U2 (and their monster set) played Giants Stadium, 9/23 (night 1)
Despite being banned from Giants Stadium for life (long story), I rolled out there on the new NJ Transit train line that goes to the Meadowlands last night for U2. More on that commute later. U2’s stage set was made up of a huge claw with the stage in the middle and a gigantic 360 degree LED screen hanging above. The stage was ‘in the round’ and connected by bridges to a narrow rim that circled the stage so Bono and the Edge could walk amongst the fans. They started off with a few new songs and worked their way up to “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” It was my first time seeing the band live and the opening licks gave me goosebumps that didn’t go away until it was over. Bono let the crowd sing the refrain and even he seemed impressed by the result. The LED screen was incredible. I was on the GA field probably the equivalent of 35 rows back and while my view was great, the added close-ups provided by the screen were intense. At one point, the screen unfolded and separated into a web of hundreds of small screens making it even taller and the effects more interesting (see photo below).
The band paid tribute to Bruce Springsteen (who’s sold out so many shows in the building) by wishing him a Happy 60th Birthday and playing his song “She’s the One” from his seminal album Born to Run. They played the hits, there was a lot of smoke, the Edge was strutting around playing his classic riffs, they did a tribute to the deposed leader of Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi, who’s been on house arrest for 20 years. It was what one would expect a U2 show to be like and it was a beautiful night.
My thoughts on why New York & New Jersey should be embarrassed about last night, more pictures and the full set list after the jump…
We showed up at Penn Station at 6 pm and I’ve never seen it so crowded, not even the day before Thanksgiving. Rush hour crowd combined with the U2 crowd had the place JAMMED. The line to get tickets was at least an hour long so we decided to squeeze on the train to Secaucus and buy tickets on board. The train was so packed they never checked tickets. By 6:25 we were in Secaucus so we could transfer to the Meadowlands line which goes directly to the stadium. The problem is that since we never bought tickets at Penn Station, we were forced to wait in line (with thousands of other people) at the Secaucus station because they won’t let you down to the platform unless you have a ticket in hand. The lines were ridiculous, people were paying people at the front of the lines to buy them tickets, everyone was pissed. This train line only opened a couple of weeks ago and clearly they haven’t figured out how to handle a sold-out Giants Stadium crowd yet. Not enough machines, no ticket windows, not enough trains. After 50 minutes in line, we finally got our tickets and made our way to the platform only to be met by another mob of people trying to cram onto the trains to the stadium. The next train was delayed. The next train came to the wrong track and when the doors finally opened, it was a stampede to get on. It was now 7:50 pm. Muse’s set was about to end and we were still 15 minutes from the stadium. My friends had our tickets and were nice enough to wait for us in the lot until we got there (thx Joel, Drea, Lauren, Joe, Todd & Erica). We bailed on the train on the way home and got a car service. Until they get this thing figured out, either avoid this train altogether or get your tickets in hand in advance so you don’t get stuck in lines.
We met a couple from Venezuela while we were navigating Penn Station and helped them figure out the train disaster. I noticed there were a lot of foreigners in from around the world who were going to the U2 show and by the end of the night, I was embarrassed for New York & New Jersey. Here we have one of the biggest bands in the world coming to the area’s biggest stadium and people from all over the world were there to be a part of it…and the only mass transit from Manhattan is a cramped nightmare that takes over two hours to travel about 15 miles. Pathetic. Not only that, but once we got to the stadium there are 4 beers available in plastic bottles (Miller Light, Coors Light, Bud and Bud Light). Available food options for the GA field? Mrs. Fields cookies, stale soft pretzels and hot dogs. That’s it. Maybe I sound like a snob, but I was embarrassed. The new stadium can’t come soon enough.
U2 SET LIST, 9/23/09 – Giants Stadium
Get on Your Boots
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
She’s The One/Desire
Your Blue Room
No Line on the Horizon
New Year’s Day
Stuck in a Moment
City of Blinding Lights
I’ll Go Crazy – Remix
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Where The Streets Have No Name
With or Without You
Moment of Surrender