Opening Act(s): Dashboard Confessional
City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, Elevation, The Electric Co., The Ocean, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, Beautiful Day-Many Rivers To Cross, 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 First Time, Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses, With Or Without You, All Because Of You, Yahweh, 40.
Bono tells the crowd that tonight is the 29th anniversary of the first time U2 ever met and played together as a band and reminisces about the days when they were just starting out. He sings a couple lines from 'In A Little While' at the end of 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.' He praises the recent IRA disarmament agreement and holds an Irish flag during Sunday Bloody Sunday. Bono and The Edge fumble through Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses, stopping and restarting to get it right. 40 is dedicated to bass tech Stuart Morgan, who is not at the show after the recent death of his mother.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Bono and the boys throw a birthday bash
by Gemma Tarlach, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Life is too short to save the confetti for the encore.
That was just one of the lessons learned Sunday night at the Bradley Center when a sold-out crowd joined U2 for a birthday celebration that affirmed the power of music to inspire, unite and even effect positive change in the world.
"Twenty-nine years to this day, this band met for the first day. Little boys with big ideas - probably just big heads," said Bono after the quartet treated fans to a pair of songs, "The Electric Co." and "The Ocean," from its first album, 1980's "Boy."
Both songs underscored just how big the Dublin teenagers were thinking when they formed - and how thinking big, not to mention a healthy sense of humor about themselves, would become a hallmark of the band. The early songs, already full of Edge's lush, unbounded guitar work and Bono's emphatic vocals, stood as equals in quality and vision to 2000's "Elevation" and 1987's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," which book-ended them.
The near-two hour set was more than an anniversary retrospective of the band's career, however.
After opening with crowd-showering confetti during "City of Blinding Lights" and "Vertigo," both from 2004's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," U2 used songs old and new as segues for causes the band believes in.
Bono dedicated "Miracle Drug" to nurses and doctors, particularly those waging war against the AIDS pandemic. The singer prefaced "Miss Sarajevo," the band's haunting song of humanity during the Balkans War, with a salute to the bravery of the men and women of the American military. As the song came to a close, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights scrolled overhead on a widescreen jumbo TV.
After leading the crowd through a rousing version of "Sunday Bloody Sunday," Bono took an Irish flag from the crowd and explained there was a time he wasn't comfortable waving the symbol of a country torn by war and division.
"But tomorrow sees the end of what is known as 'the Troubles' in Ireland," Bono said, citing a disarmament agreement.
Perhaps the evening's most emotional synthesis of sound, vision and heart came as Bono dedicated "Where the Streets Have No Name" to the nations of Africa, which have been the focus of his politicking for global debt relief.
Ceiling-to-stage curtains of light bulbs displayed a scroll of the flags of that continent's nations during the song, then changed to the American flag as Bono segued into "Old Man River" and spoke of compassion for victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The evening was not all about the causes of rocks stars who loom larger than life in pop culture, of course. Bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. performed solidly but largely kept to the background, as usual. Edge's guitar has rarely sounded more immediate and complex - well, except for a fumble during one of the encores, "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses," when the guitarist, on the walkway with Bono, seemed to be playing a different song.
Both men stopped, looked at each other and laughed.
"Just give us a minute," Bono told the crowd, pulling out his ear monitor and leaning into Edge's shoulder for an all-too-human confab about what to do next.
E-mail Gemma Tarlach at [email protected]