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-America, Please, Where The Streets Have No Name. Encore(s): Discothèque-Stayin’ Alive, 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 outdazzles even the most theatrical stage effects
by Ramiro Burr
Amidst a high-tech spectacle of towering stage props and blinding lights, U2 managed to connect solidly with an enthusiastic Alamodome crowd Sunday night, eliciting several rousing ovations.
From the opening when the band strode onstage from a side entrance at the 50-yard line, the audience was on its feet and roaring its approval as lead singer Bono, dressed in a blue robe, slowly shadow-boxed his way to the stage.
It was the rock world’s version of the phrase, “Let’s get ready to rumble!”
U2’s massive PopMart tour stadium spectacle was the group’s version of the boxing ring, and it was obvious the boys came to deliver the action the house wanted.
And U2 rumbled from the get-go, warming the crowd with a thundering version of “Mofo” from their new album “Pop,” and segued quickly into the classic anthem “I Will Follow.”
The sonic assault was a tad on the high side, but the fidelity was exquisite. Even the fans in the opposite end of the dome enjoyed a strong sound, thanks to four delay towers rigged with an array of speakers and lights.
In the modern rock world, stadium shows have increasingly brought larger and wilder stages, lighting and special effects — almost to the point of dwarfing the band members onstage who seemed Lilliputian by comparison.
But there was no danger of that on Sunday.
Despite the gargantuan stage props — a 10-story screen that stretched sideline to sideline and a 100-foot golden arch — the theatrics did not overwhelm the music.
U2 needed only their powerful and rhythmic songs, delivered with bulldozer intensity, to keep the focus on the music. The pace was intense: hard-driving rock numbers broken up by the occasional ballad.
Before the show, the atmosphere outside the dome was tense and carnival-like with vendors hawking T-shirts, caps and other souvenirs.
Rocky O’Halloran, who came from Austin with some friends on a few tour buses, was excited to get to the show.
“We’ve been waiting for this (show) for a while. We got several Irish friends from Austin to come on this tour, and it’s been fun,” he said outside the dome as he waited in line.
During the two-hour-plus show, the band played several tracks from “Pop,” but clearly it was the U2 oldies that landed the most telling blows: “New Year’s Day,” “Pride” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”
On “Gone,” drummer Larry Mullen pounded the skins with such force, and bassist Adam Clayton played bass lines so thick and heavy, they made the dome floor vibrate.
“Hola, San Antonio,” Bono said during a brief intermission between songs. “Como estan?”
Bono took a few minutes before the intro to “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” to talk briefly about Michael Hutchence, the lead singer of the Australian group INXS, who was found dead Saturday in his hotel room in Sydney, Australia.
“He was a good friend, and he was one of us. We’re thinking about him today.”
From there, the audience was whipped into a party frenzy on the chugging ballad, where everyone seemed to sing along boisterously on the chorus.
The band brought the tempo down on the lovely ballad “All I Want Is You,” a reflection on how, in a world full of promises, the simple things still ring true.
At the midpoint, the dome reverberated with the chiming sounds of the Edge’s ringing guitars.
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