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"I don't doubt God. I have firm faith absolutely in God. It's religion I'm doubting." — Bono



by David Miller

U2 show's over! The details:

We began with a T-shirt catastrophe. The "large" tour shirts appear to fit length-wise, but the arms were too tiny. I couldn't sit in my seat knowing that $35 got me a shirt fit for a woman, and not a he-man such as myself. The friendly folks at Glendale Arena refused to let anyone back outside, so I had to go around to different merchandise vendors inside the arena and disrobe in public to get the right shirt.

I should also mention how the fine folks at Glendale Arena charge $8 a beer, $12 a martini, $4 for a bottle of water, and $6 for a bag of peanuts that would be $1 in a 7-11.

Kings of Leon were a crummy opening act, but really, all the acts I've seen open for U2 were so-so. PJ Harvey, Smash Mouth... I can't remember who opened for them in Kansas City. Was it Garbage? See how memorable these bands are. Fun Lovin' Criminals did it in 1997 and that was cool, but since then they've fallen off the face of the earth.

Lest I sound overly negative, U2 put on a great show and I was especially pleased with the more recent material-- "City of Blinding Lights," "Vertigo," "Elevation," and a hands-down stunning "Love and Peace or Else" were my favorites, they had some incredible visuals to match the music. "Elevation" had an extended intro that was just The Edge and Bono, running through the first verse without Adam and Larry, pumping up the audience for the release. "The Fly" was a funked-up version-- I kind of preferred the "Elevation" tour version with its melancholy intro and heavy metal guitar going throughout the verses. "Myserious Ways" is one of my top 5 U2 songs so I'm glad to have gotten that.

I'm going to hand the MVP trophy to "Love and Peace or Else," where Larry bangs this military drum at the edge of the circle and The Edge throttles his guitar like a killer. It was nice and loud and had a lot of energy to it.

I am probably in the minority when it comes to a U2 concert, but I prefer to hear newer material. I've just seen/ heard so many live versions of "Pride in the Name of Love" or "Bullet the Blue Sky" or "New Year's Day" or "Bad" that I feel like it's time to pack those tracks up. Or alternate them instead of playing them all. But as I said, I'm sure I'm in the minority as something like "New Year's Day" is a huge crowd pleaser.

The set list was:

1. City of Blinding Lights
2. Beautiful Day + one verse from In God's Country
3. Vertigo + one verse from Stories for Boys
4. Elevation
5. Gloria
6. The Ocean (A song I dislike enough that it's not even on the 200+ U2 songs I have ripped to my Dell DJ, and not really a crowd pleaser-- the odd duck out of the show)
7. New Year's Day
8. Miracle Drug (with an extended intro about how great Phoenix is, it's "two Americas"-- the Native American side, and these "fantastic buildings made out of sand-- this city of glass rising from the desert." I know some of the skyscrapers look cool, but anyone who's been around knows Phoenix is mostly strip malls.)
9. Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own
10. Love and Peace or Else
11. Sunday Bloody Sunday
12. Bullet the Blue Sky
13. Running to Stand Still (or, as a drunk lady to my right calls it, Mothers of the Disappeared)
14. Bad
15. Pride in the Name of Love
16. Where the Streets Have No Name
17. One
18. The Fly
19. Mysterious Ways
20. All Because of You
21. Yaweh (The Edge playing acoustic, Larry on a small keyboard)
22. 40

There's a huge stretch between "Love and Peace or Else" and "All Because of You" which I would have liked something from the last 2 albums, like "Walk On" or "Crumbs From Your Table." Both would've fit in very nicely with the human rights angle being pushed with all the pro-Africa, anti-poverty stuff being said by Bono during "...Streets..." or "One" or "Pride."

We didn't get some of the more unusual tracks of this tour-- "Electric Co." or "An Cat Dubh" or "Zoo Station"-- but we got "Bad" and "Gloria" and "Elevation." Not a bad trade.

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