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Fans flock to see U2 rock Norman

BY GEORGE LANG Modified: October 19, 2009 at 8:34 am •  Published: October 19, 2009

photo - Bono sings with U2 on Sunday at Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Bono sings with U2 on Sunday at Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
If it weren’t for the 150-foot tall, four-legged, green and orange monster sitting on Owen Field, the scene in Norman could have passed for a game day. Homeowners and church groups sold parcels of property for $15 a car, local bands filled the air with classic rock outside bars, and tailgating was the official sport of spectators. But the team playing Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Sunday was visiting from Dublin, Ireland.

It was the "U2 360” tour that was responsible for the giant, alien-looking stage structure sitting inside the stadium, and fans started showing up early around campus to get a look at the stage and celebrate U2’s first performance in Norman since 1983.

James Takahata, a waiter at O’Connell’s on Lindsey Street, said he’d been serving hungry and thirsty U2 fans since the tavern opened for business at 10 a.m., and a steady stream of fans worked their way through the popular game day destination.

Plenty of local fans didn’t have to travel far, but a sizeable number of people had gotten behind the wheel before sunrise to see Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.

"The date coincided with fall break for college,” said Barry Rabinovich, a student from Lakewood, Colo., who first became a fan when he heard "Vertigo” in 2004. "I was really sad, because I didn’t think I’d make it to the ‘360’ tour, but my college said we had a two-day break Monday and Tuesday. So I’ll drive back tomorrow, but this is awesome.”

Bruce Brown of Wichita, Kan., said he’d been a fan since the group reached superstar status with its 1987 breakthrough album, "The Joshua Tree.

U2 360 tour

Crowd: About 60,000.

Early Highlight: Bono and The Edge took to the circular track around the massive U2 360 stage and powered through a charismatic rendition of "Mysterious Ways” before transitioning into a thunderous "Beautiful Day.”

Reviewer’s Take: Three decades into its career, U2 still does everything it can in concert to earn the job of "Biggest Band in the World.”

Your take: Submit your own review online at

George Lang, The Oklahoman


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