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September 26, 2005

The best weekend ever part one: U2

This weekend was quite possibly the best weekend I have ever had, and it all began with the U2 concert Friday night.

u2vert.jpg

It is hard to put into words the emotions one goes through when watching U2. For one thing, there are the songs, all those famous songs I grew up listening to. "Where the Streets Have no Name," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "Pride" ... to finally hear them sung live was awesome, in the truest sense of the word. But hearing them sung live isn't the half of it. There were over 20,000 people in the Target Center on Friday night all in tune with each other. I can't aptly describe the feeling of singing along with so many people, seeing so many smiles, tears, jubiliation, and focus. It was almost a spiritual celebration, and I wish church could be this fun every Sunday.

Here is what they played:

City of Blinding Lights
Vertigo
Elevation

The concert opened with what probably is the best song on the album: "City of Blinding Lights." What an awesome beginning. Four huge curtains of lights lit up the stage and the surrounding area and ticker tape flew from the rafters. The band then went immediately into "Vertigo" and the swirl shaped stage lit up in waves of lights flying around the perimeter. During the chorus flashing lights pulsed throughout the arena and I must admit it almost put me into an epilectic seizure. Curt and I were in heaven.

Then, the band started into "Elevation." Bono noticed a woman in the audience holding a sign that said, "Bono, I lost 75 lbs. to dance with you." So, he brought her onto stage and did a little swaying with her. Together they sang the first verses of "Elevation" with only the Edge accompanying, and when the time came for the word "elevation" to be sung Bono turned to the audience who all screamed "Elevation!" I can't tell you how awesome that was.

The first three songs were spectacular. The audience was quite literally in a frenzy of aniticipation.

Electric Co.
The Ocean
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Beautiful Day // Many Rivers to Cross (snippet)

Then U2 went old school with the little known Boy gem "Electric Co." This is probably my favorite song off of this album so I sang along as loud as I could. Then came a short version of "The Ocean" which was a little strange since I couldn't make out a lot of what Bono was saying. But I'll cut him some slack for that since they immediately went into my favorite U2 song of all time "I Still Haven't Found." Wow. This was one of the more emotional parts of the entire evening. Such a beautiful song. At the end, Bono again turned towards the audience as we all sang over and over again "But I still haven't found what I'm looking for." It was beautiful. Bono himself seemed to be touched.

This was followed by "Beautiful Day" ... and I know what you are thinking right now, "What a freaking good concert so far!" I know it! Can you believe I was there to witness all of this? Anyway, after the song Bono sang a little snippet of "Many Rivers to Cross" and he made a big deal of the fact that the Mississippi River starts in Minnesota and flows down to New Orleans. The crowd revelled in this connection as Bono said, "When America is hit, you see the best come out in Americans." This got a huge cheer.

Miracle Drug
Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own // Black Hills of Dakota (snippet)


Bono began "Miracle Drug" with a story of how the Edge comes from the future. He explained that the Edge's brain is so advanced that they made a stop at the Mayo Clinic before coming to Minneapolis so that the doctors could study it. While there, the doctors asked the Edge, "How is the future?" and the Edge replied, "It is better!" Again, the crowd roared. Then Bono dedicated the song to all the doctors, nurses, and people in the health profession that work so hard to save people's lives.

This was followed by an extremely emotional version of "Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own" with Bono repeatedly looking towards the heavens presumably towards his father, whom he dedicated the song to. After this song again Bono sang a short snippet of another song which I guess he sings regularly at concerts. Only he probably knows its significance.

Love and Peace or Else
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Bullet the Blue Sky
Miss Sarajevo

This was followed by the "anti war quartet" and one of the more politically charged segments of the concert. All of these songs are highly anti war, and Bono used his platform to try to convince the audience of the futility of this kind of struggle. Bono also put on a bandana that spelled "COEXIST" with the Muslim crescent moon for the "C," a star of David for the "X," and the Chrstian cross for the "T." He sang "we are all sons of Abraham." While the message was clear, it was depressing to think how hard this sentiment actually is to implement.

"Miss Sarajevo" was another highlight of the show. Bono explained the background of the song (a beauty contest in war ravaged Sarajevo where the contestants dared the snipers to kill them) and said that it was written for Pavarotti to sing. The crowd cheered and Bono said jokingly "He's not here, but I've been putting on a little bit of weight." Bono sang the first verses and then sang the operatic verses himself, almost as well as Pavarotti (almost). The song ended with the screens displaying the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights." It was very emotional and powerful.

Pride (in the name of love)
Where the Streets Have No Name
One

This flowed into the next triumvirate of classics and the crowd really reacted favorably. "Pride" ... what a phenomenal song in concert. The crowd was literally screaming the chorus. And then the first strains of "Streets" started humming through the Edge's guitar. Wow. What a phenomenal concert song. The crowd on the floor was bouncing during the whole song and Bono was in rare form as he danced around the stage. Seriously, how would you like to be Bono? To have thousands of people focusing all their attention on you, loving you, practically worshipping you? What he has done with his star power in terms of debt relief and the awareness of AIDS in Africa is truly awe-inspiring. And then, how would you like to have created something, like "Streets," that will go down in history as one of the greatest rock songs, the greatest pieces of musical art, of all time? Anyway, that is the kind of stuff that runs through my head in moments like these...

The concert ended with "One" and again the crowd sang along. It was a good ending, that, of course, we knew really wasn't the end.

Encore

The First Time
Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
With or Without You

I love "The First Time." It was nice to hear them play it. And while "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" isn't really one of my favorites, it is definitely a crowd favorite. These two songs were also done almost all accoustically with the Edge and Bono making their way out into the heart of the audience.

"With or Without You" provided Adam Clayton an opportunity to shine as his bass kicked in the familiar refrain. Again, this has never been one of my favorites, but to hear and see it in concert was definitely something special.

Encore 2

All Because of You
Crumbs From Your Table
Yahweh

Three more songs from "Atomic Bomb" one of which I really could have done without. Really, the only misstep of the entire show was "Crumbs From Your Table." This was the concert debut of this song, and I couldn't stop thinking to myself, "Why are you singing this song! Please don't sing this song!" Really, I would have much preferred, "Until the End of the World" but I guess I'll cut U2 some slack considering how awesome the rest of the show was. This was followed by "Yahweh" in another accoustic performance from the Edge. "Yahweh" is another one of my favorites off of the new album so I was thrilled to hear them play it. During the song the screens and curtains of lights shimmered with religious imagery including, of course, a dove. It was obvious the message of the show was "peace."

Encore 3

Vertigo

At this point I was begging for "40." What more perfect way is there to end a show besides "40?" Especially considering the subject matter of the song? Well, I didn't get "40" but I got another awesome rendition of "Vertigo." I don't know why Bono wanted to play this song again, but after "Yahweh" he darted around to each band member and you could tell he was trying to convince them to play another song. "Vertigo" was the choice and it was nice to see the awesome light show for this song again.

Did Bono want to play us another song because we were such an awesome audience? Or did he play us another song because they were only in Minneapolis for one night? Who knows, but I thank him for it from the bottom of my heart.

So, that was the U2 concert. By far the best concert I have ever attended. It was a long drought between concerts (3 kids kind of sap the time and money for these kinds of things). It was emotional, powerful, nostalgic, spiritual, meaningful ... it was fantastic. I will never forget it.

Don't you feel bad for missing it?

And that wasn't even the end of my fantastic weekend! More on that later...

Posted by snackeru at September 26, 2005 8:47 AM | Life

Comments

The Billy Idol show sounded better...

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at September 26, 2005 10:33 AM

A nice review. I enjoyed reading it. Your comment on "Crumbs From Your Table" got me to ponder, what is the worst U2 song of all time? I know, I know...sacrilege...but everyone has a song they hate by a group they love. For whatever reason, I cannot tolerate "Bullet the Blue Sky". I can't put my finger on just why other than Bono is much too preachy on it and the line "Well the God I believe in doesn't need any cash, Mister" just rubs me the wrong way. Again, can't explain it.

What is your choice for worst U2 song?

Posted by: Brian Maas at September 26, 2005 10:59 AM

I am also not a big fan of "Bullet" and I don't understand how it has survived as a concert staple for so long. Maybe the Edge likes to play it?

But my least favorite U2 song is either "Love is Blindness" or "Acrobat" off of Achtung Baby. Such a good album and then they end it with such sucky songs.

Posted by: Shane at September 26, 2005 11:08 AM

Well, there you go. I actually quite fancy "Love is Blindness". I love the beat.

Posted by: Brian Maas at September 26, 2005 11:17 AM

Is that an actual picture you took from the concert you went to or another one from the web?

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at September 26, 2005 2:10 PM

I love the new twins stadium pic you added to your revolving banner. What is it watercolor? Where'd you find it?

Posted by: vince at September 26, 2005 2:18 PM

This is a picture from the Chicago show of a couple of nights before. Unfortunately, I took the warning on my ticket seriously that said "No cameras." So, I didn't bring mine. I wish I had. I saw a lot of flashes throughout the arena.

The new Twins stadium picture comes from the Twins own web site. Here is a link to the whole picture:

http://minnesota.twins.mlb.com/min/images/ballpark/ph_gallery10_667x500.jpg

It does a really nice job of showing just where the stadium will sit and what it will look like

Posted by: Shane at September 26, 2005 2:38 PM

Oh, and I forgot to mention another funny thing that happened at the concert. I can't remember when Bono asked this, but at the end of one of the songs Bono asked the audience, "How many of you have been to Dublin?" and the crowd roared. Bono lauged and said, "That is an outright lie! You are all liars!" The crowd, of course, cheered again. Good stuff...

Posted by: Shane at September 26, 2005 2:42 PM

I have to admit, I haven't listened to a whole U2 album since Achtung Baby, but in the 80's and 90's, the worst U2 song has to be "When Love Comes to Town" on Rattle & Hum.

Posted by: Chapman at September 26, 2005 4:57 PM

They should have played Wild Horses.

Seriously, I saw U2 about twelve years ago when they toured in support of Auchtung, Baby. Fantastic show. I was physically worn out at the end of the show.

Posted by: SBG at September 27, 2005 7:48 AM

Well put SBG! It was physically exhausting. How often can you say that after seeing a concert? I've heard Radiohead concerts have the same effect...

Posted by: Shane at September 28, 2005 9:27 AM

What I will remember most about the concert is the bond Bono created between himself and the audience. He was talking to us all the time, while the entire band made it feel like we were seeing the best individual concert on the tour. It felt as though they played their hearts out for us; and if they really didn't, they made it look good.

I agree that "I Still Haven't Found..." was a highlight. I have never had the connection with that song that you have, Shane, but for some reason the words "I believe in the kingdom come, when all the colors will bleed into one" really hit me hard that night. "Miss Saravejo" was also outstanding, even though I had only heard it for the first time an hour or so before the concert. And of course "Vertigo" stole the show, twice!!

I also loved how they played all of their anti-war songs in a row, closing with "Miss Saravejo" and the scenes from the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Very powerful, although I would have liked to have heard "New Years Day" instead of "Bullet the Blue Sky." I was also amazed at the reaction I felt to "Sunday Bloody Sunday." While it is certainly an anti-war song, the Irish nationalist in me wanted nothing more than to scream "Brits Out!" I had never heard "The First Time" before, but thought it was done well enough that I'll have to go buy that album. I have purposefully not purchased Zooropa, but I will change that soon.

All in all, an absolutely wonderful concert, and by far the highlight of my concert-going history. I can't wait to see them during the tour for their next album!

Curt in Grand Forks

PS--The worst U2 song of all time has to be "Lemon." Even thinking of it makes me want to hurl...

Posted by: Curt Hanson at September 28, 2005 6:17 PM

A little "Hello" from France...
Vive les U2, je les adore ! (I love them :))

Posted by: Brigitte at March 30, 2006 2:51 AM

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