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"I remember being transformed, as a teenager, by [Elton' John's] Yellow Brick Road record. I started to take an interest in choosing my own underwear. I wouldn't let my mom buy it anymore." — Adam

U2''s bombast and subtlety rock Delta Center Crowd

- December 18, 2005

by Dan Nailen

It sometimes seems that as long as U2 keeps touring, the state of rock music can't be too bad.
Saturday at the Delta Center, the long-running Irish quartet delivered the kind of inspirational, life-affirming set that only feels routine in this band's hands. Touching on all eras of its career, U2's energetic performance was only surprising in that it came at the end of nearly a year straight of touring in support of the band's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" album.
Opening with "City of Blinding Lights" and "Vertigo," both from that album, U2 set the stage for an intense evening as glaring lights filled the venue with color and giant video screens projected the band's images to the far reaches of the upper deck.
Bono was in a frisky mood from the start, racing around an oval ramp on the Delta Center floor, pulling a "beautiful Santa" on stage from the crowd during "Beautiful Day" and boasting a bit after singing the praises of opening act Kanye West as a "great American voice."
"We're just a young band," Bono announced in an interlude between "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and a verse of "In a Little While." "We're still getting started. We're still hungry."
U2 paid tribute to its influences several times, particularly The Beatles. "Vertigo" ended with a snippet of "She Loves You," while Bono picked up an acoustic guitar for "Norwegian Wood." "Beautiful Day" ended with a chorus of John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War is Over)."
The band's newest songs came to vivid life in the hands of guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr., much more enthralling than their recorded versions. "Original of the Species" was an epic ballad, while "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" was a poignant dedication to Bono's father.
"Sunday Bloody Sunday" turned into a benediction of sorts, with Bono saying the song, originally about the civil war in Ireland, now belongs to America.
"Co-exist," Bono intoned, pulling a small child on stage. "Co-exist. A beautiful, simple thought that's getting harder and harder to hold on to."
The remainder of the show alternated between moments of power and bombast and moments of subtle intensity. An explosive "Bullet in the Blue Sky" made way for the gentler "Miss Sarajevo." The churning "Pride (In the Name of Love)" and "Where the Streets Have No Name" led to the stunning close, "One."
Among the encore songs that left the audience spent and satisfied were "Mysterious Ways," "Until the End of the World" and "With or Without You."
... Transcribed by Roobah directly from the printed version of The Salt Lake Tribune, less last 3 paragraphs which reviewed warm up act Kanye West's performance at the same show.

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