Opening Act(s): Lone Justice
Where The Streets Have No Name, I Will Follow, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, MLK, The Unforgettable Fire, Bullet The Blue Sky, Running To Stand Still, A Sort Of Homecoming, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Exit, In God's Country, Bad, October, New Year's Day, Pride (In The Name Of Love). Encore(s): With Or Without You, Gloria, I Shall Be Released, Mothers Of The Disappeared.
Mothers Of The Disappeared makes its live debut and I Shall Be Released is performed with Maria McKee.
San Diego Union-Tribune, April 15, 1987
U2: San Diego Sports Arena
by Divina Infusino
Throughout the history of rock 'n' roll, certain bands have strived to raise the music above sheer entertainment, to grasp for its power to draw people together, to bring experience into clearer focus rather than escape it, to crystallize the times we live in.
This list of names is filled with legends: Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Janis Joplin, the Sex Pistols, Bruce Springsteen, among others.
Now to that roster, add U2, an Irish quartet that thrilled an ecstatic crowd of 13,500 last night at the Sports Arena.
U2's predecessors are famed for their lyrics, their abandon, their integrity. U2 too forms a bond with its audience through many sources: the band's ability to play as one mind, the breadth of lyrical themes from anti-war statements to spiritual quests to love songs, Bono's lead vocals, his sense of heroic theater, his poetic intensity and social conscience powered by an animal magnetism. To that add the band's spontaneity, which led to some sublime moments and its effort to connect with the audience in a genuine, rather than the manipulative, way that characterizes even some of the best concerts.
While its performance built steadily and the band was more serious than exuberant in its first of two shows here -- the group performs again tonight -- U2 unfolded a rich 105-minute show that touched on every facet of experience: joy, anger, sadness, fear, politics, personal and spiritual quests. lobby.
The sadness was apparent in Bono's caring reading of "Running to Stand Still," an anti-drug song from the band's new album, "The Joshua Tree." Although a true rabblerouser as a lead man, with a voice that can scream or sing with a fierce passion, Bono was at his best during "Bad," when he brought the house to an uneasy quiet and his voice seemed to cradle the meaning of every word as he enunciated it.
The band echoed these swings of feelings. Lead guitarist, The Edge, was in rare form, his guitar ticking a nervous rhythm and stepping out eloquently on solos. Rhythm section Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen worked in perfect sync with Bono and The Edge.
But perhaps U2's greatest strength is its ability to find joy even in the most troubled of subjects. That happened in the musical and emotional highlight of the show, "Pride (In the Name of Love)." Not only was the band's performance of this Martin Luther King tribute outstanding, but during this song Bono spotted a woman in the audience "sending him signals." He brought her onstage and she motioned sign language to the song. They ended "singing" together, embracing. Many were wiping their eyes after that one.
The encores were somewhat of a letdown. U2's version of "I Shall Be Released" will probably be great by the end of the tour. The band's momentum was broken when audience members stormed the stage uninvited.
This show could easily have been a disappointment, given the expectations that preceded it. Last night's show sold out in a Sports Arena record of one hour and 17 minutes. Yesterday afternoon, ticket brokers were selling loge seats for $40 and 10th-row center for $119 a piece.
Not only had U2 not played in San Diego for years, but the group has begun what is likely to rank as one of the biggest tours of the year, on the heels of releasing one of the biggest albums of the year, "The Joshua Tree."
But there is nothing disappointing about a band who cares so deeply and inspires its audience to do the same. Everyone who cares about rock should see this group at least once.
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