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Is U2 Worth Paying Insane Money To See Live?


-- Lexi Feinberg

Seeing U2 in concert is the closest thing I’ve had to a religious experience … and I’m an atheist.

That’s really saying something.

I was lucky enough to catch the band during its Elevation Tour in 2001, an experience that cost me upward of $150. As a minimum wage-earning college student at the time, that was the equivalent of opening a dam right into my bank account and watching it flush away all the money. But I’ve never regretted it, and I’ve paid to see the Irish lads perform twice since then.

I don’t know how they do it but the second they walk onto the stage, it’s like magic--the ultimate concert high (although the secondhand pot smoke never hurts). There’s nothing quite like hearing The Edge crank out the opening acoustics to “Where The Streets Have No Name” or watching Bono croon and strut like the rock star god that he is. Everything gels in a seemingly effortless way.

While I can certainly understand someone’s reluctance to spend that kind of money on a ticket, in my eyes, it’s well worth the splurge. U2’s recent offerings may leave plenty to be desired (uno, dos, tres … catorce? Looks like someone failed eighth-grade Spanish) but the guys play so much of their older stuff that it’s an afterthought. And besides, even the weaker songs sound incredible live, because somehow they can make Jello taste like crème brulèe.

Another thing working in their favor is that Bono is the greatest celebrity humanitarian this side of Paul Newman. If you’re going to blow heaps of money on a few hours of bliss, why not give it to someone who is trying to make the world a better place?


-- J.P. Gorman

U2 is one of the most important rock bands of the modern period. And, since the guys have been popular since the early 1980s, they’ve been huge for three decades while being relevant to numerous musical eras.

Bono is a wonderful spokesman for several worldwide relief organizations and causes, and uses his position as World’s Biggest Rock Star to actually do some good. He’s also an electric onstage presence who takes the job of being the lead singer in a rock and roll band very seriously. The Edge, in turn, carved his own unique niche in rock guitar playing. His innovative effects-laden style is all over music today and is the lynchpin in U2’s genre-crossing aesthetic.

Few bands have had as much longevity as U2, while its consistently popular output ranks it with only the Rolling Stones atop that category in rock history.

That said, there is no way in hell I would pay to see the band live. Not for what it’s going to cost me.

U2 qualifies as both ‘80s nostalgia act and current chart-topper, and being such seems to allow the rockers to charge a two-for-one price. Also, with the fireworks, the lights, their opulent stage decorations, Bono’s sunglasses, Edge’s skullcaps and everything else, they need to charge a fair amount just to recoup expenses, especially considering their ambitious touring schedules.

I understand that with as many albums as they’ve sold, they’re only playing the impressive hand they hold. I know where they’re at in their careers and what they mean to modern music.

I also know that I have to pay rent and utilities every month, don’t make that much money and could see five of my favorite bands for the cost of one decent seat at a U2 concert.

I would, however, go for free.

Where Do You Stand?

Last Week’s Column: ’80s Music – So Bad It’s Good, Or Just Plain Bad?

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