Back to Rockville

Which U2 show in Kansas City was the best? A look at band’s seven previous shows

The stage for U2's Joshua Tree tour is massive. Here's a closer look

On Sept. 12, U2 will play at Arrowhead Stadium to commemorate the 30th anniversary of "The Joshua Tree." Here's a look at the massive stage U2 will be performing on. All stage photos from STUFISH.
Up Next
On Sept. 12, U2 will play at Arrowhead Stadium to commemorate the 30th anniversary of "The Joshua Tree." Here's a look at the massive stage U2 will be performing on. All stage photos from STUFISH.

U2’s concert at Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 12 will be the Irish rock band’s first Kansas City show in nearly 16 years. It will be their eighth Kansas City appearance since April 1981 and their third concert at Arrowhead.

Read Next

Here are some snapshot looks at each Kansas City show, including set lists (from setlist.fm) and some fan reactions (from u2gigs.com).

April 6, 1981: The Uptown Theater

For their first Kansas City show, U2 were touring on “Boy,” their debut full-length album, released in October 1980, which included the singles “A Day Without Me” and “I Will Follow.”

A fan’s recollection: “They did not have enough songs to really fill out the set, so they had to play several of them twice.”

Set list: The Ocean; 11 O’Clock Tick Tock; I Will Follow; An Cat Dubh; Into the Heart; Another Time, Another Place; The Cry; The Electric Co.; Things to Make and Do; Stories for Boys; Boy-Girl; Out of Control. Encore: A Day Without Me; 11 O’Clock Tick Tock; The Ocean; I Will Follow.

Feb. 25, 1982: The Uptown Theater

U2 returned to the Uptown the following February, four months after releasing “October,” their sophomore album, which included the singles “Fire” and “Gloria.”

Set list: Gloria; Another Time, Place; I Threw a Brick Through a Window; A Day Without Me; A Celebration; An Cat Dubh; Into the Heart; Rejoice; The Cry; The Electric Co. (with a snippet of Send in the Clowns); I Fall Down; October; Stories for Boys; I Will Follow; Twilight; Out of Control. Encore: Fire; 11 O’Clock Tick Tock; The Ocean; Southern Man (Neil Young cover); I Will Follow.

June 8, 1983: Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan.

Their first and only show in the state of Kansas. It followed the release in February 1983 of “War,” their third album. The set list included brief tributes to Michael Jackson and the Beatles.

Fan’s recollection: “Bono climbed up to the balcony section and was hoisted over the rail by the crowd.”

Set list: Out of Control; Twilight; An Cat Dubh/Into the Heart; Surrender (with snippet of Billie Jean); Two Hearts Beat as One; Seconds; Sunday Bloody Sunday; The Cry/Electric Co. (with snippet of “Send in the Clowns); I Fall Down (with snippet of Hard Days Night); October; New Year’s Day; I Threw a Brick Through a Window; A Day Without Me; Gloria. Encore: Party Girl; 11 O’Clock Tick Tock; I Will Follow; 40.

Oct. 26, 1987: Kemper Arena

Their first arena show in Kansas City came seven months after the release of “The Joshua Tree,” their best-selling album ever (10 million in the U.S. alone). They would perform seven of its 11 tracks.

Fan’s recollection: “I think I paid like $17 for (eighth-row) tickets.”

Set list: Where the Streets Have No Name; I Will Follow; Trip Through Your Wires; I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For; MLK; The Unforgettable Fire; Exit (with snippet of Van Morrison’s Gloria and the Doors’ Riders on the Storm); In God’s Country; Sunday Bloody Sunday; Help; Southern Man (Neil Young cover); Bad (with snippets of the Rolling Stones’ Ruby Tuesday and Sympathy for the Devil); October; New Year’s Day; Pride (In the Name of Love). Encore: Bullet the Blue Sky; Running to Stand Still; With or Without You; 40.

Oct. 18, 1992: Arrowhead Stadium

The Zoo TV Tour supported “Achtung Baby,” their seventh studio album. The tour was a visual spectacle, and Bono assumed several alter egos, including the Fly and MacPhisto. More than 37,800 attended.

Fan’s recollection: “Between ‘Running To Stand Still’ and ‘Where The Streets Have No Name,’ William S Burroughs appeared on the video screen reciting what I think is called ‘Thanksgiving Prayer.’ 

Set list: Zoo Station; The Fly; Even Better Than the Real Thing; Mysterious Ways; One (with snippet of Unchained Melody); Until the End of the World; New Year’s Day; Dirty Old Town (Ewan MacColl cover); Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World; Angel of Harlem; When Love Comes to Town; Satellite of Love (Lou Reed cover); Redemption Song (Bob Marley cover); Sunday Bloody Sunday; Bullet the Blue Sky; Running to Stand Still; Where the Streets Have No Name; Pride (In the Name of Love); I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For; Stand By Me (Ben E. King cover). Encore: Desire; With or Without You; Love Is Blindness; Can’t Help Falling in Love (Elvis Presley cover).

May 19, 1997: Arrowhead Stadium

U2’s second Arrowhead show in five years was another visual spectacle but it drew a smaller crowd — about 23,700. They were touring on “Pop,” one of the lowest-selling albums in their catalog. The set list included a karaoke cover of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” by the Edge.

The band spent the day after the show in downtown Kansas City filming a video to the song “Last Night on Earth,” featuring poet and Lawrence resident William S. Burroughs.

Set list: Mofo; I Will Follow; Even Better Than the Real Thing; Gone; Pride (In the Name of Love); I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (with snippet of Stand By Me); Last Night on Earth; Until the End of the World (with a snippet of the Doors’ Break On Through); If God Will Send His Angels; Staring at the Sun; Sweet Caroline; Miami; Bullet the Blue Sky (with snippet of America from West Side Story); Where the Streets Have No Name. Encore: Discoteque (with snippets of Love to Love You Baby and That’s The Way I Like It); If You Wear That Velvet Dress; With or Without You; Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me; Mysterious Ways; One.

Nov. 27, 2001: Kemper Arena

The Elevation Tour, which followed the release of “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” came to Kansas City less than three months after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The show was both somber and inspirational. During “One,” a roll call of the names of all the victims was scrolled up a screen and over the ceiling of the arena.

Fan’s recollection: “Before one of their songs, (Bono) told a story of their first gig at the Uptown Theater … and of a bartender who wouldn’t serve him because he was only 18.”

Set list: Elevation; Beautiful Day; Until the End of the World; New Year’s Day; I Will Follow; Sunday Bloody Sunday; Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of; Desire; Kite; Angel of Harlem; Please; Bad; Where the Streets Have No Name (with snippet of Psalm 116); I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For; Pride (In the Name of Love). Encore: Bullet the Blue Sky; What’s Going On (Marvin Gaye cover); New York; One; Peace on Earth; Walk On.

Read Next

Timothy Finn: 816-234-4781, @phinnagain

U2 at Arrowhead

U2 performs Sept. 12 at Arrowhead Stadium. Beck opens. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $35 and are available via Ticketmaster.

  Comments