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Concert Review: U2

With the season winding down, and the games turning to virtually meaningless, I spent last night at the U2 concert at the United Center.

The opening act, which played for about 45 minutes, was called Dashboard Confessional. Here's how much impact they had: when they introduced themselves, I thought they called themselves "Desperate Professionals", and that's pretty much what they were. They weren't bad, they just weren't very good, either -- sort of the Neifi Perez of bands.

U2 is arguably the #1 rock band in the world today (to continue the metaphor, you could call them the Derrek Lee of bands), and after more than twenty years on the music scene, and many hit songs and their political involvement in such things as Bono's well-publicized crusade against AIDS in Africa, they need to guard against becoming a "greatest hits" band, as the Rolling Stones are sometimes accused of being.

I think they succeeded. Their energy is palpable, not just from being a rock band in a large arena, but even at fortysomething Bono and the rest of the group dances around the circular stage that houses about half the standing-room general admission crowd -- speaking of which, I ran into Phil during the intermission between acts; he was in the back part of the GA crowd, and said he'd bought his ticket on the street for $60. The rest of the stage setup included a series of "light curtains" which would come up and down for various songs, at one point showing multicolored flags of nations from all over the world.

They played new stuff ("Vertigo", "Yahweh"), and many, many old favorites, including a song that has a Cub connection.

Oh, you figured I'd work that in here somehow, didn't you?

If any of you have the 1984 team video that the ballclub put out after that NL East championship season (and right now the title of it escapes me), the producers of the video went right up to the very last day, the game five debacle in San Diego, and put the entire collapse to U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday". To this day I cannot hear that song without thinking of that game. Yes, I know the song's about a far more serious topic -- the still-ongoing clash in Northern Ireland -- but somehow, it fits the Cub events of that day.

They also put snippets of several popular songs from other groups interlaced with their own: "Break On Through" (Doors), "See Me, Feel Me" (The Who), and even a bit of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (do I really have to tell you who did that one?).

While the "Derrek Lee" of bands was rocking the United Center, the actual Derrek Lee was having a tough day -- striking out four times -- as the Cubs lost to the Brewers 5-3 in the big battle for third place in the NL Central (sarcasm intended).

Having not seen any of this game, I can only comment that if the Cubs were considering skipping Jerome Williams' turn for the rest of the year, the first inning would have cemented that decision. A sac fly and a two-run homer pretty much ended the game right there, although Williams threw well enough for the rest of the time he was in the game.

And, I think I would have just gotten upset over the bases-loaded, none-out "rally" in the Cub seventh which resulted in a groundout, a popup and the third Lee strikeout.

So maybe instead you'd like to read about Colorado's 20-1 win over San Diego, which set a new Padres record for most runs allowed in a game. Know when the old Padres record was set?

In this game on May 13, 1969. At Wrigley Field.

That loss dropped the Padres back to .500 at 75-75, still in first place in the NL West. If the Cubs were in that division, they'd be a game and a half out of first.

Oh, well. Time for lesser goals, like taking third place back tonight.