Opening Act(s): Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul, Los Lobos
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, In God's Country, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Help, People Get Ready, Bad, October, New Year's Day, Pride (In The Name Of Love). Encore(s): Bullet The Blue Sky, Running To Stand Still, With Or Without You, 40.
Montreal Gazette, October 2, 1987
Wild U2 crusaders stride in and conquer the Big O beast
by John Griffin
In the whole wide world today, there is only one band capable of confronting the Olympic Stadium beast and staring it down. That band is U2.
The Irish Quartet strode like wild Western crusaders into the heart of acoustic darkness before 65,000 fanatic believers last night and turned potential disaster into a victory that had more to do with religious communion than it did with rock'n'roll.
With singer Bono leading the service despite an arm broken from a recent fall from a stage in Cleveland, the globe's most popular group staged a performance of messianic proportions that was easily a match for the Big O's daunting dimensions.
The stage itself was enormous, framed by a giant, delicate Japanese screen of a desert motif, taken from their multi-million selling LP The Joshua Tree.
As the strains of the Beatles' All You need is Love on the p.a. system faded away, U2 quietly took the stage, plugged into many many thousands of watts of power, and leapt immediately to the attack with the galloping rhythms of Where the Streets Have No Name, followed that with I will Follow, had the entire venue singing a cappella to their new anthem I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For and drove the assembled to frightening intensity with Sunday Bloody Sunday. The magic in the place was palpable and set the tone for the rest of the performance.
Indeed, it took magic and tremendous faith to make something of the night. Tens of thousands had stood cheek to leather jacket on the stadium floor waiting through opening sets with Little Steven and Los Lobos for the opportunity to see their idols as something more than inch-high heroes.
The going was brutal in the ranks directly in front of the stage andsecurity guards pulled fainting kids out of the masses like fish from a spawning river all night. Were it not for the tremendous moral force U2 exercises with its music and personal stance, this could have been a tragic time.
As it was, the sight of all those bodies swaying and waving like asea of light was one to treasure. This was no conventional concert; it was an event.
And a classy one at that, given the impossibility of making real music in a building whose roof now lends it the look of a hotel toilet bowl with sanitary cover neatly in place.
Little Steven was fed to the sonic lions in the early slot, while kids were still stumbling for their seats in complete darkness. Los Lobos, make that Lost Lobos, fared only slightly better, though they raised a huge cry with La Bamba, which thes kids recognized despite the echo factor.
Still, in a situation where only the largest gestures could make an impact, small things made the difference. There was terrific music in the lengthy down time between sets from cats like Hank Williams, Little Richard, Booker T. and the Waterboys.
There was a raised platform and special toilet built on the stadium floor for the handicapped.
And U2 saw to it Ammnesty International had a booth in the foyer to compete with the T-shirt and fast food concessions.
Little touches, but they added elements of humanity to an inhumean hall that U2's performance drove on home.
© 1987 Montreal Gazette.