Opening Act(s): Dashboard Confessional
Vertigo, The Electric Co., Elevation, Beautiful Day, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, City Of Blinding Lights, Miracle Drug, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, Love And Peace Or Else, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bullet The Blue Sky, Miss Sarajevo, Pride (In The Name Of Love), Where The Streets Have No Name, One-Ol' Man River. Encore(s): The Fly, With Or Without You, All Because Of You, Yahweh, Bad.
Bono sings bits of 'People I Don't Know Are Trying To Kill Me' and 'See Me Feel Me' during The Electric Co. One includes the 'Hear us coming' coda. Bono invites a bellydancer on stage during Bad, though he tells the girl and the crowd it's the 'wrong song.' Later in the song, Daniel Lanois comes on stage to play guitar. Bono sings a bit of his song 'The Maker,' then adds a couple lines from 40 at the end of the show.
Elevation: U2 takes Toronto higher
by Jeff Miers
Turning arena rock into an intimate tent-show revival isn't just a daunting task; it's a task no one else from U2's generation has ever bothered to take up.
On Wednesday evening, inside Toronto's Air Canada Centre, that's exactly what the Irish quartet did. For more than two hours, the ephemera of faith - a trust in the evidence of things not seen - seemed as real as the concrete floor under the jubilant crowd. This is U2's gift as a band, and also its gift to us; it makes us believe that life can be better, that faith, hope and love are real, that we can become better people if we try, and that sometimes, the music can point us in the right direction.
Don't care about any such things? U2 still puts on a rock show better than any other band currently beating the boards. If you desire to take the low road and indulge solely in the surface, the inviting waters surrounding the message, dive right in. U2 welcomes everyone. That's part of what makes it the most important populist rock band since the glory days of the E Street Band.
The band was in fine form from the get-go, when the house overheads dimmed and huge beaded curtains of light dropped behind them. "Vertigo" was the opener, and it cooked. But hearing "Electric Co.," from the band's debut effort, "Boy," set the scene more suitably; The Edge's patented digital delay-fueled guitar figure hopped and skipped and swayed all over the tune, as rhythm section Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton laid down the groove that introduced U2 to the world 25 years ago.
Sublime - and Bono gave it all he had, which is no small amount. "Elevation" segued beautifully into "Beautiful Day," (with an addendum of the spiritual "Many Rivers to Cross") its partner on the band's brilliant "All That You Can't Leave Behind" album. That was the record that made it clear that U2 was going to enter its third decade together with all engines firing. "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" deepened that strain, and that album's "City of Blinding Lights" was an early highlight, following the gospel-based psalm "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."
"Miracle Drug" followed, and by this point, it became crystal clear that there was a subtext to all the grandeur; U2 can write beautiful love songs, pop songs with big hooks, tunes that sound great on the radio, but the band is always flush with a sense of spiritual yearning. A large, circular runway - called "the ellipse" by the U2 cog-noscente - jutted out from the stage and encircled a few hundred lucky fans chosen at random. Down there, it was like seeing U2 in a club, not an arena. This offered an effective means for the band to connect with its audience in a more intimate fashion, though for many pressed up against the runway, it seemed to offer only an opportunity to ogle Bono up close. Nothing wrong with that, but the singer, deep in the midst of a heart-wrenching "Pride (In the Name of Love)," did express frustration with the cameras flashing incessantly. But U2 can't be stopped. During "Bullet the Blue Sky," Bono donned a blindfold and assumed the position of a prisoner of terrorism, hands bound above his head. It was an entirely disturbing imag. The set's theme? The clear and present need for coexistence and acceptance, and the band's unyielding belief that things can indeed change for the better.
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