Opening Act(s): Lone Justice
11 O'Clock Tick Tock, I Will Follow, Seconds, Two Hearts Beat As One, MLK, The Unforgettable Fire, Wire, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Cry, The Electric Co., A Sort Of Homecoming, Bad, October, New Year's Day, Pride (In The Name Of Love). Encore(s): Knockin' On Heaven's Door, Gloria, 40.
Montreal Gazette, March 28, 1985
U2 moves the Forum
by John Griffin
"We used to be frightened of large arenas," said Bono as he and U2 moved into the second half of their show at the Forum last night.
"But this music and these people," he continued to a terrible roar from the crowd, "are bigger than this place."
It was a night for rock-as-religious-experience. There is no concert in recent or dim distant memory to move an audience as this one by four Irishmen out to conquer the hearts, minds and souls of America.
They succeeded beyond our wildest fantasies, and, perhaps, beyond theirs as well. In one of many stirring messages to some 17,000 standing, swaying, cheering fans, singer and frontman Bono said, "We've come a long way, but we didn't exexpect this."
The Forum was filled beyond capacity. The show had been sold out weeks in advance. Outside the arena in the hours before 8 p.m. scalpers begged for seats while others waved $100 bills in vain hopes of a place with the faithful at floor level.
What they missed was power and glory on an inspiring scale.
U2 play rock to move mountains and change people's lives.
Fired by Bono's stylized movements and passionate delivery, and fuelled by The Edge's jagged guitar and the galvanizing rhythm section of drummer Larry Mullen and bassist Adam Clayton, U2 turned this evening into a strange and beautiful revival hall meeting.
Bono fans the flames of mystic, spiritual revolution; he dresses in the black frock coat of a travelling preacher, drapes himself in flags, lays on hands, and leans into his music and audience to a degree almost unknown in rock.
The music takes care of the rest of the conversion.
They played the antiwar anthem Sunday Bloody Sunday, and hits like I Will Follow, Wire and New Years Day that are rallying cries for a generation.
Even their tribute to Martin Luther King, which had sounded forced on their last album, The Unforgettable Fire, came across strong and true, with thousands of flames lit by the audience in a spontaneous sign of respect.
After the concert, in the glow of so much positive energy, one had to wonder just how Bono lives with that much real and potential power. For, no mistake, he could have led this crowd off a cliff.
It's fortunate that, for all their carefully orchestrated lighting and stage choreography, U2 seem committed to wielding this awesome force towards some real public good. God knows, there's room enough for that in rock.
A wonderful New Country band from California called Lone Justice opened for U2. Imagine a singer whose voice and emotions live somewhere between Chrissie Hynde and Emmylou Harris and whose stage craft is all punk, and you've got a handle on 19-year-old Maria McKee.
She and her five-piece group tore the rubber off some amazing material from their upcoming debut LP; they received a chorus of boos for their trouble. And this was a crowd come for a band that extols tolerance, justice and compassion. For shame!
© Montreal Gazette, 1985.