Friday, April 22, 2005

U2's April 21, 2005 Denver Show


That is the only word that fits. U2, after over twenty years solidly planted in the landscape of rock music, and for many of those years overlooking the landscape from a well-earned highest perch, still gives up the Big Show to its audience. I saw them first in 1992. In 2005, it’s still straight from their hearts to ours.

A few highlights worth mentioning from the 2nd Denver show at the Pepsi Center last night:

- Bono sounds great. He may not be able to fill the space created by his falsetto quite as fully these days, but he’s still powerful, emotive, and in tune. And he removed his glasses a number of times. Even though I knew he planned it, there was real candor in the gesture.

-Larry sang on a number of songs. As usual, his cadence was simply powerful and his technique simply perfect. What an incredible miking job on his set, too.

-Adam moved around more than usual, taking advantage of the elliptical outer stage.

-Edge was in top form, harmonics, watch cap, and all. I found it satisfying that both he and I were wearing black Chuck Taylors.

-"City of Blinding Lights" opened the show. A solid opener, the best song on the Vertigo album, I think. "Oh! you! look! so . . . beautiful tonight," sung large, with the lights pulsing, was cathartic. Then more rockers to get–and keep–people out of their seats: Elevation, Beautiful Day, Vertigo. My brother and I never sat down.

-"Bullet the Blue Sky" was longer than usual and took on a dark, Bluesy overtone that worked well. Edge improved on the solo in a fresh way.

-"Gloria," not heard live by most fans for many years, was incredible.

-During "Sunday Bloody Sunday," Bono dedicated the song as follows: "This is no longer about the orange, white, and green. Now it’s about the red, white, and blue."

-They played "Bad," which has been a rarity so far on the tour, and seemed to make the entire stadium levitate.

-"Running to Stand Still" was welcome, silent, wonderful.

-During "One," dedicated to Africa (what Bono called "a continent in flames"), the audience held their cell phones open with outstretched arms. Bono killed the lights, and it was like looking at stars from a mountain top, so many blue and white dancing points of light. The point–if suggested by anyone but Bono it would have been melodramatic–was that the Western world should work as one to save Africa now, before historians looking back write that we missed our chance. Effective. Look how bright we are as one.

-Bono on two occasions thanked Denver for being with the band through thick and thin, "even when we were at our most pretentious, our most artsy," he said. And he harkened back to the Red Rocks show captured on Live Under a Blood Red Sky.

-Ending with "40" was a great move. Each member of the band left one-by-one as the crowd chanted the chorus. Bono first, with a few nods and waves. Then Adam put his bass down, waved, and descended into bowels of the stage. When Edge left only Larry remained, gradually tapering off until he only played just the bass drum: Dum . . . da-dum-dum. Dum . . . da-dum-dum. Then he stopped and the crowd was a capella for about 30 seconds. Then Larry came back in full force for another minute. Being a drummer, singing along with just Larry playing was transcendental for me. Then he stopped, his techie took his earpieces, and he jumped off his throne and trotted down the ladder. The audience continued: "How long . . ." until the lights came on.

-Bono’s the only rock superstar who can say, "God is great!" at a sold-out stadium show and receive standing, roaring applause. Regardless of your views on God, that’s an incredible thing.

-Great show. Buy tickets from the scalpers right before it starts and save yourself 62 bucks off the face value like my brother and I did.


I waited patiently for the Lord.
He inclined and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit.
Out of the miry clay.

I will sing, sing a new song.
I will sing, sing a new song.
How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?
How long, how long, how long
How long to sing this song?

You set my feet upon a rock
And made my footsteps firm.
Many will see, many will see and hear.

I will sing, sing a new song.
I will sing, sing a new song.
I will sing, sing a new song.
I will sing, sing a new song.
How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?
How long to sing this song?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andy--Great analysis. . . looking forward to the shows in Detroit and Cleveland!

7:04 AM  

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