Opening Act(s): Institute
City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, Elevation, I Will Follow, Gloria, The Ocean, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, 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, Miss Sarajevo, Pride (In The Name Of Love), Where The Streets Have No Name, One-MLK. Encore(s): The First Time, Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses, With Or Without You, Crumbs From Your Table, Bad.
Bono makes repeated references throughout the show to Rosa Parks, the civil rights pioneer who died earlier in the day. He dedicates One to her memory and adds MLK as a eulogy at the end. Vertigo includes a bit of Patti Smith's 'Rock And Roll Nigger', and Bad includes a bit of her 'People Have The Power.'
U2 pleases, politicks two sold-out Palace crowds
by Adam Graham
No one goes to a U2 concert expecting an evening free of political soapboxing. Peace, unity, yada yada yada -- but hey, you're still going to play "Where the Streets Have No Name," right?
Even so, the Dublin quartet took its message of "Love and Peace or Else" to the edge -- pun intended -- during the band's very sold-out two-night stand at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
During a mid-show stretch through the band's most political material, including "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "Bullet the Blue Sky" and "Pride (In the Name of Love)," U2 frontman Bono fell to his knees and crossed his arms above his head while pulling a bandana with the message "Coexist" -- decorated with the Islamic crescent moon, the Jewish star of David and the Christian cross -- over his eyes, while images of war planes flickered on a wall of lights above his head.
Things were breezier at the onset of the 135-minute, 20-plus song shows, with Bono appearing as if out of thin air at the tip of the stage's ellipse-shaped catwalk, in front of more than 20,000 mostly thirtysomething fans each night. Confetti already raining from the ceiling, Bono shrugged his shoulders and casually strutted to the stage while the band played "City of Blinding Lights," the most timeless-sounding, classic-U2-minded track on their current album "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb."
The band elegantly powered through "Vertigo" and "Elevation" before dipping into its back catalog for songs from 1980's "Boy" ("I Will Follow," "The Ocean," and Monday, "The Electric Co.") and 1981's "October" (Tuesday night's "Gloria").
Driven with confidence and percision by ace drummer Larry Mullen, Jr., bassist Adam Clayton and the Edge's jangly, effects-laden guitars, U2 hit its stride while powering through its new material, most notably the soaring "Miracle Drug."
But Bono wasn't entirely on his game Monday. Acting slightly tepid, he stuck a little too closely to his home base on the main stage, only venturing out onto the stage's massive catwalk -- surrounded by fans on either side -- a handful of times. Audience response suffered as a result, but when he finally clicked with the crowd, who turned from receptive to rapturous during "Where the Streets Have No Name," he made sure to make note of it. "Wow," he said as the crowd roared, "this is a Monday night in Detroit? You can change the world with a sound like that."
Earlier in the evening Bono, who did something he rarely does -- take off his sunglasses -- during the tender "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" -- remarked, "This feels not at all like a Monday night. This feels like a Saturday night."
If that was the case, Tuesday felt like an even better Saturday night, with the band pulling out a few crowd faves it didn't Monday (including an intimate, acoustic "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" and closer "Bad," not to mention the powerful newbie-but-goodie "Crumbs from Your Table") and engaging in less political rhetoric than the night before. Instead, the band paid tribute to Rosa Parks in a pair of songs, with Bono shouting "for Rosa Parks, sing!" during "Pride" and dedicating set-closer "One" to the fallen civil rights legend, whom Bono called the "Mother of civil rights." "Because of her strength and quiet dignity, America became a better place," he said.
U2's stirring and surprising inclusion of "Miss Sarajevo" -- recorded with Luciano Pavarotti, under the pseudonym the Passengers, in the mid-'90s -- in the set was a revelation, especially with Bono capably filling in Pavarotti's vocal duties.
Both nights the band displayed considerable grace and charisma. Though heavy-handed at times -- in ways only U2 could get away with -- they put on a muscular show that proved why they still hold the title of the World's Greatest Living Rock and Roll Band.
The real head-scratcher was opening band Institute. By cranking out more than 40 minutes of recycled grunge riffs, ex-Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale's new band failed to justify either their exorbitant volume or their opening slot on one of the year's biggest tours.
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