Opening Act(s): None
- The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)
- Out of Control
- Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio? - Vertigo
- I Will Follow
- Mofo - Iris (Hold Me Close)
- Cedarwood Road
- Song for Someone
- Sunday Bloody Sunday
- Raised by Wolves
- Until the End of the World Intermission
- Even Better Than the Real Thing
- Mysterious Ways - Burning Down the House - Young Americans
- When Love Comes to Town
- Angel of Harlem
- Every Breaking Wave
- Bullet the Blue Sky - 19
- The Hands That Built America - Pride (In the Name of Love)
- Beautiful Day - I Remember You
- With or Without You Encore(s):
- City of Blinding Lights
- Mother and Child Reunion - Where the Streets Have No Name - California (There Is No End to Love)
- I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
U2's Innocence + Experience Tour arrives for the first time in the USA, in San Jose, and is similar to the first Vancouver show in terms of the setlist, with two songs swapped in place in the second set: Angel of Harlem and When Love Comes to Town. These two songs premiered in the tour in the second show from Vancouver, in light of B.B. King's death. Bono dedicates "Angel of Harlem" to the pastor emeritus, Reverend Cecil Williams of the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco. "The Troubles" is supposedly included in the setlist (between Beautiful Day and With or Without You), but isn't performed.
Review: U2 is good, not great in San Jose
by Jim Harrington
San Jose Mercury News
SAN JOSE -- U2 has set the bar so high for concert performances that even the band itself has a hard time clearing it.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame act's show on Monday night -- the first of a sold-out two-night stand at the SAP Center in San Jose -- was quite good. Yet, it wasn't nearly as powerful as some of the other U2 shows fans have witnessed in the Bay Area, which featured better set lists and stronger musical performances.
It was, however, much better than the band's last local stop, when it brought its mammoth 360 Tour to O.co Coliseum in 2011. That outing tried to compensate for a lack of heart and soul with plenty of bells and whistles -- including a four-legged "Claw" stage, with each leg able to support 125 tons, which measured 157 feet tall and 200 feet wide. Even U2 -- arguably the world's biggest rock band -- got lost amid that massive eyesore.
Sure, the band's current U2's Innocence + Experience Tour, which kicked off last week in Vancouver before finding its way to San Jose, features its share of special effects and pricey props. Still, you never lose sight of who the real stars are in this production.
The Irish rock quartet -- featuring vocalist Bono, guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. -- kicked off the approximately 2½-hour show in fine fashion with the anthem "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)," which is also the first track on the group's latest effort, "Songs of Innocence."
From there, the group took a real left turn and zoomed back in time for "Out of Control," a relatively "deep" cut originally found on U2's first EP, 1979's "Three," and later on the full-length debut, 1980's "Boy." Then U2 rallied back to more familiar territory, revving through 2004's tired "Vertigo," which is perhaps best known -- especially in these parts -- for its use in a commercial for Apple's iPod and iTunes.
Fans roared in approval, cheering on their heroes as they roamed about two stages, connected by a catwalk that ran the length of the arena floor. The crowd numbered well over 17,000, by far the biggest turnout I've seen for a concert at SAP. A sold-out show here typically runs in the 13,000 range, but the stage configuration -- standing room only on the floor and seating offered behind the main stage -- allowed for U2 to pack more fans into the building.
Bono wasn't quite as charismatic as usual, yet he was still able to bring much conviction to the longtime favorite "I Will Follow" and other numbers. The 55-year-old vocalist also wasn't as energetic onstage as in years past, where he might bolt off in a sprint at any moment. Yet, he seemed in fairly good performance shape, with the only real sign of his bicycling accident in November -- which left him with a titanium elbow -- being that he didn't play guitar.
Perhaps as a way to underscore he's not the only injury-prone member of the band, Bono did take time to poke a little fun at his buddy Edge, who fell off the stage during the first show of this tour, thankfully leaving the guitarist with nothing more than a scraped arm.
The sound was great, thanks to U2's new speaker system -- hung from the ceiling -- which hopefully will be copied by every act planning to tour arenas. It really made a huge difference with The Edge's effects-heavy guitar work, which has rarely sounded cleaner or fuller.
The other real game-changer was the rectangular video screen, which ran perpendicular from the stage, above the catwalk. It was a two-sided screen, so that people on either side of the arena could enjoy the images. Yet, it was also partially translucent and hollow, which meant that band members could walk right down the center of it and interact with the video images. At one point, Bono's image was being shown on the big video screen -- and it appeared as if the real-life Edge was standing right in his palm.
It was not the kind of "greatest hits" show that we've grown accustomed to from this fan-friendly band. Instead, the group has been changing the set list from night to night, turning each show into a kind of a guessing game.
That's fun for big U2 fans, who might really want to hear a more obscure cut like "Out of Control." Yet, it's mighty hard to justify why fans didn't get to hear "Elevation," "Walk On," "Sweetest Thing" or "One" on Monday night.
The group spent ample time on the new album, "Songs of Innocence," getting the best results from "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)" and "Song for Someone." In general, the new songs came across somewhat better live than they do on record, which, granted, isn't saying much. Perhaps that's because no one was force-feeding them to me through my iTunes account.
Bono and the crew finished up the show strong, charging through "Bullet the Blue Sky," "Pride (In the Name of Love)," "Beautiful Day" and "With or Without You" at the end of the second set and then returning for an encore of "City of Blinding Lights," "Where the Streets Have No Name" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."
Follow Jim Harrington at twitter.com/jimthecritic and www.facebook.com/jim.bayareanews.
Copyright © 2015 San Jose Mercury News
All photos by © Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group