Opening Act(s): PJ Harvey
Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until The End Of The World, Mysterious Ways, Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, Kite, Gone, New York, Out Of Control, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Sweetest Thing, Desire, Stay (Faraway, So Close!), All I Want Is You, Where The Streets Have No Name, Pride (In The Name Of Love). Encore: Bullet The Blue Sky, With Or Without You, One-Unchained Melody, Walk On.
Canada’s MuchMusic TV network broadcasts live from the arena before the show and airs snippets of several songs throughout the night. Tonight’s ‘Stay’ is shown June 3 at an Amnesty benefit concert in London.
U2: Up Close And Personal
After finishing second show at ACC, Irish supergroup meets and greets fans at Much
By Jane Stevenson
TORONTO — There was some major added value to U2’s second sold-out show at the Air Canada Centre last night in Toronto.
After whipping through an hour-and-forty-minute set, the Irish supergroup raced over to MuchMusic’s studios at Queen and John Sts. where they took part in an lengthy, lively chat with veejay George Stroumboulopoulos.
Hundreds of people waited for hours in the rain outside the Much environment to get a glimpse of U2 frontman Bono, guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. in conversation.
And fans were rewarded with some choice bon mots, from Bono in particular, along with a visit outside to the street where the four band members signed autographs and shook hands with fans.
When initially shown some footage from U2’s 1981 show at the now long-gone Maple Leaf Ballroom in Toronto, Bono looked aghast and said to Stroumboulopoulos: “You want to step outside? As extraordinary as that particular hairdo is, much more extraordinary was to follow. We had the mullett, right about the mid-’80s.”
As for queries about the secret to U2’s longevity and what’s kept them together for the past two decades, Bono joked: “We’re all gay. You have a problem with that?
He added later: “Being in a band is a bit like being in the mob or the priesthood, you won’t get out of it while you’re alive.”
Bono also claimed all of the band arguments revolved around “the deli tray, mostly.”
On a more serious note, Bono spoke about the recent death of Joey Ramone, who reportedly passed away of cancer in his New York hospital bed listening to the U2 song, In A Little While, from their latest album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind.
“Joey Ramone, what was extraordinary about him, is he’s more of an anti-hero really. Punk rock — it’s a spirit, more than it is anything else. Once it becomes a uniform or a set of records, it’s not as interesting. What Joey Ramone did for us, he told us, when we were 15 and 16, that you could be in a rock ‘n’ roll band and take it all away. That’s what The Ramones meant to us.
“And even though it’s hard for a lot of people to believe that people who are transported in a mirror ball lemon spaceship on their last tour came out of punk rock, in our heads, that was a punk-rock thing to do.”
Bono also said rock-and-rollers have a tougher time getting old than artists in other fields.
“If you’re a photographer or if you were a novelist or a poet or a painter or a filmmaker, you’d just be getting the hang of things in your 30s. But most rock-and-roll bands are burnt out by their 30s. I’d like to think we’re burning up.”
Still, Bono admitted it’s not always been easy being as political a group as U2 has been over the years.
“I just sometimes would prefer we were just a pop group. I just can’t get over that Destiny’s Child record. I’m thinking, ‘I want to be in a R&B band and get those dance moves down.’ “
Earlier in the evening, U2 drew a crowd of 18,000 for a second night at the ACC.
In addition to their set being 20 minutes shorter than Thursday’s show, the group didn’t quite pack the same punch of the heady first night proceedings, although Bono himself seemed to be enjoying the experience more.
“This feels good,” he said early to the crowd. “This feels looser tonight.”
Some songs included in last night’s performance that didn’t make it into Thursday’s concert were the excellent Gone from 1997’s Pop; the oldie but goodie Out Of Control from U2’s 1980 debut Boy; the recent B-side The Sweetest Thing; a stripped-down version of Desire and a pumped up All I Want Is You from 1988’s Rattle And Hum, and an abbreviated, a cappella rendition of Unchained Melody during the encore.
Last night’s celebrity du jour was none other than Saturday Night Live’s Chris “Mango” Kattan. Thursday night saw Harrison Ford grooving to the tunes.
Bono, who at times struggled with his voice, admitted he’d lost the top part of his voice since coming to Toronto but garnered sympathy when he explained the reason.
“That’s because I just had a baby boy,” he said of his son born on Monday.
Later, Stroumboulopoulos presented Bono with small MuchMusic merchandise for his newborn and asked whether the infant had a name yet.
“No, it is untitled,” he said.
Next for up for U2 is a show tomorrow night in Montreal.
All images are © Hayley Coristine