Fans found what they were looking for in U2
Archived / November 2, 2009
By Michael O’Morrow
U2 rolled into Vancouver on Oct. 28 and performed for a sold-out crowd at BC Place Stadium. It was the biggest concert event of the year in the city.
Having sold more than 145 million albums worldwide and winning 22 Grammy Awards, U2 ranks with the giants of rock and roll, and despite some unevenness throughout the performance, those who attended the concert did not leave disappointed.
Touring to promote their newest release “No Line on the Horizon”, the 360 Tour is a grand spectacle of sound and visuals. The stage design, looking like a giant claw, allowed for seating all around the stage, giving the audience a full 360 degree experience. Those who were willing to pay the extra dollars to be on the floor got closer to the band as the members walked along moving bridges connecting the main stage and a circular catwalk closer to midfield. The sound was sharp and clear, lacking the echo or delay often heard in large venues.
The members of the band have aged remarkably well. Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. perform with the excitement and energy of men 20 years their junior, and demonstrate why they have managed to survive through changing musical tastes and trends.
The band opened with three new songs, “Breathe”, “Get Your Boots On” and “Magnificent”. It was a slow start to a highly anticipated concert. Once the band began to play “Mysterious Ways” the show got going. “Beautiful Day” had everyone forgetting the rain outside, and the excitement reached new heights on “Elevation”. Songs like “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday” showed the band’s gift for crafting catchy hooks.
The band did perform unnecessary song snippets from other artists. Hearing parts of “Blackbird”, “Stand By Me”, and “Amazing Grace” added nothing to the experience. There were well-known U2 songs – such as “Desire” and “Pride (In The Name Of Love) – that were left off the set list that could have been performed instead.
Bill and Melinda Gates attended the concert on what was Bill’s 54 birthday. Bono lead the crowd of 60,000 in singing “Happy Birthday” to the richest man in the world.
There was an expected political element to the show. Bono is an outspoken and celebrated activist, and should be respected for the effort he gives to his many causes. He made particular reference to the country of Burma, and the house arrest of a Nobel Peace Prize winner who advocates democracy in the country. But how many audience members knew who Aung San Suu Kyi was before the show, and how many will remember after? To many, the political feel adds to the show. The rest are too drunk to care.
The encores included great performances of “One”, “Where The Streets Have No Name” and “With or Without You”. After slightly more than two hours, the concert came to a quiet close with another new song called “Moment of Surrender.”
Based on the feel from the crowd after the show, U2 won’t be surrendering the title of biggest band in the world any time soon.