Opening Act(s): Smashmouth
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-Shiny Happy People-Life During Wartime, If You Wear That Velvet Dress, With Or Without You, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me, Mysterious Ways, One-MLK, 40.
U2 dedicate One to Michael Hutchence, who was found dead in his room at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Double Bay, Sydney on November 22, 1997. A belt found at the scene suggested that he had died by an accidental hanging, induced by autoerotic asphyxiation.
By Douglas Wood
I have to admit, I was ready to be disappointed but “PopMart” was fantastic. The video screen was amazing. I just wish the arch hadn’t blocked it. It really helped them turn the Georgia Dome into an intimate concert. My only complaint was that they didn’t play one song from “Zooropa.” I didn’t expect them to but it was still disappointing.
I though the show started off fairly slow and the vocals were a bit lost in the mix during “Mofo” and “I Will Follow.” However, Bono’s B-stage dive into the crowd with guitar during “Last Night on Earth” notched up the excitement level. The crowd, to me, definitely responded to the older numbers and kind of sat on their hands during the songs from “Pop.”
Bono dedicated “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” to R.E.M. and noted the departure of drummer Bill Berry by asking “Where’s Bill?” He talked of R.E.M.’s “restless spirit” and U2’s own search for “new sounds” and “new feelings.” “Still Haven’t Found” led into an pretty incandescent version of “All I Want Is You.” Bono and Edge then headed out to the B-Stage, where before “Staring At The Sun,” Bono jokingly remarked to the crowd, “fuck you, y’all get summer all year round.” Before playing his solo rendition of “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” Edge said they had “rediscovered” the meaning of the song in Sarajevo.
That led into “Bullet The Blue Sky,” “Please” and “Where the Streets Have No Name.” Bono intentionally knocked over his mike stand during “Please,” thus screwing up his mic during the “September, streets capsizing” portion of the song. What’s great is, the band just kepy chugging behind him as he gets a second mike from the crew. My wife didn’t even realize something had gone wrong and I bet most of the crowd didn’t know either. Bono l”>Aged the “Streets” lyrics at one point to talk about “Georgia rain” and then sang “Where the Streets Have No Shame” and grinned. At some point in here, he thanked the crowd for “sticking by us,” an acknowledgement that this tour wasn’t quite the success of Zoo TV nor was the “Pop” album a huge hit.
Then came the first encore. That discoball lemon was something else. It was the funniest thing they’ve ever done. It was really amazing. Edge crossed himself before he went down the stairs. During Discotheque,” Bono quoted from R.E.M.’s “Shiny Happy People” and sang several lines of The Talking Heads’ “Life During Wartime.” They then went into “If You Wear That Velvet Dress,” which is the only song that really didn’t work. It’s far too subtle of a song to work in that environment. If they were going to play a slow song there, I think they should have played “If God Should Send His Angels” or maybe “Stay, Faraway So Close.” However, I really liked the current arrangement of “With or Without You.” I will never understand why couples always danced and get gooey-eyed during this song. Lyrically, it’s not what you’d call a love song.
Then, the seond encore. “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” rocked pretty hard. “Mysterious Ways” was its usual fun self. The concert version of that song is so much better than the recorded version. Then, before “One,” Bono spoke of Michael Hutchence’s recent death and how he’d lost a friend. He said “Hutchence was like ‘oxygen’” in a room and was never a dark person. The screen had pictures of Hutchence all through the song. At the end, Bono quoted from “MLK” and then, surprise, surprise, they did “40” and ended the show. It was just Edge playing and Bono singing but Larry and Adam stayed on stage. Then they played “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS as the house lights came up.
All in all, it was a really good show. I saw an early version of “Zoo TV and I think they hadn’t worked all the kinks out yet. Seeing “PopMart” at the tour’s end was better. My wife Hogai said she thought it was much better than Zoo TV. The video screen really was amazing and really helped people like myself who weren’t close to the stage. In a strange way, the bigness of it all helped make the concert seem smaller. I also liked the way the arch and the swizzle stick/olive lit up with lights during some songs. Let’s see what they come up with next time around.