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"We wanted to make a record that would actually feel like your life." — Bono, on Pop

by Chris

Another stellar performance by the worlds biggest band.

U2 are back on tour and still as magnetic and spectacular as ever. I wont repeat their song list since it can be found on the main tour page. Instead Ill share my thoughts and experiences on the night.

First, to quote Bono, midway through the set as he looked around at the crowd: Wow. He seemed to be genuinely caught up in the energy rising from the audience. I had the great fortune of the getting best spot in the house; inside the bomb shelter elipse, dead center, front of the stage. For any of you that were at the show, you probably saw him take my U.S. flag and hold it during Pride and Where the Streets... --What a thrill.

Bono looked and sounded very good. Not great, but very good. All the concerts, the albums, the appearances, and of course, the years have taken a toll (particularly on that wonderful voice), and for the first time, I could actually sense the rocker getting old. His voice is really straining, and in some cases, virtually unable to reach some of those intense levels anymore. Almost hurts to say that, folks. This is coming from a fan that first saw them in high school on their Boy tour in Washington DC in 1981! But I wont criticize U2, no matter what, and especially for something (in this case, time) that they cannot control. They are still as talented and exciting to watch as they were 20+ years ago. Larry looked amazing as usual. Ill be 40 next year, and this guy looks younger than he did in the 80s! The Edge was in his usual steady, focused zone, and Adam looked completely at ease, strolling around, jamming, regularly making eye contact, and giving the audience that warm, charming, rockstar grin.

As for the set, it was nice to hear Gloria, The Electric Co., and 40 again after such a long hiatus. 40 has to be the best concert-closing song ever (even though they practically had to start it over). The new songs were okay, but nothing more. (This might offend some of the more blindly loyal fans that instantly deify anything U2 records. Soprry, but that aint me. I love this band, but most of their recent stuff just does not qualify for elite status. Id rather hear Bad than Love and Peace or Else or All Because of You a-n-y day. But, they are promoting their new album, so the new stuff is to be expected.) I lamented to my wife on our way home that my ultimate show would be for them to perform a Greatest Hits tour. Something like that. And sorry again, but only maybe 1 or 2 songs from How To Dismantle... would make it. Maybe. For that matter, only 2 or 3 from All That You Cant... would make it as well. Rather, it would include primarily songs from The Joshua Tree, Unforgettable Fire, and even Achtung Baby, Rattle and Hum, War, and Boy. But I digress...
The concert in general was a blast. Among the highlights: Bono taking my flag (and giving it back of course), the Mexican guy to my right getting pulled on stage to translate some words into Spanish, the girl to my left sticking her hand out and getting to strum Bonos guitar (!), Bono banging Larrys bass drum, Larry playing the mini-keyboard, etc. Theres always something in it for everyone, and as others have mentioned, itll be interesting to see how theyve progressed as they get deeper into the tour. (Oh yeah, a particular memory was one of the stage hands giving me the set list after the show! I mustve had 10 or 20 people photograph it! Pretty cool.)

Final thought (has nothing to do with the band): It was a little frustrating and tedious putting up with the paparazzi. Jeezus H... Everyone and their brother had a camera (phone or regular 35mm), and were clicking away CONSTANTLY. Hey Im all for getting a few good shots of the band (especially when youre super close!), but one girl next to me mustve taken at LEAST 5-6 shots every single time they played a song!! With 22-23 songs in the set, you do the math. This chick was leaning, elbowing, reaching, etc. just to get that perfect shot. Pretty ridiculous, imho. I mean, youre there to see, hear, and experience the show, right? Buy a friggin photo album or become a photographer, but keep the Lebowitz contortions to a minimum.

Well, thats about all I got. Im exhausted and hoarse, but with a huge smile on my face. Good luck with the rest of the tour boys! Good luck and God bless.

Side note: Kings of Leon were pretty good! Not much of a stage presence, and they are all in dire need of a large Dagwood sandwich, but overall theyre very talented and have a pretty good sound. Most people around me didnt care for them much, but obviously U2 sees something in them, so they were worth a listen. I liked em. Might even get their CD.

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