U2 in Review: Melancholy Thoughts from Soldier Field

Katy and I saw U2 on Saturday night at Chicago’s soldier field.  It was the perfect North American setting for this concert.  Soldier Field is surrounded by Lake Michigan, Chicago’s finest museums and the awesome Chicago skyline.  It is also located only few short miles away from where President Obama lives and launched his community organizing and political careers.   The stadium itself is a futuristic mashup of the old and space-age; a perfect place for U2’s stage/multi-media spaceship w

Bono and friends tried to deliver a transcendent artisitic/political/spiritual experience and the show got some fantastic reviews.  Here is Rolling Stone’s take and the Chicago Tribune blog had some very nice things to say.

Along with a nice mix of old and new songs, we saw images from this summer’s protests in Iran, were encouraged to be in solidarity with Burmeese freedom fighter Aung San Suu Kyi and had a video message from Desmond Tutu.  I normally like this kind of stuff.  Bullet the Blue Sky, Sunday Bloody Sunday, and Pride (In the Name of Love) are my all time favorite songs.  On this night though,  it just felt a bit forced.

From where I was sitting, concert goers were 95% white and old.  It doesn’t look like u2 has much of a following in the under 30 crowd.  There seemed to be more African Americans working at the stadium than attending the concert.  It just gave me a bit of a creepy feeling when a bunch of white folks (myself included) are preaching justice, civil rights, and honoring the anti-apartheid movement when the class and race divisions in the stadium seemed so apparent.

That’s not U2’s fault.  Heck, I wish more musicians, artists, corporations, individuals, took matters into their own hands the way U2 does when it comes to justice and the future of the planet and the human race..

On this beautiful night in Chicago, a day after 9-11, I was just reminded about how far we still have to go.


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