U2's Giant Spider Show Pops a Noisy, Well-Attended Squat in Oakland

Categories: Last Night

060711_U2_Bono_Edge_1111.jpg
Christopher Victorio
U2 in Oakland last night.

U2
Lenny Kravitz
Moonalice
June 7, 2011
@ O.co Coliseum [The venue formerly known as the Oakland Coliseum]

Better than: Watching a U2 concert DVD with the volume really high while standing outside with 70,000 other people. (But actually, that's exactly what it was like, except with an apocalyptic traffic jam before and after.)

"Some of you were two years younger when you bought these tickets," Bono allowed at the start of one of his many sermons last night. He was alluding to the fact that a back problem last year forced the band to postpone this and other stops of its massively spectacularific 360° tour, and thanking U2 fans -- some of whom traveled here from Poland and Mexico -- for being patient. He didn't need to. The place where the A's play was packed last night with the burbling enthusiasm of what felt like 20 million people, even if was only about 69,000 -- or enough to fill 58 sold-out Fillmores. Armed with a setlist that included many of U2's most famous songs ("I Will Follow," "Mysterious Ways," "Beautiful Day," "With or Without You," etc.), an Amnesty International advertisement, a shout-out to Lou Reed (who was apparently in the audience), and a funny story about going drinking on Monday night with the boys from Metallica and Green Day, it's safe to say the band in rock dazzled and moved most of them.

It did not move us, jaded U2 skeptics that we are. Given yesterday's admission, that's hardly surprising, but even we were a little upset at how predictable and unaffecting this titanic spectacle was.

060711_U2_Edge_3.jpg
Christopher Victorio

First, there was the 360° Tour's much-vaunted stage setup, which looked to me like a mutant four-legged spider trying to shit out a tiny rock band. Given its proportion to the huge coliseum, it felt like the spider -- with its colored lights, flashing tower, fog-illuminating spotlights, insectoid fabric covering, and a giant LCD screen in the abdomen -- was actually giving the show. Anyway, I spent more time looking at the spider and its screen than watching the actual figures on the stage -- and I was decently close. But then, imagining that a supersize musical alien arachnid was farting out "Vertigo" was way more amusing than the actual reality.

060711_U2_Spider_Stage.jpg
Ian S. Port
U2 stage or massive alien spider?

Then there was the band's performance, which was scripted-feeling, precise, crisp -- and yet unremarkable, at least to these ears. All but the most iconic points of U2's catalog flowed over me like a warm sonic bath -- the impression left was not altogether unpleasant, but not memorable, either. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" began awkwardly, but righted itself into one of the highlights of the night. "Pride" soared as it should. But "One" failed to reach the moving heights it needed to. And this nonfan yawned through all those other midtempo U2 songs that rose into some vague, effects-assisted zenith only to dissipate with Bono frozen somewhere in an action-hero pose.

060711_U2_Bono_Rockstarpose_1.jpg
Christopher Victorio
Bono, live action figure.


Location Info

Venue

Map

O.co Coliseum

7000 Coliseum, Oakland, CA

Category: General

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19 comments
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Scott
Scott

awesome show! we got within 15 feet of the stage. the only way to experience a concert is up close. hopefully u2 returns to arenas next tour so everybody gets closer to the band. we stayed at one of the hotels near the coliseum, avoiding the traffic altogether.  

April Gomez
April Gomez

Anyone who missed the even part of U2's set because they thought they could pull up to the Coliseum at 9 and park in the lot is just dumb. There was NO traffic jam or parking problems for people with common sense. We left Redwood City at 5:00, had dinner in Hayward, got off 880 at Davis, drove down San Leandro Blvd, parked in a lot across the street from BART for $20 at 7:15, and walked the bridge from BART to the Coliseum. Left the same way. No hassle.

Mrpj99
Mrpj99

Ian the critic...more like Ian the Idiot. Hollow songs? Are you high? U2 is one of the few rock bands today that sign about anything worth wild and significant.

emily savage
emily savage

Big LOLs at this comment for a variety of reasons. 

Aprilleraf
Aprilleraf

U2 and Bono ha,s and always will, put on a great show! Non fans stay home and keep the bitching to the crap on TV.

Mtnbikemike
Mtnbikemike

Sad commentary...  do your editors give you points for how much you trash a show, or are you too skeptical to appreciate how pleased everyone around you was and the absolutely FANTASTIC time they had?  Does the word 'objectivity' have any meaning for you, or are you so jaded that you can't have a good time... it's obvious that you that you planned on having an unpleasant experience...  next time you feel that way, give those free tickets away to someone who will enjoy themselves.  The show was fantastic.... there simply isn't anything that will ever compare with this show... yesterday, today or tomorrow.

Rknnroln
Rknnroln

The pictures taken by Christopher are some of the best concert pictures I have seen for this tour!Excellent display of talent!

Twitchy
Twitchy

This is the second article in a row to sound like this...why are you even covering it? Really, it's just coming off as bratty and whiney at this point...and as I said about the other article, way pretentious.Don't always need the fan boys to cover this stuff either, it's true, but a little non-biased coverage goes a long way.

Dswilborn
Dswilborn

It was a great show. No mention of Lenny Kravitz's rocking opening act?I thought the band was best during its quieter moments - 'So Close (So Far Away)', 'Miss Sarajevo', and the best rendition of 'All I Want is You' I've heard in years. They played the crowd pleasers, and my only true complaint is that I wanted to hear 'I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight' - not it's disco evil twin.BART all the way - only cost $8.80. How ironic that's the freeway that led so many to grief.

Mark
Mark

The inexcusable traffic snarl stranded thousands  on 880. We turned back from off ramp at 10:15, after >4  hours of travel from peninsula and still no movement. Bad day for stadium and  U2 reputation. Argues for South Bay stadium options and better opterations control for peninsula residents

Peterke
Peterke

that is why there is public transit like BART. 

Rosana
Rosana

The traffic and the non organization is not the group fault !The concert was fantastic , and for the critic , if you are non fan , you should not write about it , is just to bias ... who loves the group , loves his music ,loves the concerts and enjoy them!

Lance
Lance

You shouldn't have even bothered going and saved the seat for a real fan.

BF
BF

You should have Barted, eco-terrorist.  The BART line was massive, but they got folks through without too much drama. Kudos to BART staff.

The concert was fantastic. 

Ava_Eve
Ava_Eve

My friends & I took bart instead of driving. Yeah, it was insane. but we got home fairly quickly. If we'd driven, we'd probably have still been on the road for a few hours. Take Bart Next Time! Duh!

enigmaprime
enigmaprime

I was at the show last night and the fact that we were way back (sorry our seats were not as cozy as yours) the shitting spider as you like to call it made our experience way better.You are an admitted loather of the band, so why on earth did you even attend, you went to the show with major reservations & left the same way.

Gordon Elgart
Gordon Elgart

Can I strongly recommend BART to the Oakland Coliseum at all times? There's no reason to drive to anything there, considering both the traffic and the gross parking charge.

I skipped last night because I'll see U2 in a couple of weeks at Glastonbury, sans spider stage. I hope it feels more spontaneous and energetic than what you've described.

Ava_eve
Ava_eve

I saw the show last night, I stayed til the very last song, and the Whole time there, I had a Fandamntastic time last night! the show was Freaking Awesome! you Ian (the blogger) say your a non fan, well, then, Why the Hell did you go to the show if you don't even like them? Thousands of us, LOVED them. :) the Spider stage was Awesome too! :)

Mamshopper
Mamshopper

this is a response to ian, the critic. . . i thot the show was wonderful . . . and the band was sincere and the spider set up was great because it allowed everyone to see the group perform. . . i'd see them in a minute if they come back . . . maybe you should just stay home next time and watch t.v.?

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