With five days of preparation, U2 finally took the stage at TCF Bank Stadium on July 23, putting on one of the most spectacular outdoor concerts in Minnesota history. More than 55,000 fans (from all of the U.S.) flocked to the University of Minnesota campus to watch this amazing event.
The stage looked like a two-story space shuttle, almost as high as the Basilica. This mammoth structure had a 360-degree stage with two moving walkways, a huge circular video board, very large speakers, and lots of lights. The light show during the concert was astonishing, not including the lightning from nature!
U2 took the stage around 9pm, and six songs into the concert, rain hammered the stadium, soaking the band and fans. U2 played on as thunder and lightning arrived. Bono, the frontman, told the crowd that this concert was the beginning party of the end of the tour. U2 played some of their famous songs including: “One”, “Beautiful Day”, “Vertigo”, “City of Blinding Lights”, and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”
When U2 introduced the song “Beautiful Day,” they had Astronaut Mark Kelly, Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Gifford’s husband, do the introduction from the space shuttle by showing a feed on the video screen. At one point during the concert, U2 brought out a local Somali musician, K’naan, to sing a few verses of “Stand By Me” with Bono.
At various points during the concert, U2 threw in a couple “rainy” songs. One was “Purple Rain” by Prince. At times, Bono held an American flag umbrella because the rain was coming down so hard. But U2 seemed mostly to ignore the rain and lightning as they kept playing. The rain and thunder seemed to just encourage them to play harder.
The last major Minnesota outdoor concert was in 1978 when the Eagles and the Steve Miller Band played at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington and 65,000 fans attended the concert.
In terms of accessibility, I would have to give TCF Bank Stadium a just below average rating. The three-year-old stadium only has accessible seating on the lower deck. Plus, there are semi-permanent seats in most accessible seating areas. It would be impossible for two friends in wheelchairs to go to an event there without asking somebody to remove a seat.
It was a night to remember as the historic band landed at the University. On a glorious, rainy night, U2 put on a spectacle for the city of Minneapolis. I am wondering if the Twins asked U2 if they would sing the National Anthem for a game this past weekend – wouldn’t that be something?!
Written by: Michael L. Sack