Opening Act(s): The Arcade Fire
City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, Elevation, I Will Follow, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For-In A Little While, Beautiful Day-Many Rivers To Cross, Original Of The Species, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, Love And Peace Or Else, Sunday Bloody Sunday-Rock The Casbah, Bullet The Blue Sky, Miss Sarajevo, Pride (In The Name Of Love), Where The Streets Have No Name, One. Encore(s): Until The End Of The World, Mysterious Ways, With Or Without You, Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of, Yahweh, 40.
Bono brings fans on stage three times, including a young boy during Sunday Bloody Sunday who sings the 'No more' chorus with great enthusiasm. The 'pixel panel' light curtains malfunction during Vertigo and Original Of The Species. Win Butler, Régine Chassagne and William Butler from The Arcade Fire watch the show from inside the ellipse.
One great night
by Ann Marie McQueen, Ottawa Sun
"IT'S TAKEN 20 years," boomed Bono, "here goes."
From the moment the charismatic U2 frontman appeared at the bottom of a giant oval stage last night, his arms raised in the air, framed against a curtain of lightbulbs as confetti rained down during the stirring opening notes of City of Blinding Lights, to the last, audience-perpetuated "how long to sing this song?" 40 chorus, U2 made up for lost time.
The sold-out crowd of more than 18,000, who stayed on their feet right up to the Corel Centre roof throughout the much-anticipated two-hour show, seemed to agree.
"Has this city got soul?" Bono belted out early on in the show, over and over and over, during Beautiful Day, the band's 2000 gratitude anthem.
"You say that to all the rock stars," he joked later, during another near-deafening moment.
There couldn't have been much more buzz if the building was hosting Game 7 of a Stanley Cup final for its beloved Ottawa Senators. When U2 finally took the stage -- 15 minutes late, prompting the restless crowd to launch into an enthusiastic bout of "the wave" -- the place seemed ready to take off.
"Sexy people, here in Ottawa, Friday night," remarked Bono, shortly after watching us sing the first verse of Elevation.
The band made full use of the stage throughout, with The Edge, bass guitarist Adam Clayton, even drummer Larry Mullen, at different times seeming to stride out into the crowd, fans on either side rocking out to their tight, precise chords.
Things hit a high right after a human rights message during the elusive Miss Sarajevo, when the group slid from a spine-tingling Pride (In The Name of Love) into a welcome Where The Streets Have No Name. We were there for the music, but the anti-poverty sermon -- complete with contact numbers for Canadian political leaders scrolling across an elevated video screen -- proved a fitting intro for One. It was made all the nicer when Bono urged everyone to turn on their cellphones, transforming the place into a glittering sea of light.
"We can change the world," he pleaded, "things don't have to be the way they are."
There was plenty to love and few surprises during the 95-minute concert, augmented by two powerful encores. The group stuck to their script, mostly, though periodically borrowed snippets of tunes like Rock The Casbah and Many Rivers To Cross.
Though some critics have complained about Bono's vocals this tour, the only times he seemed croaky to me came during a few between-songs sections. It was a nice tribute when, recalling his many conversations with his late father that began with "take those f------ sunglasses off," Bono removed his trademark eyewear before beginning the sweet ode Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own.
And there were a few lovely acoustic moments too, at the beginning of the second encore, when Bono and The Edge stood at the bottom of the oval to perform Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of and the newer Yahweh.
I couldn't help but think about Jack Crocker during With Or Without You, because that's when the Ottawa chef told me he'd planned to pull out the diamond ring hiding in his pocket and propose to Brie Gilmore, his girlfriend of two years, right down there on the floor. Or imagining being the girl Bono dragged up on stage for a sexy slow dance right about the same time.
Ah, music brings us together, doesn't it? It took 20 years all right, but at least it was worth the wait.
And I've said it before, but until I caught Arcade Fire's opening act last night, I couldn't have meant it: The Montreal-based, partially-Ottawa comprised group played their hearts out.
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