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I write all the time, and not just songs. I just like stringing words together. -- Bono


by Dr. Dave

First the context: I have been to 12 U2 shows dating back to Zoo Tour, including the first Slane castle show on the Elevation Tour where I was first row at the tip of the heart. Of the 12 shows I have attended, I have been on the floor, within rows of the stage for probably 9 of them. Last night I was behind the stage in section 227.

Overall impression: I thought the band's energy was very strong. As mentioned elsewhere, when Adam Clayton is leading the charge around the ellipse catwalk, you know you've got an energetic group. Bono always seems to have a full reservoir of energy, kind of like Mick Jagger, no matter how old he gets.


Specific Song Critiques: The songs, however, lacked the panache of other tours.

The opening of the show is very strong, though not quite up to the level of the Elevation or Zoo (unreal) tours.

Highlights:

Electric Company was very well done, as was the Billy Corgan snippets inserted (although I don't think most fans catch it).

An cat dubh/Into the heart are two of my favorite U2 songs -- especially Into the Heart. However, Bono really butchers this version, in my opinion. He truncates the lyrics drastically, essentially repeating over and over "Into the Heart . . . of a child." Still, I don't see why most people see this as a lowpoint of the show. Perhaps that's due to the reverence I have for these songs, but I didn't get the same sense that the crowd was really detached and disinterested. Even with the butchery, I love these songs and was glad to hear them.

Lowpoints:

The true lowpoint of the show is Miracle Drug. The song lacks energy and the crowd really isn't into it at all. It reminds me of how everyone thought Please was the second coming of Sunday Bloody Sunday, but I always thought it was a lowpoint in concert since few fans really enjoyed the song.

Bullet the Blue Sky and Running to Stand Still are shadows of their former selves in this set. Bullet is a completely truncated version -- without the dollar bills and fighter planes, this song is hardly worth singing. I do like the drum solo by Bono but still . . .

Running to Stand Still, in my top five U2 songs ever, is also sung at a very subdued level . . . the "hallelujah" chorus at the end is sung off-key and with less energy than in past tours. I love that chorus, but would like to hear in full force, or even the "still running" bit they used in some Zoo shows and Rattle and Hum.

Yahweh is another loser . . . I don't think it's strong on the album and even worse in concert.

Party Girl would have been nice, but let's face it, the girl did "falsely advertise" her skills as Bono warned prior to her playing and Bono didn't do the little interlude bit which is really the meat of the song for most people.


One note to all of those sitting in the rafters or the stands. By the end of the elevation tour, I was getting really tired of being on the floor near the stage. Many of the fans who are stage-side are truly out of control. They wholly personify the idea of "fan"aticism. Often, their screams of joy and anguish drown out any ability one has to hear the music. It reminds me of an interview I heard with Roger Waters (lead singer of Pink Floyd) commenting about the idiots who would scream about during their some of their quieter ballads, like Mother (one of my favorite Floyd songs). While the energy is sometimes a bit less in the rafters, you hear the music ten times better, without any question (I definitely have the experience to say this). SO, don't fret if you are in the stands, the show will be great, no matter where you are.

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