Opening Act(s): PJ Harvey
Elevation-Happy Birthday, Beautiful Day, Until The End Of The World, New Year’s Day, Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, Gone, Kite, New York, I Will Follow, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Desire, Stay (Faraway, So Close!), All I Want Is You, Where The Streets Have No Name, Mysterious Ways, The Fly. Encore: Bullet The Blue Sky, With Or Without You, Pride (In The Name Of Love), One, Walk On.
Bono celebrates his birthday, turning 41, and the band helps him celebrate it by playing a bit of The Beatles’ ‘Birthday’ as a coda to ‘Elevation.’ During ‘Mysterious Ways,’ Bono invites a few dozen girls on stage who dance while he sings ‘It’s my birthday….’
U2 Offers Party, Not Spiritual Experience
by David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star
U2’s performance Thursday night was more rambunctious than the prevalent back-to-basics hype, as the band transformed Conseco Fieldhouse into a customized romper room.
It’s possible the observance of Bono’s 41st birthday put an extra charge into the singer, his band and an audience of 16,000.
It’s certain that no one walked away from the event equating “stripped-down performance” with “boring” or “low-tech.”
U2 — returning to arenas after the stadium adventures of Zoo TV and PopMart — rocked on a modest stage encircled by a heart-shaped catwalk.
About 300 fans stood inside the heart, and Bono spent much of his evening at the point — essentially the center of the arena’s floor.
It was here that he showered himself with gold confetti, played a cell-phone gag, portrayed a bull to guitarist Edge’s matador and embarked on a full-sprint birthday lap.
Pristine acoustics weren’t part of this top-dollar concert experience, but Bono’s charisma probably pushed you through.
During a rendition of Mysterious Ways, his bring-a-girl-up-for-a-dance routine swelled to a gaggle of 25 women. While Bono said he felt like Hugh Hefner, the moment was G-rated Bloodhound Gang fare.
Still, any spontaneity was appreciated on a night when the reprise of Sunday Bloody Sunday sounded rote rather than revolutionary.
Fortunately, Bono and the Edge became generous with memorable moments when they busked as a twosome during Desire and Zooropa gem Stay (Faraway, So Close!).
Fans in the balcony had to enjoy a break from Adam Clayton’s ultra-reverberating bass, and it was simply nice to see singer and guitarist in tight interaction.
Hope and encouragement are the overriding themes of the band’s current album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind.
Somewhat surprisingly, the hardscrabble tune New York was the best of the tunes played from that album.
Bono, channeling Big Apple icons Lou Reed and Frank Sinatra, stalked the heart amid shadowy girders.
The arid, organic imagery of The Joshua Tree is ancient history.
U2 has emerged on the other side of Zoo TV/PopMart more tough than warm and fuzzy.
If souls were elevated on Thursday night, concertgoers met the band on those terms.
Contact David Lindquist at 1-317-444-6404 or via e-mail at [email protected]
All images are © Indianapolis Star; © Kevin Shade