Opening Act(s): No Doubt
Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until The End Of The World, New Year’s Day, Out Of Control, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, Kite, Wild Honey, All Along The Watchtower, Please, All I Want Is You, 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, Walk On.
‘All Along the Watchtower’ is performed tonight after a fan is pulled up on stage. The song begins as an acoustic number and eventually becomes a full-blown band version. It’s the only time this song has ever been performed since the end of the Lovetown Tour on January 10, 1990.
U2’s Return Concert Compelling, Hopeful
by G. Brown, Denver Post Popular Music Writer
The most successful tour of 2001 returned to the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night - and for a moment, it appeared U2’s show was going to feature the same collage of hits offered up at the venue in April.
Once again, the band opened with the stripped-down, punchy “Elevation” and “Beautiful Day,” the debut track from the most recent album, “All That You Can’t Leave Behind.”
But with the sellout crowd singing along, the song rang out with new meaning - “It’s a beautiful day,” Bono sang as he pranced around the heart-shaped catwalk bordering the stage, “don’t let it get away. “
It was the first helping of American patriotism that U2 served up over the course of the evening.
In the wake of Sept. 11, several acts canceled shows or postponed tours. But U2 stayed out on the road providing a form of healing for sorrow and mourning, the old earnest, righteous rock anthems addressing our fear and uncertainty in the new climate of terrorist hijackings and anthrax threats.
And so “Out of Control” from the band’s first album, 1980’s “Boy,” sounded more potent than ever, as did “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” an eloquent expression of grief and anger.
Bono, clad in black leather, grabbed an American flag from the audience and bowed his head - and when the crowd started a chant of “USA! USA!,” he went into the song’s signature lyric, “Wipe your tears away.”
The lilting R&B of “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” resonated with its opening lines of resolve and indomitable spirit.
Victims’ names displayed
The Irish band hit another high note with “Please” - a tune, Bono said, that “we wrote a few years ago about what’s going on in our country that could have been written three months ago about what’s going on in your country.” He railed against religious fundamentalists “and how they re-create God in their own image.”
The encore of the elegiac “One” provided a flood of emotions as the names of all the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks rolled behind the band on screens. The show then closed with the uplifting “Walk On.”
Earlier in the performance, there was a reference to another current event that was more personal - Bono dedicated “Kite” to his father, whom he lost several months ago.
In an acoustic segment, Bono and guitarist the Edge played “Wild Honey,” then a take on Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” accompanied by a fan on acoustic guitar, who was pulled out of the crowd for brandishing a homemade sign - “In America, it pays to advertise,” Bono cracked.
The set ended with a stretch of classics - “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Pride (in the Name of Love),” the latter accompanied by a video clip of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. giving his “I Have a Dream” speech (“Take it to the church,” Bono said by way of introduction).
Encores included “Bullet the Blue Sky,” a mournful, stark version of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On” and a celebration of “New York” with images of high-rises projected on vertical scrims.
Politicized showmanship in an arena-rock setting?
Sure, to a cynic. But for fans, it was another superb show, this time U2 doing what it does best - uniting compelling music and spiritual vitality.
All images are © Rocky Mountain News