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"They printed out the lyrics 'Monday morning, eighteen years of dawning/I said how long' as 'Monday morning, knitting years of gold' — which is much better!" — Bono, describing a foreign translation of his "Out Of Control" lyrics



by wydok

This is a review of the May 22nd 2005 U2 show in Phiadelphia but a complete concert n00b. I have never seen U2 before, and the only other concerts I have seen I had seats. I was a GA and U2 virgin. :)


7:30, about 70 minutes after getting our spot on the rail, Kings of Leon took the stage. My wife hated them. I was a bit iffy about them. I though they played well, but the music was louder than the singer, I couldn't understand a single word he said ("I paint my fingers, I paint my toes, I let my furry nipples show"?). The bass player was pretty good, and I think the drummer had a ONE bracelet on. Besides that, I didn't care for them. Most of their songs sounded alike, and they looked like some odd combination of country/The Doors/Marilyn Manson. It was funny, seeing how small the drumset was compaired to Larry's in the background. I cheered anyway, to be nice. They seemed happy with the audience, which made me feel good. By 8:20, they were off stage. I was about to wait the longest 50 minutes of my life.

I didn't pay too much attention to the songs being played. I was watching Dallas, Stuart, and the other tech people checking equipment. I got to see a girl checking mics and the small drum (used during Love and Peace (Or Else) and Sunday Bloody Sunday) that was hidden in the secure area between us and the ellipse. The crowd perked up when they heard "Children, wake up! Hold your mistakes up!" (the openning lines of Wake Up! by Arcade Fire). Obviously, a lot of the floor has been to one of these concerts (or heard bootlegs like I did). Everyone sang through the "Oh oh oh oh oh oh"'s. The energy on the floor was enormous. Finally, after 16 hours of waiting, we hear the recorded voice of Bono: "Everyone! Everyone! Everyone!"

We saw Edge first, strapping in to his guitar on stage. Larry and Adam took their places, and finally, Bono emerged at the tip of the ellipse and the place caught on fire...

City of Blinding Lights: The perfect openning song for this tour. A love letter from the band to its fans. The blinding lights that used to accompany Streets now light up the floor with the beginning of this song. Confetti fills the air, falling over the lucky fans in the Bomb Shelter "Oh, you look so beautiful tonight!"

Vertigo: The riff is rocking, the floor hops up and down, singing along to the chorus. Bono falters on the last "feeeeel" before the middle eight (he doesn't even try). That's OK, we love you! I've been told that they do part of Stories For Boys (I've heard bootlegs too), but at this point my ears are ringing and I just can't make it out. Bono goes around the ellipse. I've never been this close to something this famous in my life.

Elevation: I was a bit iffy on this song through the first couple of bootlegs, but moving it to third really helps keep the pace and the audience is in to it. We break into the "ooo oooo oo"'s unprompted, and Bono looks impressed. "Only in Philly!" he says, near the end of the song. Larry singing was awesome! I'm glad he's singing. :)

Gloria: The crowd sings along, even though they don't know the words. The floor was into it, at least. Not sure about the seats.

The Ocean: They should have played The Electric Co., then Gloria, and skipped this. I'm sorry, but they just didn't connect with this song. It's digging a little too deep, I think.

Beautiful Day: Awesome song, with beautiful lighting. Others have complained that the ellipse reminds them too much of the Elevation heart, but I love it. How else will they connect with fans farther out on the floor? Enought about that. The lights around the ellipse were awesome. If memory serves, Bono got Adam to sing into his mic. First time I've heard Adam sing. Dan the Tattoed Man came up on stage. We met him in the GA line, and he seems pretty cool. Apparently this is his 5th time on stage (3 times during Elevation and twice this tour). There is a snippet of Ultraviolet (Light My Way!) which I barely hear. Bad ears!

Miracle Drug: I think of Sian and Terry Schiavo (I know, I know...) when I hear this song. In the intro, Bono talks about a pregnant woman they saw at the airport, but I didn't get to hear much about the details.

Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own: Such a sad and beautiful song. I doesn't feel right for me to sing along; this is a song to his father. I like the figure animated in the light beads. Bono looks so sad. His voice is spot on and crystal clear with "Do you hear me siiiiiinnnng...". He walks by us, and as he sings the "No Regrets" snippet, he changes one of the lines to "I want to die." :(

Love and Peace (or Else): The Boys rock the house. Peace signs wave all over the place. It was great to see Larry up at the tip on the drums (and singing, again!). Bono was really into this song, and goes wild on the drums at the end. One of my favorite songs on the album, just awesome.

Sunday Bloody Sunday: A good rendition, although I think Bono might have lost us somewhere talking about conexistance. It seems like he wanted us to respond (scream Coexist, maybe?), but quite frankly I couldn't hear a damn thing he was saying. We all did manage to scream "No More! No War!"

Bullet the Blue Sky: To be honest, I think I liked the John Lennon/gun version on the Elevation DVD better, but they did a bangup job. It was great to hear live. We also sang along with Edge's background vocals.

Running to Stand Still: Very sweet and sad. Edge was awesome on keyboards, Bono did well (as well as Bono does) on guitar. The harmoica was great. The audience did a great job with the "la la la la de dayeyay!"'s

Pride (In the Name of Love): A great performance of a song I don't love as much as I used to.

Where the Streets Have No Name: God enters the house. My favorite U2 song, and the one I was most excited to hear. While i love the red background with the blinding lights on the crowd, I think the flags were more appropriate for the context (being part of the Africa Set). Besides, we got the blinding lights earlier, so I'm good.

One: Bono talks a little about Live Aid and the One Campaign. He points out that Dikemebe Mutumbo is in the audience (DIkemebe helped launch the one campaign last year in Philly. He also used to play for the 76ers). The cellphones at the end of the song were just beautiful.

Break: Some people in the stands actually start getting up to leave. Oh, yeah of little faith!

Zoo Station: The Acthung Baby ("Mama!") slot machine comes on the screen, and we are back in business. Edge appears as if out of no where from the smoke and light, and starts his strut down our end of the ellipse. The song is tight, and Edge is rocking the house. Just fantastic.

The Fly: One of my favorites. It was good, but I ended up getting mesmoried by the words on the monitors and didn't pay close attention to the music. Silly!

Mysterious Ways: The audience is aswaying and away we go! Awesome song. According to one of the ladies behind me, the girl Bono picks from the Bonb Shelter was 16 and had gotten the tickets for her birthday. What a present. She's shy and dances a little, but wants a hug more than to dance. I can understand.

With Or Without You: Depending on who you talk to, this was a last minute addition to the set. Very good, with the possible exception of deafening feedback from Edge's guitar. Bono pops his earpieces out before the end.

Break 2: Again, people start to leave. *sigh*

They set Larry's keyboard and a mic up at the tip, but they come back down again sometime later. Hmmm, are they going to skip Yahweh? If so, my wife would be really upset.

All Because of You: I didn't really like this song on the album, but it is incredible live. Everybody sings along, the floor is hoppin!
As the song draws to a close, Larry's keyboard makes its appearance on the main stage. It's a bit of a disapointment they decided against going out to the tip, but they are going to play Yahweh, so what right do I have to complain?

Yahweh: God enters the house once again. I so love this song, especially live. I feel compelled to raise my arm high to the heaven, lift my face, and close my eyes as I sing praises to my Creator. I start to cry (as doew my wife), for I know the end is near.

"40": And so it ends. I half wanted to hear Bad, but my day would not be complete without a full version of "40". My hopes were confirmed as Adam and Edge strip guitars and change sides of the stage. This performace was the best I had heard (probably because I was there *grin*). Bono leaves, making the experience bittersweet. Every good thing must come to an end. Next Adam, and then Edge. We continue to sing as Larry drums, then stops. 1...2...3...4, and Larry's drum solos kicks back in, before he, to finally gets up and leaves with a wave. "How long, to sing this song?" How long, indeed.

Final Thoughts...

Bono's voice was not in top form, but I didn't notice any major foibales. He seemed to be sufferring, and drank a lot of water, but he was a constant showman.

I wasn't sure if it was me, or the sound. My left ear is still ringing and the right one (the bad one) is clogged. this is as of 6PM the next day. I have heard from others on that the sound wasn't top quality. The feedback during WOWY probably also affected my hearing as well.

I didn't talk enough about the lighting, or the band in general. Everyone was excellent. The music was top notch, and the lighting fit each song. It's hard to cover it all with each song though.

If you got this far, thanks for reading. :)

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