Opening Act(s): Black Eyed Peas
Breathe, Get On Your Boots, Magnificent, Mysterious Ways, Beautiful Day - Blackbird, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For - Stand By Me, Happy Birthday, Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, No Line On The Horizon, Elevation, In A Little While, Unknown Caller, Until The End Of The World, The Unforgettable Fire, City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight (Remix), Sunday Bloody Sunday, MLK, Walk On - You’ll Never Walk Alone. Encore(s): One, Amazing Grace, Where The Streets Have No Name, Ultra Violet (Light My Way), With Or Without You, Moment Of Surrender.
The final U2 360° concert of 2009 takes place in Vancouver, Canada. The band wishes Bill Gates a happy birthday as he turns 54 years old. The only notable change in tonight’s concert is the elimination of the Zoobaby intro before “Ultra Violet” in favor of W. H. Auden’s poem “Stop All The Clocks”. U2 looks forward to 2010 for the 3rd and 4th legs of the U2 360° Tour in Europe, North America (and possibly Australia, New Zealand and Japan). Until then, U2 will perform at various concerts, benefits and awards shows for the time being (Brandenburg Gate and the Rock Hall’s 25th anniversary concert included).
The Globe and Mail
U2 wraps up tour with spectacular Vancouver show
The energy was high and an emotional Bono was in fine voice, writes Marsha Lederman
Marsha Lederman, Globe and Mail
In front of an audience that included Bill Gates and “Mrs. Edge,” U2 wrapped up its North American 360 tour with a stunning performance at Vancouver’s BC Place Wednesday night.
Dressed all in black and wearing his trademark sunglasses, Bono thrilled the crowd with his showmanship, his still-strong voice and his shout-outs to Vancouver.
“Where are we going on the SkyTrain? Millennium Line. Expo Line. Canada Line.”
The reference to Vancouver’s public transit system sent the crowd into a frenzy and was one of the very few surprises of the night for anyone who has been following the band’s much-publicized tour - in particular, Sunday night’s live web cast of their Los Angeles concert which featured an identical set list and some of the same word-for-word on-stage banter from Bono.
Still, it’s quite something to see the spectacle in person.
The band kicked things off with three tracks from their latest release, No Line on the Horizon - building energy through Breathe, Get on Your Boots and Magnificent.
But things really took off when Bono launched into Mysterious Ways, strutting across the enormous catwalk - and the crowd was on its feet.
Throughout the two-hour-and-15-minute show, it was unquestionably the older material that resonated with the multi-generational crowd. The crowd knew every word to I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Beautiful Day and Where the Streets Have No Name.
The sound was inconsistent, not surprising for this venue. But if anyone can sound good at BC Place, it’s U2.
Sunday Bloody Sunday was a show-stopper. Bono has long since lost the white flag that made his performance of the anti-war anthem so legendary way back in the ’80s, but he doesn’t appear to have lost the passion. Performing the song on a stage bathed in green, the youthful anger was replaced by an older, wiser man’s concern. (The song followed a plea for democracy to Iran.) There was also a tribute to Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi, for whom Bono wrote the song Walk On.
The show was spectacular in the true sense of the word - the much-written-about mega stage, the enormous video screen, the intricate light show - but all that technology seems to pose a problem too. With a show so complex, spontaneity seems to be difficult if not impossible.
Even a City of Blinding Lights stroll around the catwalk with a young girl (to whom he sang “oh you look so beautiful tonight” - which actually felt kind of odd rather than cute) was clearly planned; not the spontaneous dance-with-a-fan of the U2 of old.
The evening was a star-studded affair off-stage as well as on, with Liam Neeson and football great Warren Moon in attendance, guitarist The Edge’s mother (“our very first crew member,” said Bono) and Bill and Melinda Gates. Bono led the crowd in a rendition of Happy Birthday for Mr. Gates, who celebrated his 54th birthday at the concert.
If the Vancouver show was anti-climactic after Sunday’s Rose Bowl event (with 95,000 people in attendance plus millions more streaming online), the band didn’t let on. The energy was high and Bono was in fine voice (for the most part). If anything, the show had an added element as the band wrapped up the tour - thanking the “best crew we’ve ever worked with” (at which point Bono’s microphone went all crackly - a joke, surely), congratulating the tour’s designer and singling out his band mates with praise and hugs.
“It’s getting very emotional around here,” Bono said toward the end of the show.
It was, indeed.
© Copyright 2009 CTVglobemedia Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photos by Jeff Vinnick, The Globe and Mail