The Irish rock band interspersed new songs with old hits during the only Philadelphia stop on its "PopMart" tour. Franklin Field is usually quiet during the summer months, but on Sunday night the field came alive as Irish rock band U2 dazzled an audience of over 50,000 during the only Philadelphia stop on its "PopMart" tour. Students accustomed to watching home football games might have had difficulty recognizing the stadium. Seats covered the field and there was an elaborate set -- featuring the words "PopMart" in giant red letters and framed by a huge golden arch, an olive hovering atop a toothpick that shot into the night sky and a 40-foot neon lemon -- where the scoreboard usually is. After an opening set by the Fun Lovin' Criminals -- who also played at this year's Spring Fling Concert -- U2 entered the stadium and brought the crowd to its feet. Most of the audience remained standing throughout the high-energy performance until it ended two hours and twenty songs later. The Grammy award-winning band interspersed songs from its new album Pop with songs from previous albums, including "Pride (In the Name of Love," "With or Without you," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "Where the Streets Have No Names" and "One." The concert centered around the band's love-hate relationship with America -- the country that turned U2 "into a great big rock band." "The great big band got scared the corporate monster would eat us up," lead singer Bono explained. But before the monster could eat the band, "we decided to eat the the monster," he said. The American theme extended to the huge golden arch -- resembling that of a McDonald's restaurant -- and an umbrella decorated with stars and stripes. The show featured an array of spectacular effects, including a giant 170 by 56 foot video screen which displayed enlarged images of the band members, flashy animation and colorful abstractions. Before the encore of "Discotheque," the lemon turned into a futuristic glittering silver disco ball and opened, revealing Bono, guitarist the Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen. A variety of effects produced by the 1,000 lighting fixtures, six lighting machines, 20 Xenon searchlights and 100 strobe lights also enhanced the concert. Throughout the evening, the band involved the audience in its performance. During a rendition of "Daydream Believer" by the Monkees, the lyrics appeared on the giant screen so audience members could sing along. Bono even brought a girl onstage to dance with him at one point in the show. "I thought it was a very successful event," University spokesperson Ken Wildes said. "Everybody seemed to have a good time and fortunately it was a beautiful night." He added that the only problem was traffic control. The University and concert promoters anticipated the large number of cars and recommended public transportation, which helped alleviate parking problems. But he explained that while concert-goers arrived at different times, they all left at once, causing congestion. While it would be nice to have concerts at Franklin Field during the school year when more students could attend, Wildes noted that such events would be difficult to schedule because of additional demands on facilities. Representatives from all areas of the University involved in the concert -- from athletics to the Physical Plant to security -- will gather for a debriefing, and Wildes said they will evaluate the pros and cons of Franklin Field hosting similar events in the future.Comments powered by Disqus
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