Opening Act(s): PJ Harvey
Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until The End Of The World, Mysterious Ways, Kite, Gone, New York, I Will Follow, Sunday Bloody Sunday, In My Life-Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, In A Little While, Desire-Gloria, Stay (Faraway, So Close!), Bad-Wild Horses-40, Where The Streets Have No Name, Pride (In The Name Of Love). Encore: Bullet The Blue Sky, With Or Without You, The Fly, One, I Remember You, Walk On-Hallelujah.
For the first time since 1992, U2 perform at Madison Square Garden (and the VIP area is packed). Before ‘Desire,’ Bono wishes Happy Birthday to Paul McGuinness, who turned 50 the day before.
New York Post
Good Old U2 Is Great Old U2
by Dan Aquilante
Rather than lumbering off into oblivion like so many other aging bands, U2 last night rekindled the unforgettable fire it ignited more than 20 years ago.
Midway through the Madison Square Garden show, U2’s lead singer, Bono, reminisced about coming to New York City.
“It was 21 years ago,” he said. “It was the Mud Club, The Ritz - there were times when there was just 11 people in the audience.
“Still, we played like our lives depended on it. That’s how we’re going to play tonight.”
He lived up to his word. At the opening night of a two-show gig, the Irish quartet was terrific.
Instead of using inflatables, fireworks and the other doo-dads that seem to be essential to the gymnastics of music these days, the band won the hearts and minds of 19,000 fans the old-fashioned way - with music.
Old tunes, such as “I Will Follow,” “Anthems,” “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” and new songs off last year’s disc, such as “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” were the core of the show.
Starting with the present and exploring the evolution of the band as the evening progressed, Bono and the boys kick-started the event with “Elevation,” the number from which the tour derives its name.
Playing off of the huge anticipation of this concert, U2 established major drama by entering the stage under full bright house lights one man at a time. The applause thundered as bassist Adam Clayton entered first, followed by drummer Larry Mullen, then guitarist The Edge - and, finally, U2 voice Bono.
Together, they hammered out “Elevation,” one of the best from the new U2 album. The song had a sense of urgency that had audience members on their feet from the start, and was U2’s signature for the night.
Bono bellowed, The Edge struck the strings of his guitar as if he were displeased, and the Clayton/Mullen beat-machine was like clockwork.
And that was just the first song of the 2-hour performance. Last night wasn’t U2’s best show ever, but it was the band’s top New York concert in a decade.
The distance between past and present was bridged nicely with studio-perfect renditions of some best-known, best-loved tunes, including “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “With or Without You,” “Pride (In the Name of Love)” and the new soulful “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of.”
One of the night’s most interesting treatments was the stripped-down-to-its- frame ode to the Big Apple, simply called “New York.”
Bono’s voice was a little squashed by the instrumental backup, but as the band worked toward the encore, that problem was cleaned up nicely. His voice was very scratchy when he spoke, but the problem wasn’t evident when he sang.
Watching Bono work, you see a guy who hasn’t just memorized words. With every phrase, he squeezes out meaning and emotion. His gestures are bold, and he wears his bombast like a badge. And the crowd loves him for it.
What helped him get it all across in this show is the unique, heart-shaped catwalk that extends to the center of The Garden’s floor. From that narrow path, he was able to get up close and personal with fans in a way few lead singers ever do.
U2 continues at The Garden tomorrow night, and will be at the Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey on Thursday and Friday. All shows are sold out, but this is one of those gigs for which you should do whatever you can to snag a ticket.
All images are © Reuters; © Associated Press; © Mike Takes