Review: U2 in Detroit

Labour Day weekend was upon us and it was time to hit the road!  After hearing how amazing the Joshua Tree show in Toronto was in June, I decided to get some tickets to see U2 in Detroit as they had added a few additional tour dates.  Was it foolish to not go to the Toronto show with Claude?  Perhaps!  But that foolishness was soon rectified as we hit the road for Detroit rock city!

Vero, Sierra and I hit the road to head to Ajax on Friday.  We had traveled with Sierra the year before so we thought it was due time to return to see some family.  We’re still trying to see how Sierra is as a traveler.  She pretty much slept all the way to Kingston which was great and we decided to pick up some food and head to a park so she could get out and stretch her legs.  I loved how we met this other family who told us that this park wasn’t exactly in the greatest part of Kingston and that they needed to sweep the area for needles before their kid could crawl around.  Yikes!  Good to know for next time!

But Dad, I don’t want to go back in the car for another couple of hours!

We arrived in Ajax early afternoon and hung out with the Palmer clan.  It was good to see them all without guitar in tow as I find that while I thoroughly enjoy a night of music, I don’t get a lot of one-on-one time with everyone while doing that.

Troy and Connie picked up Sierra’s new favourite toys for the bathtub!

Sierra showing Wendy how to eat corn on the cob….raw!

I didn’t realize what bag I gave Nanny at the time to entertain Sierra!

Of course out of 20 takes of a photo of the three of us, I had to be the one who messed up the best take.

Nanny has her eye on you at all times!

Nanny and Sierra heading out for a stroll.

The next day we headed out to Barrie to see Mackenize, Carson, Ryan and Emilie.  I hadn’t seen all of them for a few years and they have moved to a new house  I wanted to check out.

Best friend forever and still having a great time even if it’s dealing with three kids in a tub.

Sierra checking out what school is all about.

Sierra discovered Madame Emilie’s box of ‘now it’s time to be quiet kids’

Having fun!  It was great hanging out with these munchkins.  They have a lot of energy and it made me realize I need to mentally prepare myself for kids who just want to horse around all the time!

Arriving in the big city!

The next day was the main event…U2 in Detroit!  Claude and I decided to meet at the Yorkdale shopping center which was convenient for him coming off the 401 and convenient for me taking the GO Train from Barrie.  It was the perfect road trip other than a bout of construction on the 401.  But other than that, the four hour trip to Windsor flew by…mostly because we can chatter about every topic like a bunch of ladies knitting for hours on end.

We arrived in Windsor, threw our stuff into the hotel and got the bus over to Detroit.  I find it interesting that you can’t walk over to Detroit considering it’s 2 km from our hotel.  This proved to be quite horrible when we had to get the bus back and it took us nearly 2 hours in traffic after the show.  Ridiculous!

Arriving at the Ford Field, we didn’t check out the downtown core because we didn’t want to miss Beck opening up for U2.  It was pretty smooth sailing throughout the entire night…no lineups for beer, food, or getting down to the floor.  I don’t think I’ve ever been in a US football stadium before and it’s quite amazing how it can fit upwards of 70,000 people.  Most of the people are in the first level.

That second beer was a bad idea considering we knew we would be stuck on the floor all night with no hope of getting back to our spot.  One time in Toronto Claude had to go to the bathroom and I didn’t see him for two hours as he just couldn’t get back to us.  

We had a great spot on the floor for a view standpoint.  I really like how Ford Field feels like you are in a warehouse.  

The stage for the Joshua Tree tour is quite awesome considering that yellow thing you see in the photo is a screen!

Overall, I have to say that the concert was fantastic.  I really enjoyed how they structured the setlist with a few older tunes, the entire Joshua Tree album and then tunes from later in their catalogue.  It was incredible seeing some songs played live for the first time compared to others that I’ve seen 5-6 times.  However, there is one gripe that really affected me during the show.

Man, the Detroit crowd kind of sucks.

Sure, I’m in the extreme for liking to rock out at a concert as my friends can attest, but when the people around you don’t even chant on Pride (In the Name of Love) you know there’s something wrong.  I have this sneaking suspicion that we were sandwiched between what I like to call the hardcore fans…the ones that travel the country to catch every show.  Well, the thing is, if you go see a band 20 times and they play virtually the same setlist every night, I don’t think you’re going to be excited.  I felt like we were surrounded by these people.  There was no excitement around us.  As Claude put it “I think we were the only two people singing along and clapping.”  Let’s just say the religious experience of hearing Streets and having the entire stadium shake beneath your feet did not happen and it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Days later I managed to gain a little perspective and realized that it was still probably the best U2 show I have ever seen.

We were just to the right of the small tree stage on the floor.  I quite liked the stage design of the Joshua tree casting a shadow stage on the floor.  Or is it the other way around?

Witness the most powerful stage experience I have ever witnessed….when the black screen sprung to life with this incredible red.  It really hit me.

You know it’s going to get good when this happens!

Our spot on the floor gave us a really cool perspective as the screen would have films that would sway and it made it look like the band was moving across the stage while standing perfectly still.  It’s hard to describe.  I need to find a video to show you.

Always a moving experience when the entire crowd lights up their cellphones at a show.

Other than Patti Smith and absolutely destroying a song, there weren’t many hiccups for a band that was on vacation for a few months.  We left the show immediately feeling upset from the lacklustre crowd and headed back to our hotel which took us 2 hours…then a ride home for 8 hours the next day….but in the end, I feel that it was the greatest U2 show I had witnessed but the best experience still is from the U2 360 tour as the show and the crowd merged into an amazing experience.

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