I finally caught the U2 360 Tour Live in Norman, Oklahoma last weekend. You could have caught it too, if you were so inclined, as Norman was the only city on the tour that was not sold out. I attribute this to Norman's placement on the list of Weekend-Vacation-Destinations somewhere around #112. That's just below Akron. 

 The show was an auditory feast and eye-popping extravaganza, well-worth having to sit through an hour of the Black Eyed Peas (boy, were my humps aching) as Will.i.am reminded us 26 times that we were currently in the state of Oklahoma. Maybe he should change his name to Where.i.am. Oh, snap!

 U2 spanned the majority of their discography within the evening's repertoire, breathing new vigor into old staples like "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "The Unforgettable Fire" while reinterpreting several tracks off of their new album. "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" was remixed with a thumping bassline, transforming the "spaceship" set into a veritable dance club while "No Line On The Horizon" lost its Brian-Eno etherialism, becoming a visceral rock experience. And, my oh my, what a spaceship it was. The most gargantuan (and expensive) touring set-up of all time, the 360 tour lived up to its name by creating a pulsating heart of a stage that seemed to reach out into the audience itself as it whirred, spun, and prepared us for lift-off.

 Of course, lift-off is why a fan attends a U2 live experience in the first place. As the ultimate performer, Bono is raw enough to pull 60,000+ into his most intimate numbers ("Stuck In a Moment," "MLK," "One"), and enough of a grand showman to be a one-man spectacle that rivals the massive set ("Get On Your Boots," "Until the End of the World," "Ultraviolet"). But, it is as outspoken Followers of Christ where Bono and the band come off as the most vulnerable and intimate. Each evening of the tour breaks away from the typical rattle and hum of a live rock spectacle in order for U2 to enter into worship (and many times lead an unassuming crowd there as well). These moments are the highlights of a U2 show, even if you ask a fan who has no idea these moments exist. The urgent surrender of "Magnificent," the pained questioning of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," the plea for help of "Unknown Caller," and finally the moment when Bono says "every night, God walks into the room:" the one-two punch of "Amazing Grace" and "Where the Streets Have No Name." Bono has arguably led more non-believers into singing whole-hearted reverent worship to God than any church musician in history. That alone is worth the price of admission.

 But, hey, no need to pay. Sunday night, in an unprecedented act of freebie-ism, U2 broadcast the Pasadena show of the 360 tour LIVE on YouTube. It streamed repeatedly on the site all-day yesterday as well, and will more than likely continue to do so throughout the week. It's no replacement for the experience of actually being in the room, but it's a nice taste of what you're missing if you don't want to shell out the cash. So, go. Partake. You can read the last sentence of this blog post later.

 What do you think? Have you seen the show live? On YouTube? What moments moved you? Leave me your comments below, and while you're at it, feel free to defend Norman as a travel destination.