophone (I know it’s not called that but I swear I can’t ever remember the real name so I just call it that and honestly, does anyone actually care? no.) was overwhelmingly pop trash, but I could allow myself to relent to it and even enjoy about half of it. I thought their “stripped back” and “underproduced” album Ghost Stories was absolutely dull and worked like a sleeping pill, and believe their newest Adventure of a Lifetime is a midlife crisis album with little soul or heart save one or two songs.

All of that may seem harsh and confusing considering I went all the way to New Jersey to see them in a stadium, but the truth is this: I want to like Coldplay. I want them to win me over and blow me away. But they just don’t, in terms of recent album releases. So, I decided to give them a chance and see them live. And did they blow me away? No. Were they totally terrible? No. Do I still feel just as confused about them as before? Yeah, pretty much.

The moments I’ll remember most from the performance are Michael J. Fox joining the band to perform “Earth Angel” and “Johnny B. Goode,” and not just because Back to the Future is one of my favorite movies ever. I definitely won’t forget how everyone was singing along to “Yellow” and “Fix You,” and how it felt like everything in the entire stadium had stopped when the band played “Trouble” on a small side stage, only with acoustic guitars to accompany them. I’ll even remember everyone singing the refrain of “Up & Up” as the night came to a close. And I want to remember all those moments, because they were beautiful.

But you know what I wish I could forget about that night? I wish I could forget about the fact that fireworks – real fireworks, not just spark displays – went off four times during the performance. Four. I wish I could forget how those damn light-up bracelets made everyone scream with joy as if no one had ever seen shiny lights before in their lives. I wish I could forget about the gimmicks of the performance because, to be honest, they all felt a bit cheap despite the fact that they were clearly some display of overcompensation I’ll never understand. Truly, one of my favorite parts of the night was during “Yellow” – and that song isn’t even one of my favorite Coldplay tracks or anything. I mean, it is pretty great and definitely a classic, but it affected me so much because it was the first song without any damn fireworks or flashing lights or some big whole display. It was literally just the band playing their song on a stage. That’s all. That might not be what people want when they pay to see an internationally renowned band at a 60,000+ person stadium, but maybe that’s just me. Maybe I was never meant to really see Coldplay in that setting because the Coldplay I used to love doesn’t exist anymore. And that’s okay! Because, despite all those flashing lights (“all those lights and all that sound,” ughhhh), the beautiful moments were still wonderful in their own right and that’s something strong enough to want to remember.

 

Bottom line: Seeing Coldplay didn’t really solve my conflicted feelings about them, but more settled the fact that human beings seem to really, really like flashing lights. Despite that, Michael J. Fox and Back to the Future reenactments aren’t something I could turn down and neither are Coldplay songs written before 2005.

Note: These pictures are either taken with my Canon Rebel XS, a Galaxy s5, or through a monocular….because I was literally sitting in the rafters, don’t judge.