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"Those early, early shows. There is nothing scarier than playing to a half-full bar of people who are really not that interested." — Edge

by Heather

"Look, it's Bono," said the attractive young man to noone in particular, and smiled at me. Hmm, coming as MacPhisto tonight was a good choice, it seems!
The excitement was palpable, the veritable circus of people swirling about trying to navigate their seats inside the enormous GM Place, normally a hockey stadium, but tonight the floor was circled by a giant pink heart filled with the press, the obsessives, the rich, and another MacPhisto (rah!). The rest of us climbed to our seats and peered down at PJ Harvey, already ranting onstage in a shimmering silver gown. She was actually quite grand and I didn't get bored once, but nevertheless I wanted to ask her what it's like to perform knowing that half the people are merely waiting for you to leave the stage. Ah, well.
Now, as you may have heard, the stage is much more simple for Elevation than it was for POPMart, so there was nothing to distract from watching U2 pour their hearts out to us. And boy, they did. The Edge looked fabulous-as-usual in jeans and that red "5" shirt, while Bono, resplendent in black leather, bounded up and down the sides of the heart touching fans' hands, smelling (and munching on!) the flowers they offered, and dancing around in a silver cowboy hat he was given. This band knows how to WORK IT.
But first, Bono wanted to ask us something. "We played our first show in Vancouver 20 years ago this week...at a club, I think it was called the Commodore Ballroom. Is it still here?" Cue the entire crowd screaming, "YES!"
Opening with new track Elevation, it quickly became clear just how energetic the band was going to be for the night. The were absolutely joyful, playing an enormous setlist that was spread fairly evenly between old, new, and soundtrack material.
Beautiful Day
Until the End of the World
New Year's Day
Stuck in a Moment
Even Better Than the Real Thing
New York
I Will Follow
Sunday Bloody Sunday/Get Up, Stand Up [Bob Marley]
Sweetest Thing
In a Little While
Ground Beneath Her Feet [Salman Rushdie]
Where the Streets Have No Name
Mysterious Ways
The Fly

Bathed in blue light, Bono got on his knees for Bad at the point of the heart, a stunning image I won't soon forget. The beginning of Bullet the Blue Sky has also got something new - footage of Charlton Heston, NRA-phile, talking about how "guns are good in the hands of the right people", followed by footage of a young child picking up her father's gun. Frightening.
But the best part was, after this exhausting set, we got not one, but TWO encores:
Encore 1: Bullet The Blue Sky, With Or Without You, Pride (In the Name of Love)
Encore 2: One/Wake Up Dead Man, Walk On.
Every song was truly exhilerating live, and as this is the best concert I've ever been to, I have to give it 5 of 5 stars. :)

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