From both fans and critics alike, the response to U2’s performance Friday night at U.S. Bank Stadium was nothing short of fawning and rapturous. The hi-fi stage production was truly mesmerizing. The songs were presented in a thematic, meaningful way. The band was firing on all cylinders. If ever there was a concert where people had nothing to complain about it, this was it.
Of course, people still found something to complain about.
The acoustics at U.S. Bank Stadium were once again a sticking point for many fans after the show. A lot of the 50,000-plus attendees took to Twitter after the big gig to voice their frustration with the way it sounded. Some fans swore they would never attend a music event there again.
Truth be told, where I was seated in section F3 – lower level, midfield – the acoustics were quite good for U2. When I said as much on Twitter, however, many people responded by essentially accusing me of being whack. That’s not entirely a new thing, but it seemed worth exploring further in this case. So I sent out another tweet surveying attendees on what the acoustics were like in their sections.
“Great show, but horrendous sound,” Ken Hawkinson @kahawk wrote me. “No one in the building could understand a word Bono said.”
“First and last concert there,” declared Rob Clinite @Oranjespur, who said not even an all-original R.E.M. reunion would get him back in the building (a truly damning dis from a U2 fan).
This was still only the fifth concert at the new $1 billion football palace, which was partially sold to tax payers as a viable concert venue. Friday's show came with the heightened expectation that if anyone could make the place sound good, it’s U2, who have been playing stadiums for decades and have top-of-the-line sound techs and equipment -- a fact reiterated their last time in town at an excellent-sounding TCF Bank Stadium show in 2011.
Generally, many fans agreed the sound in USBS was especially bad during the opening act Beck but got better for U2 (which could be blamed on empty seats and Beck’s less-experienced crew). Most of the fans who had the general-admission, standing-room-only floor tickets were very happy with the way things sounded down there (and those tickets were under $100!).
Beyond that, though, the complaints were all across the board and all around the venue. Some fans in the upper levels actually said they were pleasantly surprised the acoustics were not as bad as they thought they would be. But they were definitely in the minority.
Here’s a sampling of the responses below.
Sound worse than legendary Dome/Dead/Dylan? Never going back to this dump for show.— Paul S. (@paulreels) September 9, 2017
Never thought I'd be nostalgic for the Metrodome, but hey it was paid for and what did @usbankstadium cost? Dump.— Jim Cook (@MnEsdad) September 9, 2017
We had lower deck seats & the sound was bad. Saw the same show in Philly outdoors & it was much better. My first & last show at US Bank.— Julie Ring (@JulieMpls) September 9, 2017
For those that paid of $350+ I would be livid. Personally will not go to another show at Bank and didn't pay nearly what others did.— Karl E Maanum (@whtwouldkarlsay) September 9, 2017
Very good sound up front on the floor— bcbrown (@bcbrown) September 9, 2017
Horrific for Beck in 133. Improved as U2 played but still lots of echo. Earplugs helped. If I spent the $ that so many spent,I'd be pissed.— jen keavy (@jenkeavy) September 9, 2017
In 107; bad for Beck, but improved after U2 started Joshua Tree— Gillian Rosenquist (@gvgillian) September 9, 2017
Sounded excellent on the floor by the booth— Meghan (@aSaladADay) September 9, 2017
Would rate section 221 as atrocious for Beck, acceptable (but far from good) for U2. Couldn't make out Bono's spoken words. Lots of echo.— Jeff Glaze (@jeffglaze) September 9, 2017
Worse than Roy Wilkins where I actually walked out of the Postal Service show halfway through.— Jonathan P. Braman (@shouldergeek) September 9, 2017
It wasn't great. But I still enjoyed the show. It is what I expected for a huge venue. Also why I rarely spend $ on huge venues. Still fun!!— Bob B (@St_Paul_BoB) September 9, 2017
Wouldn't you think that accustic engineers be consulted when this place was designed?— Joseph Peñaloza (@joedrawing3) September 9, 2017
Lots of stadiums sound good. Rooms made of glass never sound good.— Brent A (@KiddCann) September 9, 2017