If Green Day was like attending a political rally, a revolution, then U2 was a religious event. All bow down to worship at the altar of Bono and his causes. The larger than life size images of Bono, Larry Mullen, Adam Clayton and the Edge, with the pulsating lights of their massive stage synchronized to the rhythm, we were all mesmerized.
Perhaps the concert resonated on such an emotional, a spiritual note because so many of us had been fans for decades, had grown up as U2 grew up , us to adulthood and U2 to an international sensation and a philanthropic force. Maybe it was different on the floor, where the fans were younger, the new fans of U2. But in the club seats where I sat, it was like being with an old, dear friend, familiar, but no less moving. When they played Sunday, Bloody Sunday, it evoked my childhood in the 80’s and the political turmoil of the day. But this time, it was updated with a montage of images from the recent Iranian elections. No less powerful. Perhaps more, as Bono asked “how long, how long must we sing this song?” and you think about just how long it’s been – more than 20 years since Bono first belted out that question.
Bono was a master preacher. (Is this what a megachurch service is like – charismatic preacher, massive screen, mass swooning?) He knew his audience, thanks leaders on the right and the left for opening doors to make it possible to help the poor and sick in Africa. There was a tribute to Eunice Shriver, a mentor of his, said Bono, followed by “This one’s for Teddy” as the band played the opening chords of New Year’s Day. No need to say Teddy who. 80,000 singing along, “I will be with you again.” A shiver went through the stadium. How could it not?
Another highlight, the bongo drums to City of Blinding Lights turning FedEx Field into a dance hall.
For the encore, Bono commanded the crowd to turn on our cell phones. Even the young FedEx Field employee standing at the top of our section took out his phone and helped light up the evening sky.