by Sacha Gera, National Post
Having had the privilege of attending both U2 concerts in Toronto over the last two nights, I felt that it was only appropriate to write a quick review.
I've been a U2 fan for a long time. It was my brother that got me into them at a young age. I remember him continuously playing Sunday Bloody Sunday over his ghetto blaster - a memory that always sticks with me. I didn't become a true fan of the boys until I was a bit older. U2 put out the Achtung Baby album in 1991, and I was mesmerized by the first single, The Fly. Ever since, my liking for U2 has gained through the years. In my opinion there are three clear demographics of U2 fans: the 80's lovers, the 90's slickers, and the Millennial techies. I would consider myself a second generation U2 fan and I am fonder of their post-Achtung Baby era.
So how was the concert in Toronto?
Do I even need to answer this question? They were amazing and both nights were different enough to make it worth seeing them two nights in a row. There is something magical about a U2 show. Perhaps it is the spiritual connection that they achieve in their show, or perhaps it's the adrenaline of having 62,000 fans around you with a mutual purpose and a mutual fascination for the world's biggest band?
Two Nights of U2 at Rogers Centre:
Attending with my wife, brother and sister-in-law we were sitting in the 200's on the first night and standing on the floor the second night. I definitely enjoyed the floor experience more.
The stage setup was the grandest I've ever seen - a $40M 'claw' that resembled a space shape. The stage spectacle was grand enough to awe the crowd, but more importantly it did not take away from the music or swallow the band. The screen is a true engineering marvel enabling 360 degrees of visual stimulation, and having the ability to expand, contract, and move during the different songs. What impressed me the most about both shows was the sound quality and Bono's voice; by far the best sound I've heard in any of their tours! Bono's voice was on fire and he was easily able to hit the tough notes - having the roof open at the dome probably helped out dramatically. An interesting observation that I made was that it was the first concert that I'd ever been to where my ears weren't ringing post-concert. I'm not sure how they achieved that but many others felt the same way; perhaps technology has come a long way? The band sounded more polished then ever - a virtually flawless show. It was apparent that the band had reached their stride in this latest tour.
The song selection varied by about three or four songs over the two nights. I always say that U2 is in a tough spot when it comes to song selection: they have fans ranging from 10 years of age to 50 and picking songs that cater to all demographics is no easy task. I would describe night one as a bit more mellow then night two. Bono seemed to be a bit more interactive with the crowd on night two bringing up a small boy during City of Blinding Lights. He sang the entire song to the little boy and even went for a jog together around the circular catwalk that surrounded the stage - a truly magical moment. He even called out to the onlookers viewing the concert from their upper floor condos that tower above the stadium, asking them to turn their lights on and off - it was unexpected but true to Bono's spontaneity and creativity.
On both nights, Bono praised Canada for our aid to the third world, and even gave a shout out to the Prime Minister for upping aid: "The world needs more Canadas." ~ Bono
Â© 2009 The National Post Company. All rights reserved.