Opening Act(s): Kings of Leon
City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo-Stories For Boys, Elevation, The Cry, The Electric Co., The Ocean, 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-My Sweet Lord, All Because Of You, Yahweh, 40.
U2's unofficial hometown in the United States gives the band a loud and energetic welcome for the first of three shows to close out the tour's first leg. Bono counts 1, 2, 3, 14 in Gaelic during 'Vertigo', saying Boston is an Irish town, not Spanish. Former J. Geils Band singer Peter Wolf is namechecked during 'Beautiful Day', and '40' is dedicated to Teresa Earnhardt, widow of racing legend Dale Earnhardt, who is presumably at the show.
Bono in the USA! U2 comes 'home'
by Sarah Rodman, Boston Herald
If you went to the U2 show at the FleetCenter last night and you're hurting this morning, it's because the Irish rockers laid one mother of a bear hug on you.
Like a cross between old friends and eager puppies, the quartet opened a three-night, sold-out stand in one of their favorite cities with the musical equivalent of open arms and sloppy kisses.
The crowd of 18,902 responded in kind. There was a tactile energy in the room, first a giddy anticipation during the confetti-strewn "City of Blinding Lights," then a mounting excitement for the scrappy "Vertigo" and finally an explosive release with the soaring "Elevation." With everybody in the house whoo-hoo-hoo-ing at once, it was like a seminar in community building.
If the band members entertained any notions about pacing themselves to make it through tomorrow and Saturday, there was precious little evidence of that in the dynamic, two-hour performance that zigged and zagged through their catalog.
Bono was giving his all to make sure the person in the very back row was getting every "Sunday Bloody Sunday" as he strutted and fretted and pontificated on the circular ramp surrounding the stage and jutting out into the general admission crowd - 300 of whom made it into the inner circle.
Drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and bassist Adam Clayton were locked in a tight pas de deux all night, careering through "The Electric Co," giving life to the heartbeat in "Beautiful Day" and playfully putting sex into the grooves of the bluesy "Love and Peace or Else."
And the Edge - in seemingly high spirits - let it rip with a welcome bit of mischief in his solos that made them even more piercing than usual, especially the raw-nerve ending jangle of "Bullet the Blue Sky."
Last night a few tunes, notably hits such as "Mysterious Ways," "Pride (In the Name of Love)" and "Miracle Drug" - which Bono prefaced with an interlude about the Hub's gifted scientific community - came off slightly perfunctory.
But U2's perfunctory tends to be more high energy and earnest than most bands' best and its highlights so stellar that a few breathers can be forgiven.
The highs were breathtaking indeed. The prayerful but joyful acoustic encore "Yahweh" had a magical touch, as did Bono's tender falsetto on "Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own" and the mesmerizing "Running to Stand Still," which the singer dedicated to the brave men and women in the U.S. military.
Spokesman Bono didn't overdo the one-world speechifying. Prior to a lovely version of "One," he spoke briefly of the legacy of John F. Kennedy and beseeched the crowd to join his One campaign to end extreme poverty, saying, "We are so much more powerful when we work together as one."
During the song he asked everyone to pull out their cell phones, which practically lit up the arena. (Clearly more people have cell phones now than lighters.)
The night ended with the tireless crowd singing heartily on "40" as Mullen laid down a martial tempo.
Toward the end of the evening, Bono said with a heartfelt sigh, "It's nice to be home." Without a doubt, it was good to have them.
The mighty Kings of Leon played a rip-snorting 40-minute opening set to a shockingly small crowd.
Copyright © 2005 Boston Herald. All rights reserved.