U2’s Opening Night

Considering I got engaged to my¬†forever love only hours before U2’s last Chi-town stint, it definitely wasn’t going to be easy for our latest U2 concert experience to top that.

Will upstaged Bono so beautifully, no easy feat, with four simple words: Will you marry me?

But I must say, even without a magical marriage proposal beforehand, the opening night of the “360” tour on September 12 at Chicago’s Soldier Field was still pretty spectacular…

Before the show, we were actually thisclose to saying hi to Bono himself when we noticed a crowd of people assembling at one of the stadium’s entrances. Since we were there a good hour and a half early and weren’t ready to sit down just yet, we decided to see exactly what all the hub-bub was about. Turns out, that’s precisely where the band was being escorted to the venue. Gotta hand it to the fans…they are one perceptive bunch when their favorite artists are involved.

Since standing around waiting isn’t one of my favorite things to do, it’s great that we didn’t have to stand around too long for something to happen. A few minutes after huddling with the U2-loving masses, a huge black SUV with tinted windows pulled up, and Will immediately noticed The Edge was inside (I missed spotting him somehow). Then a minute or so later, a far less flashy car pulled up shortly after, and Bono got out (everyone cheered, naturally) and started greeting the fans.

Even without a big, beefy security guy by his side, he seemed perfectly at ease while pressing the flesh. One girl went on and on about how “totally awesome” he was. Another guy asked for an autograph, while another fan yammered on about how he’d driven all the way from Des Moines to see him. While I’m sure this banal banter probably gets old after years and years of hearing it, he never acted anything but grateful for the support.

Meanwhile, I didn’t add anything, insightful or otherwise, to the conversation.

Although he’s always been the celebrity I’d most like to interview, I was just content to stand back and watch. I mean, what could I possibly say (in two seconds flat, no less) that he hasn’t heard before without coming off like a complete buffoon? Yeah, I couldn’t think of anything witty or brilliant, so Will and I kept our mouths shut and simply enjoyed that little moment before the show.

Speaking of which, I was initially a little skeptical, especially since I’m not usually a fan of hearing music in a venue designed for football games. But somehow, even with the enormous set (and I won’t spill the details if you’re planning on seeing the show, don’t worry), the music still connected somehow. And unlike the last time I saw Bono and Co. on the “Vertigo” tour, the guys didn’t seem like they were merely phoning the performance in (an advantage of going opening night, I guess), which is pretty impressive considering they’re planning “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “One” and “With or Without You” for the gazillionth time.

The real treat of the evening, however, was hearing several of the cuts from the band’s latest album, No Line on the Horizon, in a live setting. While the CD didn’t really wow me right away (especially the band’s lackluster debut single “Get on Your Boots”), the songs have slowly been growing on me and sounded just fantastic live. In fact, my favorite moment of the night was when they performed a frenetic, discot√©que version of “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight.” In true, let-your-hair-down ’70s splendor, Bono embraced his very, very sparkly side, and the crowd (including yours truly) was reminded yet again why U2 is considered the best band in the world. It’s because they flat out rock, of course, no matter what (or how) they’re singing…

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