The sunset sky above Raymond James Stadium was neither blood-red nor bullet-blue, but at least it was no longer pouring. And that was music to the ears of some 60,000 poncho-wrapped U2 fans, who braved thunderstorms and traffic for the Irish rock legends' first Tampa concert in eight years.
Unbowed by a daylong threat of thunderstorms, fans lined up well before dawn to get a good spot inside RayJay, where a brilliant rainbow hung in the sky until U2 took the stage to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their landmark album The Joshua Tree.
The band entered a stark smaller stage to play some of its biggest, boldest hits, including Sunday Bloody Sunday (during which Bono referenced London, Manchester and, in a play to the crowd, Tampa) and New Year's Day; before moving in front of a 200-foot-wide, high-def LED screen for Where the Streets Have No Name, opening a full performance of The Joshua Tree.
At that point, the audience, from U2 lifers in vintage 1987 Joshua Tree tour T-shirts to the kids and grandkids on their laps, had found exactly what they were looking for.
Contact Jay Cridlin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.