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"I don't know what Zoo TV is, so I guess it must be art." — Bono

by Crewboy

Meh.  Just Meh.

U2 tours are normally like the Olympics.  It comes only once every four years.  This current tour is the band's THIRD North American Tour in 4 years.  The fatigue is starting to show.

2015 saw Innocence & Experience blow the roof off The Forum.  2017's Joshua Tree tour was essentially a "greatest hits" tour that came across like the tour Live Nation forced them to do after cutting i+E short to finish Songs of Experience.

It's now 2018 and the Experience + Innnocence Tour is finally a reality.  The band clearly feels this being their third tour in four years, they have some wiggle room with the setlist.  Out are the warhorses fans come to expect to hear in a U2 show.  Not since ZooTV has the band produced a show that focused so much on new material.

That's where the problem lies in this show.  The show is so dependant on video screens and a choreographed story, there is no room for spontaniety.

The show starts with Bono going right into Experience's opening track Love is All We Have Left.  Beautifully staged and sung.  The message is clearly being sent that this show is going to be a theatrical one.  A blistering Blackout gets the audience going followed by Lights of Home.

The problems begin right after Beautiful Day when the band literally repeats the entire "Innocence" sequence from the 2015 tour.  It now feels as if the band is phoning it in for the next six songs.

The recycling continues with the Influx remix of Elevation to begin the second half of the show.

Much has been said of MacPhisto returning on this tour.  The biting wit is there but something feels like it's missing.  It feels more like part of the act as opposed to Bono becoming this character.

On the 360 Tour, it was Ultraviolet that fans were clamoring to hear played live.  This tour it's Acrobat.  The band plays it, however it comes at the expense of show flow as it kills the mood of what was already a tepid audience.

A rousing Pride whips everyone back into a frenzy.  American Soul maintains that momentum which leads into a celebratory City of Blinding Lights.

Encore time comes.  Where most U2 tours have audience friendly songs in the encore, only One is the recognizable song.  It leads into Love Is Bigger Than Anything In It's Way which simply has the wrong placement.  It probably would work better in the main set placed after Pride.   It also doesn't help that people in the audience at this point are commenting not on what the band is playing but rather what they havent.

13 closes out the show using symbolism from the Innocnece tour.

The show doesn't end on a whimper or a bang.  It just ends leaving the audience with a "It's over?" look on their faces.

U2 fans are used to the first few shows being trial and error as songs are shifted, added or dropped while the band locks down a running order that flows.  It normally would not be a big deal but given the prices being charged on this tour, an under rehearsed U2 still trying to "figure it out" simply is inexcusable.

Hopefully as the tour progresses, the show will get stronger.

But for now it's still clearly a work in progress.

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