The big show that I’d been waiting for throughout the year has finally come & gone. I got to see U2 for the first time at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

I’d never been interested in seeing a show in a football stadium before. Even hockey arena concerts are usually too big & impersonal for me. I figured any show in a football stadium would be taking that to an extreme, and I figured the sound would be horrible on top of it. For the first time ever, I made an exception and back in April got tickets to see U2. Turns out, the sound was really good, and the seats were closer to the stage than many shows I’ve seen in hockey arenas.

I’ve never seen U2 before, so I was pretty excited by the time the concert rolled around. Muse was the opening act and I couldn’t have been happier since they were also at the top of my list of bands to see. The show drew the biggest crowd ever to attend an event at the stadium, even eclipsing the attendance for the two super bowls that have been held there.

U2 in Tampa

The stage setup was superlative. The superstructure that towered above the stage could be seen from outside the stadium, and the stage basically stretched from one end-zone to about where the 50-yard line would have been. Even a good chunk of that space had people in it, as the stage had space for people inside an outer ring.

Muse came out & played a solid show. They got a really strong reaction from the crowd, which was pretty good for just being the opening band. I walked in already a Muse fan, and their set made me into an even bigger fan.

U2 is probably one of the only bands that has the stature and sound to fill a football stadium, and I’ll be damned if they didn’t pull it off. Where many bands would be lost in a stadium that size, U2 almost made it seem cozy. The musicians were dwarfed by the stage, which was (barely) dwarfed by the stadium, but when 72,000 fans are singing along to “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” you end up feeling like you’re really not that far from the band.

“Still Haven’t Found…” segued into “Stand By Me” and brought tears to my eyes, as did “With or Without You.” “City of Blinding Lights” and “Beautiful Day” wowed me. “Where The Streets Have No Name” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday” gave me goosebumps. This was one of the top 10 concerts I’ve ever seen.

Usually after getting myself up for a show, I don’t listen to the band again for a week or two because I’ve played them so much. I left the U2 concert an even bigger fan of both Muse and U2, and still can’t get enough of either of them. That’s saying something.

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