Saturday, June 13, 2009

U2 - May 17, 2005

Continental Airlines Arena, the site of so many great concerts in my life. I was set to witness another one when U2 came into town in support of their latest disc, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.

At 8:55 PM, a beautiful song piped through the house PA at a louder volume than the previous songs had. Red lights flipped on over the stage, and there was a buzz in the jam-packed arena. The sell-out crowd was restless in their seats, as they knew something is about to happen.

9:00 PM. Beaded curtains fall behind the stage and light up as our heroes leap out of the depths of darkness and catapult into the live setting. The opening notes of City of Blinding Lights are played and the arena erupts in a volcanic sea of noise – cheers and applause are deafening and heartfelt. The concert has begun and we are on our way to a harmonious escape. For the next 2-plus hours, we are led by Bono and his magnificent band mates. We see what he sees, we feel what he feels, and we do as he commands. We are his and we trust him to lead us down a glorious path of music.

With the energy level of a jungle cat attacking its prey, U2 pounced on the audience with the second song of the night. Vertigo attacked the senses and reminded us all how much fun rock and roll is. They had us in their control from that moment forward. And once we were theirs, U2 never let go.

The setlist hit the range of their years, showing their longevity and their ability. Delving all the way back to Boy and then bringing it full circle with songs from All That You Can’t Leave Behind and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, U2 performed the gamete of their history. Attacking the audience with hit after hit, demanding their attention and demanding their voice, they orchestrated the songs like a world-class conductor and the audience was extremely supportive of their ability.

The highlight of the night came in the encore, when Bono called an audible to the Edge with a hug and a whisper, no doubt varying the song that was originally going to be played. He instead called for Original of the Species, and they played a brilliant, flawless version.

By the time the band launched into 40, the crowd was mellowed, fulfilled, and satisfied – not unlike the feeling at the end of a rewarding workout. U2 had given us a vibrant one and we certainly felt the rewards. Winding down for what was supposed to be the final song of the evening, 40 was thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance and it showed with the chorus being shouted at the band, even after they had stopped playing their instruments. It was obvious that the crowd was not going to let it end.

And so the boys in the band responded with one last unexpected surprise – they played Vertigo again. At the end of this powerful replay, Bono explained how in the Italian opera, when a song is sung that was loved so much, the opera singers come out to sing it again. “Encore, encore,” he said in an Italian accent.

The band took their final applause and walked off into the night, leaving behind an extremely satisfied and enjoyably exhausted arena of appreciative fans. Brilliance and perfection had left for the evening.

City Of Blinding Lights
The Cry
The Electric Co.
An Cat Dubh
Into The Heart
Beautiful Day
Miracle Drug
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
Love And Peace Or Else
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Bullet The Blue Sky
Running To Stand Still
Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Where The Streets Have No Name
EncoreZoo Station
The Fly
Mysterious Ways
Original Of The Species
All Because Of You

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