U2 is arguably the biggest band in rock 'n' roll these days.
With an impressive showing of 78 soldout arenas on the U.S. leg of the Vertigo Tour, and ticket prices reaching into four figures, fans seem to agree that this band is worthy of its lofty status. The band makes a stop up the road in Charlotte on Dec.12 and I spent Friday, Nov. 18, in Atlanta investigating whether Lowcountry fans should fork over their Christmas money to attend the show.
At first glance, the oval stage design and dangling nets with rows of single light bulbs looked very simple and subdued. But take my advice, leave the beer line early and make sure you are in your seat for the show's opener "City of Blinding Lights."
From this song's first notes to the end of the show, the innovative visual production and light show that resembled the skyline in the movie "Blade Runner" took on a life of its own, and even threatened to overwhelm the band that generations of fans came to see.
Of course, U2 wouldn't let that happen. The band dialed its energy level to 11 and kept it there for more than two hours. Both Bono and The Edge used every inch of the stage, a large oval runway that extended deep into the crowd. Bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. delivered a solid foundation for the group's music that filled the soldout arena.
The setlist, heavy on songs from last November's release "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," pleased every generation in the audience by sprinkling in favorites from the band's 20 years-plus catalog. You might guess my age when I tell you that some of my highlights included "Sunday, Bloody Sunday," "With or Without You" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."
Overall, even from a non-fan, U2 is a show that is worth the big-money price tag. Should you spend $600 or more on tickets? That's hard to answer. I think if you were to ask Bono, he would think your money is better spent supporting your favorite charity.
If you were to ask the U2 fans I encountered after the show that evening, the look in their eyes alone would translate to a resounding "yes."