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I don't do many interviews because it's all in the lyrics. -- Bono


by Eric D

I went to my first U2 show back in 1987, over 18 years ago. Since then I'd seen them 3 other times, but having missed their Elevation tour. Having heard so much positive about it, I resolved not to miss them the next time they came around.

There was a lot to live up to. The two shows I saw on the Joshua Tree tour were excellent, and the Zoo TV show was unparalleled, and perhaps my all-time favorite show from any band I've ever seen. Fortunately, I'm happy to say that the pricey show last night was worth every penny, and I left wondering how I might be able to finagle a chance to see them again on this tour.

The stage set was simple yet elegant - the elliptical runway is a great idea, and the drop-down light-screen gave the right amount of ambience needed for the various songs. I also liked the fixed cameras on the band members - in this day and age of fast edits and sensory overload, it was refreshing to see live shots that weren't all flashy and obnoxious, but still let you see what was happening from the upper level.

Lots of energy in virtually all the songs, and that was something I was paying close attention to, knowing how the band is getting on in years and in tours. I was especially impressed and pleased with Where The Streets Have No Name, which bristled with life and hope. For me, the emotional peak of the show was Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, which Bono sang with a clarity and a soaring vocal that I can't recall ever hearing him do before. It's such a beautiful song, I admit that I welled up inside before the song's climax.

It was also a thrill to hear so much old material, like all the stuff from Boy. It was played very energetically, especially Electric Co., and it also melded very easily (and surprisingly) with the newer songs. The songs played were generally grouped by album, but not slavishly so. The band did a great job making segues between songs which highlighted similarities in theme which I hadn't previously noticed.

If I had any quibbles, I guess I would have liked to hear Bono chat just a little more with the crowd, because he is quite charming when he extemporizes. I also would have liked to hear a few other songs which I think would have fit in well with the feeling of the show, like Walk On, or Crumbs From Your Table. But I understand that the show can't go on forever, and if they had played those, I'd probably complain about their not having played a couple other songs as well!

In any case, on its own merits, this was an excellent show, which my wife and I loved a lot. The lights, the songs, the band members, the excited crowd, the passion for peace, the creativity that went into the overall show design, and its self-coherence - all that made for one of my favorite shows ever.

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