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By Dave McKenna, Washington Post

Recent U2 roadshows had the feel of overbudgeted Broadway musicals, where tunes were subservient to pyrotechnics and it was clear that singer, frontman and resident speechifier Bono had to hit the same stage mark at the same point in the same song in every city because the props compelled him to.

The legendary Irish rockers are taking a different tack these days. For its Sunday appearance at Capital One Arena, U2's main stage had only microphones, instruments, band members and enough stomp boxes to make the Edge's guitars as reverb-y and echo-y as expected. There wasn't a confetti cannon or balloon drop anywhere on the premises. Yet from beginning to end of a joyous, two-hour-plus set, less sure seemed like more.

The band ranged far and wide when picking the set list. The only thing off limits this time around was material from "The Joshua Tree," the 1987 multiplatinum monster LP that band members decided has provided too much material to U2 shows for too long. (Plus it got its due just last year on a tour devoted to the album's 30th anniversary.) That pronouncement meant more time for tunes from the band's 14th and latest studio album, 2017's "Songs of Experience," as the set opened with a trio of newish numbers: The somber if overly Coldplayish dirge, "Love Is All We Have Left," the rocky funk of "The Blackout" and fuzzfest "Lights of Home."

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By Jem Aswad, Variety

When a stadium-sized artist does a "club show," they usually play an acoustic-ish set or a scaled-down (i.e. intimate but incomplete) version of their usual headlining concert. Sometimes, they do something special.

For their concert at Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater on Monday night -- presented by and broadcast on SiriusXM -- U2 truly did something special, delivering a unique, carefully curated show, mixing classics and new songs with several deep cuts, including an encore set with the 13-piece Sun Ra Arkestra that featured three rarely played, Harlem-centric songs from their 1988 album "Rattle and Hum." There were none of the dazzling special effects that have become a hallmark of their big-room shows; just lights, a stage, and one of the greatest live rock bands in history at full throttle, roaring through 20 songs from their nearly 40-year catalog.

Last Sunday, May 27, U2 recorded a couple of tunes at Jack White's Third Man Records studio in Nashville, TN.

The songs U2 performed were recorded directly to acetate vinyl for a special forthcoming limited edition single.

Here's their live, stripped-down acoustic take of "Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way" (this was recorded via Facebook Live).

Also, they performed an acoustic version of "Red Flag Day" and here is a snippet below:

Latest U2 Concert

Opening Act(s): None

Setlist:

  1. Love Is All We Have Left
  2. The Blackout
  3. Lights of Home
  4. I Will Follow
  5. All Because of You
  6. Beautiful Day
  7. The Ocean
  8. Iris (Hold Me Close)
  9. Cedarwood Road
  10. Sunday Bloody Sunday - When Johnny Comes Marching Home
  11. Until the End of the World
  12. Intermission (Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me)
  13. Elevation
  14. Vertigo - Can I Get a Witness
  15. Desire (Hollywood Mix)
  16. Acrobat
  17. You're the Best Thing About Me (Acoustic)
  18. Staring at the Sun (Acoustic)
  19. This is Not America - Pride (In the Name of Love) - God Bless America
  20. Get Out of Your Own Way
  21. American Soul
  22. City of Blinding Lights
  23. Encore(s):
  24. Women of the World - One - Invisible
  25. Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way
  26. Hedgehog (Bono Solo)
  27. 13 (There Is a Light)

Remarks:

U2's second night in Boston contained the same setlist except for "All Because of You" replacing "Gloria" as the 5th song. During "Beautiful Day", Bono gave a shout-out to Brookline pediatrician Dr. Gloria Rudisch Minsky.

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