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"It's always heartfelt, but he will intuitively go for the thing that works." — Edge, on Bono's stage antics



by nelrock

U2 didn't spend much time on the theater circuit in the 83-84 period before graduating to arenas but if you take a gander at those setlists - it's a tour de force of uptempo numbers that got young fans hopping (my big regret as a fan is I didn't attend any shows on the Unforgettable Fire tour).  So not only was it fitting that the band stepped onstage and ripped through three rockers off Boy but also put together a first set made up entirely of high energy numbers.  

a) I was very pleased that new E&I songs like Red Flag Day, Get Out of Your Own Way and American Soul fit right in with the older canons, b) very glad that they took the seats out on the floor so that the band could feed off the crowd, and c) was shocked at how many fans made up the crowd (my biggest fear was that attendance would be dominated by industry & celebs which would have dulled the intensity).  

Although sound was terrific in the 100 year old theater during the music, we up in the balcony couldn't make out a word of what Bono was saying when he spoke - but that's what the SiriusXM broadcast is for.  The big encore reveal of the multi-horned Sun Ra Arkestra during the 3-song ode to Rattle & Hum was a pleasant surprise but my only minor criticism was the downtempo of lyrics during When Love Comes to Town - I realize the singer isn't in his 20's anymore but that's a song that deserves vocals in the upper register.  Oh well, none of us are getting younger but the band was in terrific form and the energy in the room was high.  To rebound, I will say Bono absolutely killed it on Every Breaking Wave with just Edge backing on piano.  The vocals bounced off the ceiling like an opera house.  

I loved that the setlist didn't rely on anything off War or JT and AB was only repped by Wild Horses - just shows how deep the band can go into the repertoire over an 18-song set.  After 42 years, the band can still bring it.  My friend who brought me is hardly a fan but she was so impressed by her first U2 show - she is now wanting to listen to the E&I songs.  This is a night I won't soon forget.  Band and crowd melded perfectly on a special night.

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