Opening Act(s): Lenny Kravitz
Even Better Than The Real Thing, The Fly, Mysterious Ways, Until The End Of The World, One, Amazing Grace - Where The Streets Have No Name - All You Need Is Love, I Will Follow, Get On Your Boots - She Loves You, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of, Beautiful Day - Space Oddity, Elevation, Pride (In The Name Of Love), Miss Sarajevo, Zooropa, City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo - It's Only Rock And Roll, I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (Remix) - Discotheque - Please, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Scarlet, Walk On - You'll Never Walk Alone. Encore(s): Ultra Violet (Light My Way), With Or Without You, Moment Of Surrender - Jungleland.
U2 kick off the second night in LA with 5 songs from the Achtung Baby album including "The Fly" for the first time since December 9, 2006 in Hawaii. For the record, "The Fly" is one of six Achtung Baby songs performed at this concert. The segue from "One" to "Amazing Grace" to "Where The Streets Have No Name" is epic and emotionally effective (and "Streets" has never been performed this early in a show in over 20 years). Slews of celebrities are in attendance including Rick Rubin, Tom Morello, Cindy Crawford, Gordon Ramsay, Paris Hilton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sharon Stone, Hilary Swank and Quincy Jones (Bono dedicates "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" to Jones). Before the show ends, Bono sings "Jungleland" and pays tribute to Saxophonist Clarence Clemons, from Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, who died earlier in the day.
Orange County Register
U2 recaptures the magic at second Big A show
by Ben Wener
We can split hairs over whether U2's first show at Angel Stadium this past weekend was fully awesome -- a perfectly paced concert as moving and meaningful as their Rose Bowl blast just before Halloween 2009 -- or whether it was simply as impeccable as the Irishmen's performances always are. I'm apparently a cynical, narcissistic, arrogant jerk for suggesting in my admittedly overlong first review that some indefinable spark -- some touch of magic -- was missing.
I rambled through 2,300 words trying to make up my mind if it really ranked with the inspired and inspiring encounters I've had with this band over the years. Days later it still doesn't feel like a truly marvelous one -- only a warm-up to the fiercer, fleeter, far more galvanizing set that seemed to seize the 50,000-plus fans on hand in Anaheim Saturday night, zapping them full of infectious excitement and deep emotional resonance, and never allowing either feeling to let up.
This much is indisputable: The second show was better. Way better. Dare I say: magical.
[More...] "I know this is Angels territory and miracles abound," Bono said after four songs, including terrific takes on "Even Better Than the Real Thing" and "Until the End of the World" that were much more torrential than the night before, plus a funkier "Mysterious Ways" that had the singer shouting out "James Brown!" (like in the Tom Tom Club's "Genius of Love") as well as the explosive tour debut of "The Fly." From further up Katella Avenue Friday afternoon I heard them sound-check that last one, along with another welcome Achtung Baby tune that snuck into Saturday's show, "Ultra Violet (Light My Way)." (That one replaced "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" as the encore-launching piece that Bono vocalizes into a red-glowing ring as big as his head.)
It was already a bold opening, the band attacking the material, the frontman in his trademark leather and shades lurching at the audience. But that wasn't enough: "There's a magic trick we'd like to do tonight. We're gonna try to shrink the stadium. We want to feel right up close to you in the top tier." I'd never dream they noticed my earlier review, let alone took any of it to heart -- why should they care? And still it felt as though they were trying to disprove my notion, that the enormous scope of such shows makes it immensely difficult to leave everyone within earshot feeling overwhelmed.
Rather than rely on the often jaw-dropping sight of this 360 Tour production -- which inside the Big A looked less like a giant claw than some strange interstellar craft that had touched down around second base -- U2 instead used two of its mightiest weapons of love and hope and peace to achieve that seemingly impossible intimacy. Stunningly, the group yanked forward the back-to-back wow of what until now had been its opening encore: the universal anthem "One" and the ever-thrilling rush of "Where the Streets Have No Name," here joined together by a verse of "Amazing Grace," the lights turned stark on Bono and the screens faded to black.
It's the first time "Streets" has turned up so soon in a show in more than 20 years, according to the authoritative U2Setlists.com. Both it and "One" are so cathartically satisfying that the performance could have been all downhill from there -- no matter how eye-grabbing the cyclonic visuals remained during "Zooropa" and "City of Blinding Light," no matter how dizzying the expandable screen became at the end of a tilt-a-whirl "Vertigo."
Instead it was a gamble that paid off superbly. Thrusting those big guns up to the start of the set -- the first five selections alone were entirely from Achtung -- only sent a jolt of fervency through the crowd that kept them buzzing right up to the solemn comedown conclusion, begun by a dramatic "With or Without You" (its final cries as anguished as ever) and then a hymn-like rendition of "Moment of Surrender."
There was reason to bring more gravity to those final numbers. Those who learned the sad news just before Lenny Kravitz's solid, slightly more elongated opening set surely had to wonder when Bono might mention the passing of Clarence Clemons, the Big Man of the E Street Band, who suffered a severe stroke last weekend and passed away Saturday at 69.
"I want you to think about a beautiful sound that came out of one man's saxophone," he said as the stage lights dimmed. "I want you to think about Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. I want you to think of Clarence Clemons. This man just carried music ... and music carried him until his death."
It was a fitting, thoughtful tribute, sealed with a few lines from "Jungleland," and it certainly evoked the more earnest U2 that had people weeping at the Rose Bowl. But even without that touching moment, this performance was one for the books, a potent reminder that this rare, iconic bunch, tight like brothers, can still be as driven and majestic and glorious as they were in '92, '87, even '85. Looking ageless as they all cross the 50 threshold, they were enlivened Saturday night by the spirit of their younger selves; even during bits of technological marvel or remixed electronics, the primal, consuming force these four men have created from the start roared through as trenchant as ever.
You could complain that there still isn't enough older material in their sets these days -- and for the next tour I'd suggest they go conventional, stuff three or four together in the middle or as the first encore. But given the flawless flow of Saturday night's show I couldn't care less that we didn't get to hear "New Year's Day" or "Bad."
That soaring opening set in motion a stampede that never stopped racing: here comes a blitzing "I Will Follow," now a gnarled "Get On Your Boots," followed by impassioned renditions of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (dedicated to Quincy Jones) and "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of" (for Michael Hutchence, as well as the Edge's wife, Morleigh Steinberg) and then exultant screams through perfectly pitched versions of "Beautiful Day" and "Elevation."
Maybe my expectations were raised too high after the Rose Bowl, which captivated in a single night as many people as were at Angel Stadium for two. But frankly they should have to top themselves -- no mean feat, granted, but they have to at least try, especially in a region that has hosted so many lastingly memorable U2 performances. As with Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Radiohead and very few others anymore, die-hard fans can't help but demand that every major appearance measures up to the greatest a band has ever given.
I'll never know what didn't click so well on Friday; I can't imagine that the Edge's Malibu mansion plans, rejected earlier in the day, left him out of sorts, nor that Bono had somehow psyched himself out about returning to Southern California. But there are strong shows and then there are tremendous ones -- and this time U2 really pulled off something spectacular.
© 2011 Orange County Register