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Photo by Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune

By Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune

There was beauty and bombast, tenderness and ham-fistedness, and a tale of "innocence" and "experience." It was the best and sometimes the worst of U2 in an ambitious multi-media show Tuesday, the first of two concerts at the United Center.

The Irish quartet -- Bono, still in fine voice; The Edge and his armada of guitar foot pedals; the rock-ribbed rhythm section of bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. -- isn't phoning it in, even though it just came off the type of tour that is typical of heritage bands with several decades of hits. Last year's 30th anniversary stadium jaunt for its most popular album, "The Joshua Tree," raked in nearly $317 million on three continents.

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By Jason Bracelin, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Star-spangled bullhorn pressed to his lips, his voice boomed as torches blazed.

"This is not America," Bono declared as footage of white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August aired on the football-field-long video screen, displayed with a crispness that captured their anger down to their pores.

"This is America," the U2 frontman said, then pivoted as the scene shifted to an equal rights gathering, the faces changed, the passions similarly palpable.

A couple of numbers later, a three-story America flag was unfurled from the rafters of T-Mobile Arena as Bono brandished his bullhorn once more, this time in the service of "American Soul," a propulsive rallying cry with a bullying bass line and flecks of wah-wah guitar.

During the song's verses, Bono sought to articulate what America means to him.

"It's not a place," he sang. "This country is, to me, a sound."

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By Jon Pareles, The New York Times

TULSA, Okla. -- Love and hope contend with trauma and dread in U2's Experience + Innocence worldwide arena tour, which opened Wednesday night at the BOK Center here. Positive thinking isn't guaranteed to prevail; the state of the world is too unsettled for U2 to make promises. For decades, the band has treated arenas and stadiums as havens of community through shared songs. This time, the singalongs are mixed with warnings and pleas to save an endangered American dream.

Call it ambitious or call it presumptuous, but it's rock that arrives with a sense of mission -- so much so that U2's echoing chords and martial beats have long since become shorthand for earnest idealism in what remains of current rock. Becoming a voice of conscience is a job that few of the long-running rock bands who can still command the arena circuit -- Bruce Springsteen excepted -- are willing to shoulder. But on Wednesday night, U2 got its audience loudly chanting "No more war!" in the middle of "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

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Place Bell employees said the Irish rock group is in town to rehearse eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE show, scheduled to hit the Bell Centre on June 5-6

By Montreal Gazette/PRESSE CANADIENNE

Irish rock group U2 has chosen Quebec, and more specifically Laval, to rehearse for its next international tour, eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE, that kicks off on May 2 in Tulsa, Okla.

Employees at Place Bell in Laval confirmed to Presse Canadienne that the popular group is in town to rehearse the show, which will stop in Montreal for two nights in June.

Several staff members wearing badges with the name of the group were seen. Some were more talkative than others, and none wanted to be identified.

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An artist's rendering of the claw at Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Photo courtesy of LLPA

Largest stage in history heads to Salt Lake City's Loveland Living Planet Aquarium

By Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

In June of 2009, Brent Andersen - the founder and CEO of the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Salt Lake City - headed over to Barcelona, Spain to see U2 kick off their 360° world tour. Long before he even got to his seat at Camp Nou stadium, he caught glimpse of the Claw, the single largest stage ever constructed. "I didn't even want to walk into the stadium," says Andersen. "I was kind of holding up the line because I just wanted to look at it and take it in. I didn't really view it as just simply a functional piece of architecture. For me, it was a dynamic sculpture. It was a work of art."

When the aquarium acquired nine new acres of nearby land for an expansion, Andersen's mind went back to the Claw and an article he read about how the group was selling it. Boston real estate firm Panther Management even launched a website to showcase how it could be used as a permanent concert stage, an exhibition hall, a theme park, a civic plaza or even a biodome. Andersen reached out and struck a deal to acquire the one used on the North American tour. (Another claw was used for the European dates and a third one appears to have been disassembled.) If all goes according to plan, it will be fully in place by June of 2019.

This past Sunday, U2's performance of "Get Out of Your Own Way" (that was prerecorded live on January 26 on a barge along the Hudson River), was broadcasted on the 60th annual Grammy Awards in New York City.

Rolling Stone Magazine praised the performance in which they quoted:

The proximity of the Statue of Liberty helped drive home the call-to-arms nature of "Get Out of Your Own Way," which includes dire warnings about the state of democracy. "The face of liberty's starting to crack," Bono sang. "She had a plan up until she got smacked in the mouth." Adam Clayton's chugging bass line was the engine pushing the song forward, while the Edge played his usual uplifting riffs on guitar and Larry Mullen Jr. added emphatic punctuation on his cymbals. At the end of the performance, Bono picked up a megaphone to announce, "blessed are the bullies, for one day they will have to stand up to themselves." The performance ended with the singer raising his megaphone in the air, striking a pose that mimicked the Statue behind him.

In addition to that appearance, Bono and the Edge appeared live on stage during Kendrick Lamar's opening medley.

The Los Angeles Times summed it up:

Ripping through a medley centering on his song "XXX" with help from U2's Bono and the Edge, not to mention Dave Chappelle, Kendrick Lamar opened the Grammys on Sunday with the type of live-wire intensity he's well known for -- but which rarely makes it onto network television.

Finally at the end of the show, Bono and the Edge presented the Album of the Year award to Bruno Mars for his album 24K Magic.

Though the band was not up for any nominations at this year's show, U2 are the only band in history to have won the most Grammy awards, winning 22 total awards (out of 47 nominations).

© 2018 U2Station.com

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