I have to say, the stage was massive and over-the-fucking-top impressive. Initially, I thought it was some sort of mechanical spider like in "Wild, Wild, West" (a wiki wiki wild wild) but it turns out that it is supposed to be a spaceship and eventually I realized that it was based off of the alien ships from "Independence Day" (Will Smith movie reference count: 2). It had all sorts of moving parts and a crazy amount of speakers. It was so big that the top of it actually popped out of Soldier Field and could be seen from Lake Shore Drive. Enough about the crazy stage, on the the music.
Snow Patrol opened and surprisingly they were not terrible. That's not to say that they were great but going into it I was bitching and moaning about having to see Snow Patrol. Kaiser Chiefs and Glasvegas had opened some of the European shows so I felt kind of jilted. BUT they actually kind of rocked. Maybe I give them a hard time because all I ever hear on the radio by them is the kind of sentimental crap that gets played on "Grey's Anatomy" during an operating room death montage. Anyway, the lead singer was pretty amusing and basically admitted that he had been shit-faced every night since he arrived in Chicago. Plus, he played to the locals by sporting a Bears t-shirt.
There was a brief changeover which was about enough time for me to grab a fresh beer and then I knew it was on when they cutoff MGMT in the middle of "Time to Pretend" on the house system and started playing "Space Oddity" by Bowie over the crazy spaceship system. They played the whole song as the stage/spaceship came to life and U2 finally appeared (Bono must be the biggest individual holder of Bowie Bonds or something... it was freakin' sweet!).
U2 started with some crap from their new album which, I might add, is terrible. Then they played some of their more recent hits which the crowd loved and of course some stuff off of Joshua Tree and War that was greatly appreciated by 25+ crowd (the two 16 year olds in front of me were like "what the fuck is this?"... good music, a-holes).
Of course, it wouldn't be the U2 marketing/cause machine if Bono didn't take advantage of having a captive audience to spread the word on his latest cause (What don't we eat? Red meat! WHYYY don't we eat it? It's murder!). In addition to the standard AIDS in Africa cause, Bono wanted to make sure we all knew about Aung San Suu Kyi, the Prime Minister of Burma (Myanmar?), who was elected in 1990 and has spent the majority of her time under house arrest.
After several encores, U2 left the stage and the house lights came on to "Rocket Man" by Elton John.