The U2 360 show in St. Louis was amazing! Definitely one of my favorites, along with Anaheim2 and Chicago. Even though it was a standard set list and there was no “Out of Control” or “One Tree Hill,” the band and the audience had such a great energy. Bono was especially excited. “The Fly” returned after its brief departure in Philadelphia, and “Magnificent” disappeared again. For the first time, both Bono and Larry acknowledged me on their way onto the stage and then later Bono gave me an indirect ‘shout out’ during the band introductions. The St. Louis show was the hottest show of the tour, beating Baltimore and Nashville, with its 110 heat index. The St. Louis show on July 17, 2011 at Busch Stadium is an obvious choice as my favorite ‘S’ U2 concert.
When I arrived at the stadium, there was a bit of discrepancy where the band was actually going to drive in. There were a lot of people on the other side of the stadium waiting, and only about 10 of us waiting on our side. It turned out we were right and the band drove in just after 5pm where we were waiting. Bono rolled down his window and waved, and Edge and Adam waved from inside their cars. The guy in the fourth car, who I assumed was Larry, didn’t wave or look at us – just looked straight ahead. About 15 minutes or so later, another car drove in and this time it was Larry and he waved. We were surprised when no one came out to greet us, since there were only about 10 of us there.
I walked into the stadium and over to the inner circle on Edge’s side, but it was closed. So I had to walk around to Adam’s side, get my stamp for re-entry, then walk back over to Edge’s side. Even though I could see that U2 was going to walk into the stadium from the tunnel on Adam’s side, I wanted to be on Edge’s side so I could watch them walk onto the stage, or under the stage actually. I met a guy and his young son Tyler, I mean like seven years old young, who had been to nine shows this tour. They followed my blog and Tyler’s favorites were Larry and Bono, so needless to say we got along famously. A guy from the crew asked me how many shows I had been to. When I told him all the U.S. shows that leg and I was driving to all of them with my dogs. He said I was crazy and should just give my money to him. I told him I should work for U2, so I could get paid to follow the tour.
Interpol took the stage around 7:30m and played their usual set. I still was not a fan, but they were ok. U2 didn’t come out until about 9:15pm. On the way to the stage, Larry saw me and smiled and waved. And not his usual obligatory smile and wave, but he actually seemed to recognize and acknowledge me. Then Bono smiled, waved and said ‘Hi’ to me. I could definitely see recognition in his face – and it’s been a long time since I spoke with him in Seattle and Oakland. So maybe Bono and Larry were actually waving to me as they drove into the stadium earlier. Or it could have been the fact that I was almost always standing at that same spot where U2 walk onto the stage and always wearing my straw cowboy hat and ‘Larry Mullen Band’ tee. Yeah maybe after 12 shows, they finally recognize me.
U2 followed the opener “Even Better Than the Real Thing” with “The Fly,” which they had removed from the set list in Philadelphia and replaced it with “Magnificent.” Introducing “The Fly” Bono said, “Are you ready for some crowd rock circa 1991? We’re not gonna walk, we’re not gonna crawl. Tonight St. Louis, we Fly!” After “The Fly,” I knew the St. Louis show was going to be one of my favorites. U2 had such a great energy, and Bono seemed especially excited and happy. “The Fly” was followed by “Mysterious Ways” and “Until the End of the World” as usual, but I just love four straight opening songs off Achtung Baby. And it doesn’t hurt that Larry starts “Even Better than the Real Thing” with his pounding drums and then he and his drum kit turn around and face behind the stage where I am during “Mysterious Ways.” The inner circle was not that crowded, so I moved from my usual spot behind the stage and stood toward the side of the stage during “Until the End of the World” and “I Will Follow” and actually got pictures of the whole band, instead of just Larry. During “Until the End of the World,” Bono again said “Bass and Drums” and then “Love and Peace.” He went on to say, “What sort of magic night is this? St. Louis. Missouri. Warm summer night.” Warm doesn’t even begin to describe how hot it was that night in St. Louis.
During “I Will Follow,” Bono said the most important word of the night was ‘surrender.’ He sang, “I surrender. St. Louis. We surrender.” As if I wasn’t excited enough, or hot enough, from “Get on Your Boots,” one of my favorite parts of the 360 show, Bono started his usual talk before “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” which is my all-time favorite song. He read the set list from a show U2 played in St. Louis 30 years ago. I thought they would play an impromptu old song, especially when everyone cheered when he read “Out of Control,” but they didn’t. Bono then started the band introductions. He said, “So much has changed and yet so much remains the same. Larry is still upset about the fact that we changed our name to U2 from the Larry Mullen Band. And there are some people here who agree with him.” With that Larry busted out laughing. Everyone thinks Bono was referring to me, and maybe he was since both he and Larry did clearly notice me on the way to the stage.
That St. Louis show was so hot and humid that Bono took off his signature jacket during the second or third song and performed in his tee shirt. Then he left the stage and Edge introduced “Stay” while he went down into the underworld to change his shirt. During “Beautiful Day” Bono shouted, ”Turn the lights on Willie. I want to see these people.” Then during “Elevation,” Bono brought up some new U2 fans on stage. As hot as it was, U2 chose the St. Louis to bring back their lighted leather jackets during “Zooropa” and “City of Blinding Lights.” I love Larry in that black jacket (it’s so Elvis), but I can’t believe they chose the hottest show of the tour to wear them. In the past, it had only been at the colder shows. During “City of Blinding Lights,” Bono brought up a young boy with him to run around the cat walk – again during the hottest show of the tour. It was so hot that Adam went shirtless under his jacket during “I’ll Go Crazy.” After watching Larry start “I’ll Go Crazy,” turn around facing the back during “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” and his drum solo during “Scarlet,” I walked around to Adam’s side of the inner circle to watch the rest of the show. Even though I like Edge’s side better, I knew U2 would leave through the tunnel on Adam’s side of the inner circle. As they walked by very quickly, I shouted out to Larry and he waved and smiled.
July 17th was the 8th anniversary of my beloved Grandmother’s death, so maybe Grandmom had a hand in making that U2 360 show in St. Louis special for me. It was a great night! A fantastic show! One of my favorites! People who weren’t there have asked me why the St. Louis show was better than the others because there wasn’t anything extraordinary about the set list. It is hard to really put into words unless you were there. It was just a feeling we all had who were at that show. There was an amazing energy that night in St. Louis!
The set list from the U2 360 show in St. Louis was as follows: Even Better Than The Real Thing, The Fly, Mysterious Ways, Until the End of the World, I Will Follow, Get On Your Boots, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For / Many Rivers to Cross, Stay, Beautiful Day / Space Oddity, Elevation, Pride, Miss Sarajevo, Zooropa, City of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, I’ll Go Crazy / Discotheque / Life During Wartime – Psycho Killer, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Scarlet, Walk On, One, Hallelujah / Where the Streets Have No Name, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me, With or Without You, Moment of Surrender.
This is part of my Blogging from A to Z Challenge about ‘My U2 Concerts A to Z.’ Thanks for stopping by. Please come back tomorrow as I write about my favorite ‘T’ U2 show.