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"[M]usic has lost the personality of human beings and musicians. It's got so shiny that it's as if there's a surface of Formica over it. And it's something that doesn't let you in." — Edge



by Shawn Bison

I once read a review from the PopMart era, featuring U2 manager Paul McGuinness. He stated that at some point during the 1st leg of the tour, he suggested to the band that they would have to revamp their setlist to include more classics, like New Year's Day, Bad, All I Want Is You, Still Haven't Found, and others. Granted, U2 was on a more ambitious tour than ZOO TV and the Pop album didn't bode well with critics and so-called "fans" (call them what you will --- but to me, a "fan" is someone who DOES like Pop; because it's brilliant). Anyway, the set began to really change, I think, at end of the 1st leg and throughout the 2nd.

Flash-forward to Manchester, England, nearly a decade later. U2 is at the top of their game, they're playing the best they have ever played in their lives behind, arguably, their greatest album, and are in the midst of their most artistically intelligent and most important tour ever. Here we see a slight change in the set. Don't get me wrong, setlist changes are good; experimentation is good. But I can't help but wonder if Paul McGuinness took Bono & The Edge aside one evening and said "you know, lads, maybe it's time to bring back some classics like All I Want, With Or Without You, I Still Haven't Found, etc." However, another part of me can't believe, that at this stage in their careers, the band would adhere to the requests of their beloved manager to play tired old songs that really have no place in the thematic scheme of Vertigo 2005. It's disappointing to see a show ground to a halt with the coupling of Stilll Haven't & All I Want. The shows have been full tilt every night this tour, and these songs are great -- but not full tilt-ers. Bono mentions in "Bono: In Conversation" that the relationship between the band and McGuinness is unlike any other... borderline spiritual. So I imagine they take his suggestions NOT with a grain of salt.

The show tonight was a splendid one, nonetheless. I enjoyed the view from the upper-level. The stage and production look amazing, thanks to Willie Williams... a genius.

Can't wait to get out of Dodge. I've never been to London --- here I come!

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