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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 27, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 21
U2's mega June concert descends on Seattle
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U2's mega June concert descends on Seattle

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

U2 360-degree Tour
June 4
Qwest Field


Rain or shine, rock royalty is coming to Seattle. Get ready for traffic, mayhem, and 60,000 people downtown next weekend.

Let's face it: U2 is the biggest band in the world. You can make a case for the Rolling Stones, Metallica, Radiohead, even our own Pearl Jam, since each is capable of filling a soccer stadium, but this U.K. act still towers above them all - commercially, that is. Artistically, that's for you to decide.

Not to make you feel old, but the Irish rock group released their proper debut Boy in 1980. This was years before its members Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen, Jr. exploded to global acclaim, after transatlantic success with the hit singles 'Sunday Bloody Sunday,' 'Pride (In the Name of Love),' and the groundbreaking 'New Year's Day,' which became one of MTV's first music videos ever broadcast. But it was 1987's The Joshua Tree that catapulted them to superstardom, a recording that bested Michael Jackson, Prince, and Whitney Houston for Album of the Year honors at the Grammys. In total, U2 has won 22 Grammy Awards.

Fast-forward to 2011. U2 is a survivor. They've survived the evolving genre of alternative music, from new wave in the late '80s to grunge and nu metal in the '90s to a long list of glam, emo and indie rock bands of the '00s. While not all of their material is stellar - 1993's Zooropa remains a bit weird, and 2009's No Line on the Horizon is something I can live without - the four-piece is still responsible for some of the top recordings of the past three decades.

Which brings us to the huge June 4 appearance at Qwest Field, starting with U2's set list - if you want to be surprised, don't read any further. Here's what to expect: The show will probably include between 20 and 24 songs, and there's a solid chance that 'Even Better Than the Real Thing' will be the opener. 'Until the End of the World,' 'Mysterious Ways,' 'Beautiful Day,' 'Get on Your Boots,' 'Vertigo,' 'Sunday Bloody Sunday,' 'Desire,' and 'City of Blinding Lights' are very possible inclusions to the main set, while 'One,' 'Where the Streets Have No Name,' and 'With or Without You' could show up on either of two encores. U2 loves to play varied set lists in each city, although the songs just mentioned have appeared on their most recent set lists in Mexico City, Denver, and Salt Lake City.

The 'claw,' a gigantic prop that looks exactly what it sounds like, will take up most of the stadium field and allows a limited number of fans the privilege of a more intimate experience. It also holds the speaker system. The group's 360-degree Tour, which kicked off June 30, 2009, in Barcelona, features a rotating stage and a tornado-like video screen right above the performers. During the song 'Walk On,' written for and about Burmese anti-government leader Aung San Suu Kyi, U2 has asked everyone to wear masks of the detained protester. Funds from auctioned close-range seats from each show are being partially donated to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS.

The concert is slated to start at 7 p.m. with Lenny Kravitz as the supporting act. U2 - who, by the way, are still easy on the eyes despite entering their 50s (Bono turned 51 earlier this month) - will probably go on stage anywhere from 8:30 to 9 p.m., but don't quote me on that - if I hear of set times, I'll post them on our official Facebook page. And, when David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' is played over the loud speakers, know that U2 is minutes from hopping on stage. At press time, some tickets were still available.

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