Opening Act(s): Nelly Furtado
Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until The End Of The World, New Year’s Day, Kite, Gone, New York, 11 O’Clock Tick Tock, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Wake Up Dead Man, In A Little While, Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, Stay (Faraway, So Close!), Bad, Where The Streets Have No Name, Mysterious Ways, The Fly. Encore: Bullet The Blue Sky, With Or Without You-Love Will Tear Us Apart, One, Walk On.
Bob Hewson, Bono’s father, passed away early in the morning on the day of this concert. Bono was at his father’s bedside in Dublin at the time, but still flew to London to perform this gig. He was visibly emotional during the concert. During Beautiful Day, he sung “another soul leaves the world, my old man” at the end, and dedicated Kite to his father, stating that “he’s no longer ill … he’s free”. On a statistical note, this show featured what is currently the last performance of 11 O’Clock Tick Tock.
Having seen U2’s Elevation tour at London’s Earl’s Court, I can finally see what all the fuss is about. This band is a world-class outfit. Having seen their PopMart tour twice previously, I was looking forward to a more quintessential U2 show where the sound was more Joshua Tree widescreen and less Pop drum loops.
Credit to Bono for his ‘show must go on’ attitude, despite the death of his father the same day. As a result, there was a fair degree of emotion during one of the highlights of the evening, Kite, which was performed beautifully.
London being London, you got the feeling that some of the crowd where there simply to say to their friends that they had been to see U2’s much praised tour, thus detracting from the atmosphere a little.
However, the majority of the standing crowd were very appreciative and no doubt those sitting down were no less enthusiastic.
The real boon of seeing U2 is of course the fact that this four piece would sound good playing in your living room without all the showbusiness tech that a modern rock tour demands. The bonus of four giant TV screens for each band member, a mini-PopMart screen behind the stage and some excellent projection and lighting mean that songs like New York become brooding odes to an intriguing relationship that Bono has developed with the Big Apple. This was another of the evening’s highlights.
The show left me with the feeling that to have seen U2 in their Joshua Tree tour days would have been very special indeed. There were rare glimpses of the Edge’s shadow on the back of the stage in particular during the lower-lit songs, similar to the opening of Streets on the Rattle & Hum video, which no doubt proved nostalgic if you had witnessed the band fourteen years ago. All that was missing was the silhouette of a fedora, the Edge now preferring to wear a Pope-like close fitting skullcap type hat.
It doesn’t affect his guitar playing however and the band as a whole sound better than ever. Thanks, U2, for a trip down memory lane.
All images are © Graham N. Bishop; © Susanne Kempf