Opening Act(s): Graham Parker
Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until The End Of The World, New Year’s Day, Out Of Control, Sunday Bloody Sunday, When Will I See You Again-Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, Kite, Angel Of Harlem, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Staring At The Sun, Please, Where The Streets Have No Name, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Pride (In The Name Of Love). Encore: Bullet The Blue Sky, What’s Going On, New York, One, Peace On Earth-Walk On.
U2 perform in Baltimore for the first time in history. Graham Parker fills in for Garbage for opening act at last moment’s notice. Parker plays a brief set before his band’s planned gig at a local club. Bono brings a male fan on stage to play guitar during a full-band version of ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.’ ‘Kite’ is dedicated to Ali’s dad, who is in attendance. ‘Please’ makes its first appearance of the tour, segueing into ‘Streets’ like it did on the Popmart Tour.
By Arlin Bartels
Fourth Elevation show for me so far, and the one I’ll probably remember the longest. Last night had a poignancy and urgency to the show that I hadn’t anticipated. The showmanship has been turned down a bit, and all the “reclaiming the greatest band” and “introducing the band” stuff is gone, replaced by even truer, more honest, heartfelt passion. For U2, that’s saying a lot.
So many of U2’s songs have martial aspects, and with last month’s events these songs all take on a new relevancy. It seems like U2’s ironic aspects have been put to bed, at least for a little while, and been replaced by faith.
Some of the new songs - Kite in particular - seem to just continue to deepen and grow. Kite now comes from the perspective of Bono’s father singing to him, which seems even more personal, somehow.
One amazing aspect is how subtle some of the artistic points are, you don’t even notice them go by until they trigger the subconsious.
Example: In New York, they don’t lower all of the screens now at the start, just the three in back. The screens, which I just then understood, were supposed to stand for the skyscrapers of NY. Part way through, two, only two of the potential four, additional screens lower for the rest of the song. Obviously these were supposed to be the WTC towers. Then at the end of the song those “towers”, instead of falling, rise up to the heavens. Absolutely stunning.
And, with just a simple exchange of the Arabic intro for the old gospel intro, BTBS immediately transforms into a site report from the hills of Afghanistan, where Bono can still “see those fighter planes”. One of the amazing things about U2 songs is how they can reshape their meanings over time, and how it triggers within you without having to be told.
“This song is about, well you know what this song is about…” tells you every thing you need to know about Please. What a great song, even if it was a little unsure of itself compared to the show-stopping splendor of the Pop tour. I expect it will only get more powerful as they get more comfortable with it.
A couple of other points I didn’t see in the other posts:
In a lot of other hands, all of Bono’s pro-USA patriotism would seem like just sucking up to a crowd. But as “showy” as it is, it still seems legit. Bono always took a lot of crap in the 80s for “lecturing” the USA, I hope he doesn’t get a lot of crap now for “kissing up to the USA”.
The part where he cradled the American flag during New Year’s Day while singing “I will begin again” just brought gasps to the people around me, and as he laid it gently back into the audience people around me started to cry.
And, the part at the end where he took off his jacket revealing the flag sewn inside and slowly walked back to the stage was a great touch, but then at the end when they put the jacket on its own mike stand and left the darkened stage with a single spotlight on the flag gave me goose bumps.
I also hadn’t realized how poignant seeing the names of the passenger lists scrolling by during One would affect me. So many people of so many ethnicities, all with sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters. Such a waste.
I was glad to see the positive audience response when Bono quoted the Koran, and I continue to be amazed at the audience response during the “Hallelujah” chorus part at the end. It’s amazing to see at a secular show - something I haven’t seen from another secular band since, well, U2 closing their shows with ‘40’ back in the day.
If there is a Heaven, and I hope there is, I expect it’ll be something like this.
This was a good one.
All images are © Reuters; © Joanne; © Bob Reck; © Jim Lawhead