Opening Act(s): Kings of Leon
City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, Elevation, The Cry, The Electric Co., An Cat Dubh-Into The Heart, Beautiful Day, Miracle Drug, Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own, Love And Peace Or Else, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bullet The Blue Sky-When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Running To Stand Still, Pride (In The Name Of Love), Where The Streets Have No Name, One. Encore(s): Zoo Station, The Fly, Mysterious Ways, Original Of The Species, All Because Of You, Yahweh, 40, Vertigo.
‘New Year’s Day’ is left out of the set for the 3rd straight show (it hasn’t been performed since the DVD shoot in Chicago a week ago). The encores extend to 8 songs tonight, the longest so far this tour. Also, this is only the second show of two in U2 history to feature a full version of 40 performed in what is not the final setlist position. The prior instance occurred over 18 years ago on April 7, 1987.
U2 fans see a show and make a commitment
by John Petrick, NorthJersey.com
The Irish supergroup U2 brought its brand of political rock-and-roll theater to a sold-out crowd at Continental Arena Tuesday night, complete with glittery confetti, glow-in-the-dark runways, smoldering dry ice and the ever-strutting, ever-sensitive frontman Bono.
“Tonight, Jersey is going Irish,” said the lead singer, dressed in a black leather coat, black pants and dark shades, standing at the lip of the stage. Making a dramatic entrance just before 9 p.m., the band launched into fiery performances of “City of Blinding Lights” and “Vertigo.” Both are from the group’s latest album, “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.”
The band - which also performed Wednesday night at Continental and has a Saturday date at Madison Square Garden - quickly reached back for songs from its past, including “Elevation” from 2000’s “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” and “Electric Co.” from 1980’s “Boy.”
A giant oval runway surrounding the stage made for plenty of interactivity with the audience, with Bono often patrolling it as he sang and even taking a little girl from the audience for a stroll on it early in the concert.
Bono introduced the song “Miracle Drug” by preaching of how religious faith and scientific progress should be complementary - not contradictory - practices. “The people of God should not be afraid of the people of science. They need each other,” he said.
Guitar player The Edge - in fine form along with the rest of the band - transmitted the telltale, militant guitar riffs that open the U2 classic “Sunday Bloody Sunday” as Bono changed into a starred-and-striped leather coat and white bandana. With his ominous, soulful wail as strong and strenuous as it was when the band debuted in the ’80s, the lead singer augmented the song by preaching words of coexistence and religious tolerance.
Despite the earnestness of much of the night’s concert, there were a few lighthearted moments. Bono and band mates occasionally swaggered their way around opposite curves of the giant runway until meeting in the middle, being playful with each other during such hits as “Where the Streets Have No Name” from the 1987 masterpiece “The Joshua Tree.”
But the mood never stayed light for long. Compared with the shows of Bruce Springsteen, whose political grandstanding during the “Vote for Change Tour” put off many die-hard fans, a U2 concert without political activism would be like a day without sunshine.
“My first impression of America was a man walking on the moon. We thought, Americans are mad. But when they put their minds together, they do incredible [expletive],” Bono said, drawing cheers. “It was the best of this country. So that’s what we’re saying to President Bush, Tony Blair. … We are saying, ‘Lead, and we will follow.’ Because we don’t want you to put a man on the moon. We’re asking you to bring mankind back to earth. We’re asking you to end extreme poverty in our lifetime, in places like Africa.”
He then called upon the audience to help do its part by getting involved in the One Campaign, which Bono launched earlier this year. The campaign asks Americans to lobby their elected officials so that developing countries ravaged by poverty and AIDS can get assistance from the United States. “We have the technology, the resources, the know-how.”
With that, he asked the audience to take out their cellphones and raise them high in a symbolic pledge of their support. “They’re dangerous little devices, those cellphones,” he said. “I’m not looking for your money. It’s all right. Relax. I’m looking for your voice. … Take out your cellphone and light up the night.”
The band never sounded more together than during its performance of “[Pride] in the Name of Love,” a bittersweet, triumphant anthem paying tribute to the late Rev. Martin Luther King. The audience never sounded as together, either, as the band eventually stopped playing and let the crowd chant a portion of the song without accompaniment.
The 90-minute set might have seemed short - but then came four encores that included all four band members joining one another at the outermost limits of the stage’s runway for a quiet performance of “Yahweh” from the new album. And for a band whose latest album brings it back to its post-punk roots, it only seemed a fitting climax that U2 ended where it started - with another, even more rousing version of “Vertigo.”
Copyright © 2005 North Jersey Media Group Inc. All rights reserved.
Photos by Mike Segar/Reuters.
Photos by Zachary Gillman.