Tuesday, September 13, 2005

U2 Last Night

I went to see U2 at the Air Canada Centre last night. Wow. I don't think I've ever stood so much at concert where I had a seat.

After playing Vertigo to kick it off, they launched into two straight songs from their first album, I Will Follow and The Electric Co. Through this three song blast they sounded absolutely incredible, everything was raw and frenetic. The Edge got a really jagged sound out of his rig for those songs. During Electric Co. Bono sang a line from Bullet With Butterfly Wings. That was unexpected since almost all of Bono's little quotes are from artists that predate U2 (The Beatles, Jimmy Cliff, et cetera). Here he was working part of a song from 1995 into a song from 1980.

Other notable setlist treats included In a Little While (for the first time this tour) and Fast Cars (not done live ever). Additionally they did a great version of Miss Sarajevo. When they start this song I was wondering if they'd just do Pavarotti's opera bit with some kind of pre-recorded loop (like Satellite of Love on the ZooTV tour). But no, Bono hauled off and sang the whole damn thing himself. That was something else. It was quite a contrast too, because the rest of Miss Sarajevo seemed deliberately minimalist. It was mostly The Edge on piano and Bono singing with this stripped down almost Lou Reed-like quality.

Parts of the show seemed to be deliberate homages to earlier tours. I'd say that was particularly true of the Zoo Station/The Fly bit. They were calling on the magic of ZooTV there. Bono was dressed up as a little dictator, complete with the Dr. Strangelove salutes. The stage itself was supposed to be those concentric Vertigo circles, but it also reminded me of an olive, Popmart anyone?

For the closer they did a wonderful acoustic-dominated version of Yahweh followed by 40, complete with the instrument switch between The Edge and Adam Clayton. They walked off the stage one at a time after that. First Bono, then Adam, then The Edge. Larry was left by himself to finish the show. Getting off the kit finally, he walked out to the middle of the stage and waved. It was nice to see the spotlights all on the guy who started this whole thing in the first place.