On Friday night I sat behind the stage, which isn’t quite as good as back stage, for the U2 show in Minneapolis. I first saw U2 in 2001 during the Elevation Tour when I was just becoming a fan. This time around I think I can say I’m more than a fan.
U2 has become far and away my favorite band. And I didn’t realize it until Friday night, but many of their songs have become worship music for me. I found myself pumping my fist along to “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” but also looking past the rafters and raising my hands to God during “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” The concert was more of a spiritual experience than a musical one. I think Tim said it better than I can.
The band seemed to be totally on. I’m probably a bad judge of that, but Bono seemed as giddy as a school boy.
Here’s what they played:
“City of Blinding Lights”
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
“Sometimes You Can’t Make it on Your Own”
“Love and Peace or Else”
“Sunday Bloody Sunday”
“Bullet The Blue Sky”
“Pride (In the Name of Love)”
“Where the Streets Have No Name”
“With or Without You”
“All Because of You”
“Crumbs From Your Table”
It’s quite a mix of songs, heavy on the Atomic Bomb material, but it is the Vertigo tour. Overall I thought it was a good mix of music from across their career.
Bono didn’t pull in as many other songs as he usually does, tacking on extra bridges or verses here or there from different songs. I love it when he does that, so I was a bit bummed. He did finish “Yahweh” with an “Old Man River” bit and I think it was after “Sunday Bloody Sunday” he spoke a line from “Please” and then a few from “The Hands that Built America” and then he went into “when Johnny comes marching home, hurrah, hurrah” (I don’t know what song that is).
“Elevation” had a pretty sweet slow intro. “The Electric Co.” was awesome. It’s still amazing to me that songs from their debut album can still sound so incredible. I’d love to get a live version of that one. “Miss Sarajevo” was a show-stopper. Bono sang the part intended for Pavaratti and it was unbelievable. That guy can sing. “All Because of You” was the trash can song I know and love and “Crumbs From Your Table” was a debut performance (they’ve never played it live before) and it rocked. They cranked up the guitar and it sounded a lot better than the album version.
There’s always stuff you wish they played (“Bad,” “Discoteque,” “Fast Cars” (Atomic Bomb b-side they debuted a few nights before), “Walk On,” “Out of Control,” “Please,” “Mysterious Ways,” “All I Want Is You,” etc.) but you could play that game all night.
Our seats were directly behind the stage in the upperdeck, though thankfully in the third row, row C, which was much better than row Q for the Elevation Tour. We had a great view of the back of everyone’s head. But the open stage design really helped. They had these sheets of lights that they’d roll up and down to give a cool backdrop, as well as lights around the circles of the stage, which they’d use as chasers or full circles or whatever. I was amazed at how many different visuals they’d use. They didn’t even have to use much video.
And the circle stage design is still so cool. It’s not as good as the heart from the Elevation Tour, but the idea of having a walkway out into the crowd is just awesome. Sadly, Bono didn’t run any laps this time around.
I attended the show with my pregnant wife (our baby’s first concert!) and I think that gave it special meaning. So many songs resonate with having a child (“like the top of a newborn baby’s head”). That and the fact that many of the songs have a spiritual significance for me just made it a cool experience. At the beginning of “I Still Haven’t Found” Bono made a comment about having church. In a very real way that’s what the concert felt like for me.
Of course I also brought my camera and snatched a few pics and some video (shh, don’t tell). If I can figure out how to make the video files smaller I might share a few of those.