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That's what a lot of the psalms feel like to me, the blues. Man shouting at God -- 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'" -- Bono



by Sean King

Scott Ellinwood's review got it right! U2 was fully in tune and played tight last night, but the set list was entirely predictable and unimaginative.

HIGHLIGHTS:
They got much more into "The Electric Co." than I would have thought. I liked the "End of the World-like" Edge/Bono confrontation at the tip of the ellipse.

"Still Haven't Found" had more feel than usual and I liked how Bono let the crowd sing several verses.

I'll never get tired of "Sunday Bloody Sunday." This anthem defines 1980s U2.

"Miss Sarajevo" was great, although Bono shouldn't be singing the Italian part. A video-taped overlay of Pavarotti should instead accompany him on the screens above, just as Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech buttressed "Pride in the Name of Love" on ZOO-TV. I thought the 'Happy Birthday' was well intended and spontaneous.

"Bad's" an awkward closer, but great to hear nonetheless.

The new songs all sounded great, in partiuclar "Miracle Drug."

Given it was Washington, Bono's politicking was appropriate and sufficiently bi-partisan.

LOW-LIGHTS:
The set list has gone beyond predictable. "Streets"; Pride"; "Bullet"; and even "One"; must be retired for a while. Witness the raw greatness last spring of "Gloria" and "Zoo Station" after not having heard those songs for several years.

The planned costume changes must stop! Say what you want about British rock band Oasis' various dysfunctions, but at their concerts, you at least get the feeling that you're seeing them just as they are. Even at NY's Madison Square Garden they show up in their regular jeans, t-shirts, jackets and just rock out.

I briefly stood behind the stage in the lower bowl last night and noticed (gasp!) a teleprompter! That's not very rock n' roll. Again, could you imagine Liam Gallagher digitally screening the words to "Wonderwall" or "Supersonic!?"

If you're going to bring songs back into the set, e.g. "Walk On"; please do it right. Give it the full delivery it deserves and not some two-bit acoustic rendition. This reminded me of the brief Bono/Edge acoustic resurrections of "A Sort of Homecoming" and "In God's Country" towards the end of 2001's Elevation Tour.

Bono has a good command of world affairs, although I disagree with him on several points. But, as powerful as "Bullet the Blue Sky" can be, will somebody please tell him there were never any U.S. fighter planes in Central America!?

SUMMARY:
U2's one of the greatest rock bands of all-time with a tremendous songbook and an incredible command of their own instruments and audience. They've done loads of great soundtracks and regularly "throw away" songs on b-sides that most bands would kill to be able to put on full releases.

But they're getting into a rote on-stage treadmill that does themselves and their own back catalogue a dis-service.

In 1987, Bono famously screamed out to the streets of San Francisco, "Rock n' Roll; Stop The Traffic!"

He should now say, "Solid, but predictable entertainment; HOV lane on the left!"






























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