Opening Act(s): Kings of Leon
City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, The Cry, The Electric Co., Gloria, Beautiful Day, With Or Without You, New Year's Day, Miracle Drug, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, Love And Peace Or Else, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bullet The Blue Sky-The Hands That Built America, Running To Stand Still, Zoo Station, The Fly, Elevation. Encore: Pride (In The Name Of Love), Where The Streets Have No Name, One, All Because Of You, Yahweh, 40.
'Gloria' is played for the first time since the end of the Lovetown Tour in 1990. Bono invites a fan on stage before 'Miracle Drug' and asks the fan for Spanish lessons. Before 'One', Bono talks about Eddie Vedder, who grew up in the San Diego area and first played music here. Vedder is in attendance at tonight's show. Bono coins a new name for this tour's version of the 'heart' when he asks 'How we doing in the bomb shelter?' before 'Yahweh.'
Another stellar performance by the world's biggest band.
U2 are back on tour and still as magnetic and spectacular as ever. I won't repeat their song list since it can be found on the main tour page. Instead I'll share my thoughts and experiences on the night.
First, to quote Bono, midway through the set as he looked around at the crowd: "Wow". He seemed to be genuinely caught up in the energy rising from the audience. I had the great fortune of the getting best spot in the house; inside the "bomb shelter" elipse, dead center, front of the stage. For any of you that were at the show, you probably saw him take my U.S. flag and hold it during "Pride" and "Where the Streets..." --What a thrill.
Bono looked and sounded very good. Not great, but very good. All the concerts, the albums, the appearances, and of course, the years have taken a toll (particularly on that wonderful voice), and for the first time, I could actually "sense" the rocker getting old. His voice is really straining, and in some cases, virtually unable to reach some of those intense levels anymore. Almost hurts to say that, folks. This is coming from a fan that first saw them in high school on their Boy tour in Washington DC in 1981! But I won't criticize U2, no matter what, and especially for something (in this case, time) that they cannot control. They are still as talented and exciting to watch as they were 20+ years ago. Larry looked amazing as usual. I'll be 40 next year, and this guy looks younger than he did in the 80s! The Edge was in his usual steady, focused zone, and Adam looked completely at ease, strolling around, jamming, regularly making eye contact, and giving the audience that warm, charming, rockstar grin.
As for the set, it was nice to hear "Gloria", "The Electric Co.", and "40" again after such a long hiatus. "40" has to be the best concert-closing song ever (even though they practically had to start it over). The new songs were okay, but nothing more. (This might offend some of the more "blindly loyal" fans that instantly deify anything U2 records. Soprry, but that ain't me. I love this band, but most of their recent stuff just does not qualify for "elite" status. I'd rather hear "Bad" than "Love and Peace or Else" or "All Because of You" a-n-y day. But, they are promoting their new album, so the new stuff is to be expected.) I lamented to my wife on our way home that my ultimate show would be for them to perform a "Greatest Hits" tour. Something like that. And sorry again, but only maybe 1 or 2 songs from "How To Dismantle..." would make it. Maybe. For that matter, only 2 or 3 from "All That You Can't..." would make it as well. Rather, it would include primarily songs from The Joshua Tree, Unforgettable Fire, and even Achtung Baby, Rattle and Hum, War, and Boy. But I digress...
The concert in general was a blast. Among the highlights: Bono taking my flag (and giving it back of course), the Mexican guy to my right getting pulled on stage to translate some words into Spanish, the girl to my left sticking her hand out and getting to strum Bono's guitar (!), Bono banging Larry's bass drum, Larry playing the mini-keyboard, etc. There's always something in it for everyone, and as others have mentioned, it'll be interesting to see how they've progressed as they get deeper into the tour. (Oh yeah, a particular memory was one of the stage hands giving me the set list after the show! I must've had 10 or 20 people photograph it! Pretty cool.)
Final thought (has nothing to do with the band): It was a little frustrating and tedious putting up with the "paparazzi". Jeezus H... Everyone and their brother had a camera (phone or regular 35mm), and were clicking away CONSTANTLY. Hey I'm all for getting a few good shots of the band (especially when you're super close!), but one girl next to me must've taken at LEAST 5-6 shots every single time they played a song!! With 22-23 songs in the set, you do the math. This chick was leaning, elbowing, reaching, etc. just to get that "perfect" shot. Pretty ridiculous, imho. I mean, you're there to see, hear, and "experience" the show, right? Buy a friggin photo album or become a photographer, but keep the Lebowitz contortions to a minimum.
Well, that's about all I got. I'm exhausted and hoarse, but with a huge smile on my face. Good luck with the rest of the tour boys! Good luck and God bless.
Side note: Kings of Leon were pretty good! Not much of a "stage presence", and they are all in dire need of a large Dagwood sandwich, but overall they're very talented and have a pretty good sound. Most people around me didn't care for them much, but obviously U2 sees something in them, so they were worth a listen. I liked em. Might even get their CD.