innocence_experience_tour_-_2nd_leg_-_europe

November 3, 2015 - London, England - O2 Arena

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Opening Act(s): None

Setlist:

  1. The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)
  2. Gloria - Gloria (by Van Morrison)
  3. Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio? - Vertigo
  4. I Will Follow
  5. Iris (Hold Me Close) - Hold Me Close
  6. Cedarwood Road
  7. Song for Someone
  8. Sunday Bloody Sunday - When Johnny Comes Marching Home
  9. Raised by Wolves
  10. Until the End of the World - Love and Peace or Else - Words
  11. Intermission
  12. Invisible
  13. Even Better Than the Real Thing
  14. Mysterious Ways - Burning Down the House - Young Americans
  15. Desire - 1969 - Love Me Do
  16. Party Girl
  17. Every Breaking Wave
  18. October
  19. Bullet the Blue Sky - Ode to Joy - 19
  20. Zooropa
  21. Where the Streets Have No Name - California (There Is No End to Love)
  22. Pride (In the Name of Love)
  23. With or Without You - Yellow
  24. Encore(s):
  25. City of Blinding Lights
  26. Beautiful Day
  27. Mother and Child Reunion - Bad - "40"
  28. "40"

Remarks:

The 6th and final consecutive show in London occurred tonight. It's just the 2nd city on the tour that featured 6 or more consecutive concerts (the other being New York City with 8 concerts). The last time U2 performed 6 times in London was on the War tour (over a span of 2 different legs). "Party Girl" was performed for only the 3rd time on the tour. Chris Martin of Coldplay was in the audience and Bono sang a portion of "Yellow" for him.

Media Review:

U2 review - a near-triumph of hope over experience

*** out of 5 stars

O2 Arena, London

Bono and the boys can still lace seasoned stagecraft with sincerity to powerful effect, though they have their mawkish moments

by Kitty Empire, The Guardian Observer

In his work outside rock behemoths U2, singer Bono Vox loves nothing more than to bridge a gap. Tonight, in the last of six nights at London's O2 Arena, he dedicates songs to "the peacemakers", who "have the courage to compromise". Atrocities may remain unpunished - though not unremembered, as a sonically stripped-down but visually amped-up treatment of Sunday Bloody Sunday attests tonight. But the Troubles are basically ended in Ireland, Bono argues. So other conflicts can be reconciled.

As with global conflict, so with rock'n'roll. This tour, supporting the band's Songs of Innocence album - you'll have it on your iTunes - is all about bridging gaps (past, present), deconstructing binaries (light, dark) and celebrating dyads (mother, child; two pills that prevent pregnant women passing on the HIV virus to their children). It's about - to paraphrase Bono - making an arena show from personal stuff you would struggle to tell your best friend.

Even if you don't care for decades of U2's music (they mostly lost me after The Joshua Tree), they give great, thoughtful son et lumière. The set starts with one giant lightbulb dangling from the rafters, and ends with Bono waving a hand-held searchlight around, piercing darkness. One half of the stage forms an I. At the other end of the arena is the E stage; the two Blakean opposites - innocence and experience - are connected by a runway. Above that hangs an elevated ramp, a bit like a giant toaster-sandwich cage, its sides acting as LED screens. This is not, historically, the flashiest bit of U2 arena kit - it is no flying lemon - but provides opportunities for mixed-media renderings of U2's songs which veer from the mawkish to the mesmerising.

The band peek out from behind static on Invisible; a giant projection of Bono appears to hold the Edge in his hand as he walks from stage to stage. Even Better Than the Real Thing superimposes live images on pre-recorded projections.

After an initial slew of songs played without visuals - The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) (new, over-cooked), Gloria (old, skilfully reworked) - the sandwich cage becomes a canvas for Dublin children's illustrator Oliver Jeffers to render Bono's childhood home. It is a little too faux-childlike, perhaps, at first. But the Hokusai-like flood that sweeps away Bono's innocence and a few giant signifiers - the wolves mentioned in Raised By Wolves, a lightbulb, religious iconography - is visually stunning.

We assume the flood was partly the bombings, and mostly the death of Bono's mother, Iris Hewson, when he was 14. U2's more vague treatments of Bono's original wound remain superior; the excellent I Will Follow, say, rather than the more recent Iris (Hold Me Close).

Tonight, Bono confides how artists sometimes are the last to know what their songs are about. He says he wrote I Will Follow as a borderline suicide note, wanting to follow his mother; it is, he says now, "about unconditional love".

He reels you in, Bono, then he mislays you. During Song for Someone, he regards his giant, younger animated self, with his Kraftwerk and Clash posters, who regards him back.

It is a little like the visual equivalent of talking about yourself in the third person, but the overarching principle is logistically sound: connecting those scruffy teenage Dublin punks to their fiftysomething rock aristocrat future selves in a show that takes in most eras of U2's long reign as the biggest rock band in the world.

With no guests to speak of - Noel Gallagher and Patti Smith appeared earlier in the run - this final night's demob-happy bit of spontaneity consists of a closing couple of old, old tracks - Bad (from 1984's The Unforgettable Fire) and the psalm-derived 40 (from 1983's War). These two tracks from the late cretaceous still beat what passes for an encore most other nights, songs in which the word "beautiful" irks: City of Blinding Lights (a lesser song, made cheesier by the Edge's guitar rendered as smears of light) and Beautiful Day (uplift by numbers).

Bullet the Blue Sky, though, has it all. The Edge's guitar is uncommonly barbed. You see a body, wearing a yellow lifejacket, floating in the water; then a circle of floating bodies form the European flag. Bono, meanwhile, is pacing around, declaiming freely into a megaphone - a loose, self-examining screed in which his younger self pats down the rock star who has "300 times more" than he needs. In among the bombast come resolutions like these where U2's sounds and images combine to hit unforeseeably hard.

© 2015 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Original article: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/nov/07/u2-live-review-o2-innocence-experience-tour

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on November 3, 2015 4:36 PM.

November 2, 2015 - London, England - O2 Arena was the previous entry in this blog.

November 6, 2015 - Glasgow, Scotland - SSE Hydro is the next entry in this blog.

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