Opening Act(s): Third Eye Blind
Mofo, I Will Follow, Gone, Even Better Than The Real Thing, Last Night On Earth, Until The End Of The World, New Year’s Day, Pride (In The Name Of Love), I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, All I Want Is You, Staring At The Sun, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bullet The Blue Sky, Please, Where The Streets Have No Name. Encore(s): Discothèque, If You Wear That Velvet Dress, With Or Without You, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me, Mysterious Ways, One-Wake Up Dead Man.
U2 marches forward
by Betsy Powell
U2 steered their extravagant, glitzy PopMart tour into SkyDome last night, offering newer songs back-to-back with greatest hits and giving the crowd of 50,000 the reason they needed to fire up their lighters.
Fifty-odd dates after a shaky unveiling of PopMart in Las Vegas last April, the Irish supergroup seemed refreshed and sounded tight and polished. They staged a well-scripted show that didn’t feel over-rehearsed, given an abundance of ad-libbed moments and lyrical deviations, as they played beneath a soaring golden arch that loomed on stage.
U2 are selling Pop, their latest and eleventh CD that has not yet caught the public’s ear, explaining the piecemeal delivery of the newer songs served as single offerings sandwiched between the familiar notes of the Martin-Luther King homage, “Pride” (In The Name Of Love) or the seldom played “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” performed solo by The Edge who strummed an acoustic guitar at the end of a long walkway jutting into the crowd.
Halfway into the two-hour spectacle, lead singer Bono explained the rationale behind PopMart after thanking long-time fans in the city for turning U2 “into a great big rock group.”
“Sometimes great big rock bands get scared,” he yelled to the audience filled with people in their 20s and 30s. “They get scared they’re going to get swallowed up by a big corporate monster. We came up with the plan to eat the monster before the monster ate us.”
The verdict is out on whether U2, in choosing irony to slay the “corporate monster,” has actually fallen victim to it. But last night’s show confirmed the band’s status as one of the few acts in the world that can still do epic-stadium rock and make it seem worthwhile.
The band entered the covered dome procession-like to the throbbing techno beats of “Pop Muzik,” an ’80s dance tune. Bono shadow-boxed his way down the walkway with his bandmates before settling in front of the giant video screen and launched into the hard-driving “Mofo” from Pop. “I Will Follow,” an anthem from the ’80s, was next, though it wasn’t until “Gone,” another tune from Pop, that Bono’s vocal power clicked.
The staging seemed less of a spectacle without the backdrop of a black, starry sky. But the light show and frenetic images floating past on the giant video screen still impressed.
U2, having turned its back on its earnest, flag-waving days, is trying to march forward with new sonic flavors its fans are still trying to digest.
The band plays SkyDome again tonight.
© 1997 Toronto Star.