The band U2 was scheduled to play FedEx Field on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. BYT got some press passes. Brandon, our managing editor asked if I wanted to go and review it. This is the exciting journey I took in deciding if I wanted to go and whether I made the correct decision.
GETTING THERE. FedEx Field. Where was this again? Oh yeah, it’s the Redskins stadium. I’ve lived in the area for 16+ years and have been there once years ago for a BYT office outing. It was fun, but not something I would want to do on a regular basis. How do you get there again? I asked the office. Nobody could remember. Gave it a googs, oh right, there is a Blue Line Metro stop a mile away. That’s a 45 minute Metro ride from my house + a mile walk each way. Doable, but what about driving? Potentially a shorter drive. Parking? OMG. Parking is $64+ dollars on Ticketmaster. This is potentially more offensive than the name of the team. If you are a person that paid this for parking, shame on you and your entire family. Did a little research + Google Earth to see if there were other parking options or if it was possible to find a spot in the neighborhood somewhere. The answer was apparently no. Metro it was. Hopefully, it wouldn’t catch fire. -20 points
THE SEATS. I have a rule when it comes to giant stadium shows. Unless the seats are good, you might as well stay home and watch YouTube videos. It makes no sense to see a show where you spend 100% of the time watching the jumbotron. Confirmation came in that the press seats would indeed be solid.
Here is a shot my wife took from our seats:
Solid. +10 points
ME. I’m 37 or 38, can’t remember. I’m super busy. I go to bed early these days. It is a Tuesday. I have a wife who gets up at like 5 a.m. and is mean. -12 points
THE SETLIST. This tour is the 30th anniversary of their seminal album The Joshua Tree. There is plenty of good U2 material prior, but it was 1987’s The Joshua Tree that turned them into household names, one of the world’s best selling albums and is preserved by the Library of Congress. This is because it’s an amazing record. I personally enjoy the two follow-ups (after the Rattle and Hum ego explosion misstep) Achtung Baby and Zooropa a little bit more (seriously, I think you forgot how good Zooropa is, go listen again, I’ll wait. See?), but it’s still one of the greatest albums ever made. And they were gonna play it in its entirety. Looking at the past few shows, this meant some great “War” and “The Unforgettable Fire” singles, followed by The Joshua Tree in order, then a Passengers track, some Achtung Baby, and some boring new stuff nobody cares about. This is a great set list. +20 points
THE BAND. U2 is a great band. Like, really great. Anyone that says otherwise is wrong. They are known to put on an amazing show. But would they still be good in 2017? They are all 55-57 years old, but they have never stopped touring and putting out new material, and even when that new material has been a snoozefest, they seemed to still be trying as hard as they could. So even though this was a nostalgic show, this was not a nostalgic band on stage. This is a real band. They played and sang perfectly. They had energy, looked like they were enjoying themselves, they were authentic, in great shape and weren’t wearing embarrassing outfits. U2 is a god damn great band. +32 points
THE BAG POLICY. No bags or something? I hate you Fed Ex Field and your stupid ass face. -17 points
THE PRODUCTION. U2 is known for extravagant stage setups. This was no exception. A 200 x 45 ft 8k resolution screen dominated the stage, including a huge joshua tree running through and above it. The tree is shadowed below with a B stage that extends into the audience. The beginning of the show was played in the round on this B stage, before the band moved back in front of the screen for The Joshua Tree portion, which ran arresting original short films of American landscapes from long time collaborator Anton Corbijn. It was impressive, classy and never overshadowed the music or the four little men on stage. +23 points
Picture my wife took of the Joshua Tree B stage:
THAT CHRISTIAN FRIEND OF MY PARENTS: Who was at my house in 1991 and told me to stop watching the “Even Better Than The Real Thing” video on MTV. Fuck you dude. You’re not my dad. +5 points
THE POLITICS. Bono means well and is a force for social good. But he can also come off as insufferable at times. Not tonight. He was legit appreciative of the fans. He was funny. “The Edge… isn’t he a sexy man?” and while taking off his leather jacket, “For Irish people, this is very hot weather.” When he got political, he kept it classy, first by extending sympathy to Scalise and others involved in the shooting, then by offering the olive branch to Republicans in the audience, “Whoever you voted for, you’re welcome tonight, we’ll find common ground together.” Don’t worry tho, there was a quick comical anti-Trump video mid-show just to make sure you knew which side of the wall U2 is on. In interviews, The Edge has said that the content of The Joshua Tree hasn’t been this relevant since it was initially written during the Reagan-Thatcher era. The encore began with a powerful video featuring a 15-year-old Syrian refugee in a camp in Jordan speaking of wanting to come to America. “Miss Sarajevo,” a Passengers track, was played as the audience passed along a massive fabric image of her passport photo. Normally I’d say shut up and play your guitar, but this was all pretty cool and real. +13 points
THE CONCESSION STANDS. $10 bud light and a 20 minute wait for chicken fingers only to find out they didn’t take credit cards. FedEx Field, you are truly the worst. -43 points
THE CROWD. An ocean of white people 35 and older drinking many many $10 Bud Lights and singing along wearing button up shirts and fist pumping and dancing awkwardly. That being said, nobody was actually annoying in my direct vicinity (shocked!), so could have been much much worse. -7 points
THE METRO. Last train is 11:15 p.m. Concert ended after that. Had to miss the last couple songs not to be stranded in hell. Was pretty tired anyway tho. -16 points
THE EDGE. He’s really good. +13 points
TOTAL: 1 POINT
CONCLUSION: It was worth my time to go see U2 at FedEx Field on a Tuesday.
Photos from U2.com unless noted otherwise