Opening Act(s): PJ Harvey
Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until The End Of The World, New Year’s Day, Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, Kite, Gone, New York, 11 O’Clock Tick Tock, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Sweetest Thing, Angel Of Harlem, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, All I Want Is You, Where The Streets Have No Name, Mysterious Ways, The Fly. Encore: Bullet The Blue Sky, With Or Without You, One, Walk On.
For Openers, U2 Show Superb
by Brett Milano
No doubt about it, one of the most mesmerizing acts in modern rock was at the FleetCenter last night. And by the way, U2 weren’t half bad either.
But its time to give some propers to PJ Harvey, whose 45-minute opening set was one of the season’s highlights on its own. Backed by an inventive band including two lead guitarists, she cut a striking figure in a long white dress and black stiletto boots. And her songs explored extremes of love and lust, desire and danger. The lush pop songs from her recent album “Stories From the City” drew the audience in, but the volume and the intensity level built up on the set went on. Her early single, “Sheela-Na-Gig,” had a screaming finale that got the blood racing.
Last night’s U2 set may have been the most adventurous they’ve played at the Fleet this week. With their taping commitments to HBO taken care of, they were free to shake up the set list, drop some of the obvious numbers (including the lengthy “Bad”) and put in some surprises. Newly added was a two-song acoustic set toward the show’s end, with Bono and the Edge alone onstage doing stripped-down versions of “Angel of Harlem” and “The Ground Beneath Her Feet.” Instead of “Bad,” the nights big ballad was “All I Want Is You,” a steamy slow-burner from the “Rattle & Hum” soundtrack.
Also new was the recent single “The Sweetest Thing,” which sounded surprisingly Beatle-esque with Bono making a rare appearance on piano. And the biggest surprise of all (played in place of “I Will Follow’) was “11 O’Clock Tick Tock” - a rare single, built on a killer Edge guitar riff, that hasn’t been played since the very early tours. Bullet the Blue Sky” was moved from the set to the encore, which Bono’s anti-violence rap (including a mention of John Lennon’s killer) sounding far scarier than it used to be.
The show opened full-throttle with “Elevation” (performed with the house lights still up) and took in some of the gentler songs from the latest album. There were plenty of big rock gestures —including Bono and Edge running up the heart-shaped stage ramp on “Until the End of the World” - but there was just as much heart and subtlety; two rare qualities in arena rock.
All images are © Anthony Crinella