U2 and Muse - Cowboys Stadium Arlington, Texas October 12th, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009| by Will Chen

So I scored a ticket to the Muse/U2 show in Dallas which was held at the new Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington, TX on October 12th, 2009. I was a bit worried that the show would be a bust due to my previous experiences seeing show in football stadiums at which the sound for the most part has been horrible.

Muse took the stage around 8:15 PM, or I should say I think it was Muse as  our seats were so high that I assumed the ant sized humans running around on the huge stage were Muse. The acoustics of the arena were so bad where I was (section 400, in the middle of the upper most section) that I was unable to even determine what song was being played. Huge bummer and unacceptable to me as the (overpriced) ticket was ~$100, way more than I would otherwise pay for a show other than the fact that I’ve always wanted to see U2 in concert.

As U2 started, a friend and I worked our way down attempting to find a better location to watch the show and after being asked to leave several areas finally found a great spot on the lower level directly in front of the stage. From this vantage point, the sound was much better but still left much to be desired and the ant like performers had grown to the size of small cats.

Sound issues aside (though I guess that’s really what a live show should be completely about) the technical production of the show was fantastic. While advertised as a 360 degree stage, it was set up at one end of the arena and the stage was clearly oriented with a front and back likely leaving the poor souls who purchased tickets behind the stage cursing Bono and the boys. They did however have a large (but dwarfed by the gigantor scoreboard screen in the middle of the arena which was non functional for the show) 360 degree video screen which elevated, descended, and split into hundreds of small octagonal screens creating a beehive like effect. The video production was unlike anything I’ve ever seen with quick cutting to multiple angles and effects more akin to watching a music video than a live concert. Additionally, the video feed was slightly delayed to be in sync with the audio a nice touch for those like myself who get annoyed that light travels faster than sound (darn physics!).

U2 played for nearly 2 and a half hours hitting all the fan favorites occasionally inserting a tune from their latest album No Line on the Horizon. As expected, the end of the show took on a largely political slant intermingling the “quiet” revolution in Iran with Sunday Bloody Sunday, Walk On with imprisoned Burmese political lead Aung San Suu Kyi (complete with a crowd of people marching in single file wearing masks bearing Suu Kyi's image), and the African Aids epidemic with One (featuring a video introduction by none other than Desmond Tutu).

For all the pitfalls of a large stadium show, I must admit the power of approximately 140,000 people singing the refrain from I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For was quite a sound to behold…

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