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[I]t was being billed as 'The Great Rock 'n' Roll Movie.' It was enough to make a lot of people throw up. And y'know what? It made me throw up too. -- Adam, on Rattle and Hum 

U2 marries religion and politics

- October 30, 2005

by Manuel Mendoza

Neon is back. U2 says so.

The world's biggest rock band – or at least the most revered – bathed American Airlines Center in shimmering light Saturday night. It was an arresting visual backdrop for the Irish quartet's soaring wall of crystalline sound.

U2's imminent arrival was heralded by the descent of red neon in the shape of chandeliers, and the sold-out crowd roared in anticipation. As the band took the stage, curtains of fluttering light surrounded them. The song, appropriately enough, was "City of Blinding Lights."

It was also a city of deafening, if state of the art, sound as the rockers "Vertigo" and "Elevation" followed. U2 then reached back to its 1980 debut album, Boy, for "The Electric Co.," confirming a motif that would continue throughout the show: the insertion of snippets of songs by other acts.

"The Electric Co." bled into the Who's "See Me, Feel Me." Before the set was over, Bono had referenced "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Old Man River" and Patti Smith's "Rock N Roll Nigger."

The show hit its stride with a round of political tunes mid-set, including the provocative "Love and Peace or Else" and the classic "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

For the former, drummer Larry Mullen played a tom-tom on the circular catwalk , and Bono donned a headscarf that read, "Co-Exist." He looked like an ersatz Steve Van Zandt. Images of the Jewish star, the cross, and other religious symbols played across the stage in drapes of light.

And during "Sunday Bloody Sunday," the singer brought a kid on stage and called him "a son of Abraham." Religion and politics: For U2, it's a natural marriage.

As is typical in rock 'n' roll, the band saved several of its signature tunes for the end of the pre-encore show: "Pride (in the Name of Love)," "Where the Streets Have No Name" and "One."

(c) Dallas Morning News, 2005.

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