Opening Act(s): The Corrs
Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until The End Of The World, New Year’s Day, Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, Gone, Discotheque, Staring At The Sun, New York, I Will Follow, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Sweetest Thing, In A Little While, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Bad, Where The Streets Have No Name, Mysterious Ways, The Fly. Encore: Bullet The Blue Sky, With Or Without You, One, Walk On.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
After a tumble, Bono is ‘All That’
by Sean Piccoli
SUNRISE — The most anticipated rock tour of 2001 opened Saturday night with an unplanned scare: Bono, lead singer of the Irish rock band U2, fell from a head-high catwalk onto the floor of the National Car Rental Center three songs into the first night’s show. Witnesses said the singer lay stunned-looking and motionless for several seconds, with the house lights inside the building briefly darkened, before rising to his feet and climbing back onstage to resume singing a number called Until the End of the World.
Bono’s tumble caused those who saw it a fright but, remarkably, did little to interrupt opening night. U2 went on to deliver an emphatic, big-hearted two-hour set anchored by a new album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind and full of anthemic songs from throughout a celebrated 20-year recording career.
A sellout crowd approaching 20,000 saw a black-clad Bono, guitarist The Edge, drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and bassist Adam Clayton make a no-frills entrance shortly after 9 p .m. The house lights were up and stayed up for the first verses of the dance-rocking opener, Elevation. Spectators sang along from the first note. The group followed with the Grammy-winning single, Beautiful Day, projecting all of that song’s lofty empathy to an audience bathed in flashes of airport-runway lighting.
Until the End of the World barely registered the mishap with Bono, which occurred halfway through the song. The Edge churned out waves of guitar, propelled along by the punctual interplay of Mullen and Clayton, in a performance that went seamlessly despite what could have been a ruinous injury to the singer.
New Year’s Day, with Edge playing the baleful piano lines, came as an early surprise in the set, considering its importance in the U2 canon. But the band was not saving its best, most momentous or fan-admired songs for last. Numbers such as I Will Follow and Sunday Bloody Sunday, gems from the band’s early days, mingled comfortably with material from All That and 1997’s Pop.
The staging of “Elevation 2001” was necessarily downscaled from the massive outdoor stadium tableau that comprised the 1997 “Popmart” tour. A minimal lighting scheme used the crowd as a canvas, sending laser-printed patterns of shadow and light across lower and upper sections and giving the whole spectacle a kind of warm, enclosing feel not present in the “Popmart” colossus. As with the new album, the new tour appears designed to make the band seem more approachable, from the twin catwalks that curled well out into a festival-seating floor to the generous inclusion of the songs that fans love best. Stuck in a Moment That You Can’t Get Out Of was typical of the evening’s inclusive vibe, a genial R&B-styled number that urged listeners to live well and encouraged the audience to sing along. All That may not be U2’s strongest album, but the accompanying tour might well be an occasion for U2 to restore some sense of proportion to its act and let people close enough to see that even rock stars are human enough to stumble now and then.
Sean Piccoli can be reached at [email protected] or 954-356-4832.
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