Review: U2's massive, magical Claw lights up the Tampa sky
Well, I can honestly say that when I woke up this morning, I did not expect to see Bono chatting with a giant clown from outer space.
But that is exactly what happened during U2's concert Friday night in Tampa, as the singer conducted a live-via-satellite interview with Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte, who's currently circling the earth aboard the International Space Station.
Laliberte's giant, clown-nose-wearing head appeared on the ginormous video screen dangling from U2's "Claw" stage, and the two iconoclasts exchanged pleasantries, even when it wasn't clear whether they could hear one another. From the Associated Press:
"You are the first clown in space and we think it's a great idea for you to give us your perspective on our little planet while you're not on our little planet and instead looking down on it," Bono said. "How do we look from there, how does our little planet look, Guy?"
Laliberte replied that "planet Earth looks so great but also so fragile."
U2 then performed Elevation, which is probably a more fitting tribute to a man stuck in orbit than, say, Last Night on Earth. Just another day in the life for two of the universe's most otherworldly artistes, it seems.
I was sitting in the top levels, and I thoroughly enjoyed the concert. My only complaint: the acoustics in the upper deck could have been a lot better. Where I was sitting, the volume of the music flickered up and down in spots. So while the Claw was a sensational monument to rock excess -- it looked like something off the Las Vegas strip, and people couldn't help snapping photos of themselves in front of it all night -- I do wish they'd tilted the speakers just a little higher. Oh well -- that's life in the cheap seats, I suppose.
"Over the course of 22 songs — and in front of the largest crowd ever at RayJay (more than the Super Bowl's 70,000, Bono announced) — U2 blended intimacy and arrogance, their preferred cocktail," he writes. "They uncorked sing-along spirituals (I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For) while standing upon the most shameless stage to ever tour the world."
And in light of this story, I suppose I should probably ask: Who was that kid Bono pulled up onstage during City of Blinding Lights?
Finally, just in case no one else says it: Muse killed. Uprising, Supermassive Black Hole, Time Is Running Out -- U2 made a good choice picking them to open.
After the jump, get a setlist from the show, via U2gigs.com. And let's hear it from you guys in the comments: What did you think of the show? Best Tampa gig ever? Or a colossal waste of Claw?
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*
Get On Your Boots
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / Stand By Me (snippet)
Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of
No Line On The Horizon
Until The End Of The World
The Unforgettable Fire
Mofo (snippet) / City Of Blinding Lights
I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight / Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) (snippet) / Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough (snippet)
Sunday Bloody Sunday / Get Up Stand Up (snippet)
One / Amazing Grace (snippet)
Where The Streets Have No Name
Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
With Or Without You
Moment of Surrender