The U2 touring juggernaut arrives in Oakland tonight for a concert experience that is nothing short of amazing.

After a yearlong wait while Bono recovered from back surgery, I caught the band in May with +72,000 other people when the 360 Tour stopped in Denver. The stage alone, the largest ever constructed for a rock show, is reason enough to go. At a 164-feet-tall, with rotating bridges from the central stage that link to an outer ring, it dwarfs any other performance I’ve attended. The LED screen, constructed with expanding components, provides amazingly clear visuals and a near hallucinatory experience during the second half of the set.

The band provided a good mix of classic and new tunes, although I’m sure the crowd wouldn’t have complained if it traded out a few of it’s more recent dance tracks for cuts off of its earlier albums. Bono injected a healthy dose of activist messages, as well, with talking points on Amnesty International and political struggles in Burma.

In April, the tour grossed $554 million, passing the Rolling Stones’ Bigger Bang tour (2005-07) for largest-grossing tour of all time, and some projections predict it could reach $700 million by the time the tour ends in July. Sometimes you just need a big summer blockbuster, and U2 fits the bill perfectly.

U2 performs at the Oakland Coliseum tonight. Tickets are $39-$300. The show starts at 7pm and Lenny Kravitz opens.

Visuals from the Denver show:

(Photos by Matt Crawford)