U2 brought its "360" stadium tour to the U.S. Saturday night, following a successful run in Europe, and according to reviewers, the concert was a mixed bag. The tour is the band's first stadium tour in the U.S. in more than a decade: the last two tours were arena outings.

Rollingstone.com declared Sept. 12's opening night at Chicago's Soldier Field nothing less than a "reinvent[ion]" of  the stadium show, whereas the Chicago Sun Times review (by the often contrarian Jim DeRogatis) called the show an "empty spectacle."  The production boasts The Claw, a round stage in the middle of the field with arms that stretch the expanse of the stadium, that allows the band to get as close to the audience as possible.

Here's a collection of snippets from various reviews:

Rollingstone.com:  Last night at Chicago's Soldier Field they returned to American stadiums with the biggest concert stage ever built. It was, in every way, a huge success and proof that rock & roll can work in venues designed for 80,000 screaming football fans.... After nearly a quarter-century or more in near constant rotation, U2 finally retired concert warhorses "Bullet the Bullet Sky," "New Years Day" and "I Will Follow" - as well as more recent live favorites like "Mysterious Ways" and "Until the End of the World." That left room for not only the majority of the new disc, but rarities like the title track to 1984's The Unforgettable Fire (not played stateside since 1987) and "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)," which hasn't been performed since Zoo TV in 1993. The latter - one of only two tracks from U2's stellar 1990s catalog - was one of the show's highpoints.

Chicago Tribune:  At times, the stage set-up seemed more like a garish, environmentally challenged cover-up, as if to distract from the band's recent, less riveting music. But it also dazzled, especially when a spire of lights shot skyward during "City of Blinding Lights." ... Bono, in fine voice all night, sang with fervor during "Ultra Violet," crooned like a wounded David Lynch lounge lizard in "With or Without You" and then channeled his inner Otis Redding on the hymn-like closer, "Moment of Surrender."

Chicago Sun Times: But in place of the disorienting buzz of Zoo TV, U2 gave us the empty spectacle of the multimillion-dollar stage fans have come to call "the Claw," a ludicrous, fog-belching, crablike mega-structure that primarily succeeds in dwarfing the musicians onstage, recalling David Bowie's equally silly Glass Spider Tour and making recent Stones stages seem modest in comparison. (U2 really ought to talk to the Flaming Lips, who've been building a more impressive UFO stage out of supplies found at Home Depot at a cost of a few thousand bucks.)

USA Today: Over the course of 2¼ hours, the District 9 spectacle does on occasion overwhelm the musicians, but never the music. The Irish quartet works up a sweat pounding out a raw, spirited, briskly paced show built on a transcendent thunderous noise and bold, brash emotions, turning that cold, futuristic hulk into an unlikely transmitter of human passion...No question, concerts at the local football field can be a logistical pain. U2 has fine-tuned the experience with fine tunes pouring from an extraterrestrial jukebox that manages to radiate charisma, warmth and imagination. It's a band that still gives you something you can feel. In a word, liftoff.

Billboard: But unlike previous stadium tours such as 1992's Zoo TV Outside Broadcast and the 1997-98 Popmart trek, neither U2 nor its songs was dwarfed by the visual spectacle. Rather, The Claw and its components enhanced the songs, which included seven from the group's latest album, "No Line on the Horizon" -- four of which opened Saturday's show -- and a careful selection from U2's 29-year recording catalog...The emotional high point, however, was "Walk On;" dedicated, as usual, to imprisoned Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi, it was performed while three-dozen "volunteers" stood on the lower stage ramp holding masks bearing her likeness in front of their faces and was followed by a powerful version of "Where the Streets Have No Name."

 

Sept. 12's  U2 set list,  courtesy of Billboard.

"Breathe"
"No Line on the Horizon"
"Get On Your Boots"
"Magnificent"
"Beautiful Day"
"Elevation"
"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
"Stuck In a Moment You Can't Get Out Of"
"Unknown Caller"
"The Unforgettable Fire"
"City of Blinding Lights"
"I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (Redanka remix)"
"Sunday Bloody Sunday"
"Pride (In the Name of Love)"
"MLK"
"Walk On"
"Where The Streets Have No Name"
(encore)
"One"
"Bad"
(encore)
"Ultraviolet (Light My Way)"
"With or Without You"
"Moment of Surrender"

 

Here are the remaining tour dates. Good luck getting tickets, however, as the tour is sold out.

13 September, 2009

Chicago

IL

US

Soldier Field

       

16 September, 2009

Toronto

ON

CA

Rogers Centre

       

17 September, 2009

Toronto

ON

CA

Rogers Centre

       

20 September, 2009

Boston

MA

US

Gilette Stadium

       

21 September, 2009

Boston

MA

US

Gilette Stadium

       

23 September, 2009

E. Rutherford

NJ

US

Giants Stadium

       

24 September, 2009

E. Rutherford

NJ

US

Giants Stadium

       

29 September, 2009

Washington

DC

US

FedEx Field

       

01 October, 2009

Charlottesville

VA

US

Scott Stadium

       

03 October, 2009

Raleigh

NC

US

Carter-Finley Stadium

       

06 October, 2009

Atlanta

GA

US

Georgia Dome

       

09 October, 2009

Tampa

FL

US

Raymond James Stadium

       

12 October, 2009

Dallas

TX

US

New Cowboys Stadium

       

14 October, 2009

Houston

TX

US

Reliant Stadium

       

18 October, 2009

Norman

OK

US

Oklahoma Memorial Stadium

       

20 October, 2009

Phoenix

AZ

US

Univ. of Phoenix Stadium

       

23 October, 2009

Las Vegas

NV

US

Sam Boyd Stadium

       

25 October, 2009

Los Angeles

CA

US

Rose Bowl

       

28 October, 2009

Vancouver

BC

CA

BC Place Stadium