Opening Act(s): PJ Harvey
Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until The End Of The World, New Year’s Day, Kite, New York, Out Of Control, 11 O’Clock Tick Tock, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, In A Little While, I Remember You, Desire, Staring At The Sun, Bad-Wild Horses-40, 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.
At tonight’s show, Daniel Lanois joins U2 on stage to play guitar and sing backup vocals during ‘Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of.’ ‘Staring at the Sun’ is an acoustic version with The Edge playing and Bono singing.
By Jim Freeman
This was my fourth Elevation show and first at the GA level. I arrived at MSG around 1 pm in a near state of panic thinking that the line would be out on the street and I would be hanging in the back with Joe O. but much to my surprise I was numbered 129.
I met a great group of people from Germany, Mexico, Brazil, the UK and good old NYC while waiting in line. As absurd as this sounds, the management of one of the buildings raised issues with people sitting so for most of us we literally stood the entire period. One girl bought $50 worth of magazines to read while waiting to get in a concert for a ticket that cost her $45. I heard that the person with number one arrived at 6 am. Oddly, there was a tremendously larger line across the opposite entrance for people in line for a block of tickets yet to be sold. The folks at MSG did a relativley good job at handling everything and we dashed in the building in groups of 10-15 racing down the cavernous MSG and getting our wristbands right before the stage entrance (and special green wristbands for inside the heart) at around 7pm.
I perched myself on the outer edge of the heart near the tip on Edge’s side—perfect view of main stage and firsthand viewing of band for catwalks. Everyone seemd to have some sort of camera and you could have brought in a live giraffe and no one would have minded.
The energy down there was outstanding and I think the band felt that as well as Bono commented that this was like a “Hometown” show. The band was terrific and really enjoyed the gig. Bono was in great spirits too as he told the crowd he learned that the Congress was about to forgive another $100 million in third world debt. From our level of viewing you can feel his passion in the songs he sings—he is in the zone.
“Out of Control” and “Tick Tock” back to back were fantastic with Edge harking back to the old days with his Explorer chiming away—although I am not sure the sequence entirely planned in advance. Seeing Danny Lanois play with the band was fun as well and a nice surprise.
The full acoustic version of “Staring at the Sun” was a real treat and a little fact: The U2 crew actually taped a piece of paper on the stage for Edge with note and chord sequences and a corresponding sheet with lyrics for Bono! Not sure if people could see them looking down but they definitely were looking at the cheat sheets. All in all a good performance for a song not played that way in a long time.
Two highlights. I was next to the girl Bono plucked from the crowd. She did a great job and bowed for Bono after the dance during “In a Little While.” A friend of hers put her on his shoulder and she wore a Ramones tank top—perfect timing and a touching moment as Bono dedicated to joey Ramone and mentioned his family members were attending. It was instantaneous bedlam in our section—I either cracked or severely briused a rib from the throng of fans clamoring to get closer but it was worth it. The people I was with were fantastic. Edge also shook my hand during one of the acoustic pieces with guitar pick still in hand and never dropped it after the embrace! Thanks Edge!
Catch Larry drumming for “Walk On”—great musicianship. He and Adam were just thundering throughout the show—they never missed a beat. The retooled version of the “Fly” is absolutely fierce and piercing as Bono remained plastered to the digiwalls at song’s end like a giant bug. It is like psychedelia in the digital age! At one point some fan flew across the stage down in the heart wrapped in what seemed to be the tri-color. Bizarre.
The lighting and props are tasteful, yet spare, but well done—these guys always seemd to get this stuff right. Willie is a genious. You know it is a good show when during “Sunday Bloody Sunday” one of the guys in the spotlight tower on the truss is rocking out in his chair!
Unquestionably, the single best rock and roll show I have ever seen and perhaps will ever see. It is almost unfathomable to me how this show can be topped or this tour can be any better.
“Grace” is piped in the PA at show’s end. Wow. The goal was soul and I was elevated!
All images are © Jim Freeman