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U2 Tours (formerly part of AtU2): A Comprehensive Guide To U2’s Live Performance History
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by BF

After following along with set lists on U2tours.com for the first leg and then being somewhat disappointed when I saw U2 earlier this year (not disappointed in the band, you understand, but disappointed in so much that I knew pretty much exactly what to expect from the show), I weaned myself off U2 all summer long (!) and avoided this site at all costs, so I would be completely and totally unspoilt and "fresh" for tonight. And boy, am I glad I did!

I've been a U2 fan for over 20 years and seen them probably about 14 or 15 times ... *every* Toronto show since The Joshua Tree, plus performances in Ireland, Germany, England and America. Tonight's show was right up there in the top 3 of all time (nothing beats Slane!). WOW. The opening-night energy from the band was spectacular, and I was thrilled to be a part of such an amazing show.

Despite the fact that the crowd didn't seem to wake up and get into it until halfway through the show (I was sitting next to the only two people in the entire arena who decided to sit down for the entire concert, and complained that the people singing and dancing in front of them blocked their view, and wanted them to sit down!), U2 put on a performance that alternately dazzled, empowered, inspired and rocked. Bono was quick to remind us that tonight was a "rock and roll festival" and he was absolutely right. Even the tried-and-true songs that I'm tired of hearing (Pride, New Year's Day, etc.) sounded fresh and strong. The highlights, without a doubt, were a take-your-breath-away Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, Miss Sarajevo (kudos to Bono for hitting the high notes--in Italian, no less! He's his father's son :) ) and Streets, which garnered a full standing ovation and deafening cheer that seemed to never end. A pared-down Yahweh was a bit anti-climactic, but still a lovely way to round out the evening. But best of all ... they played 40! I have been waiting since 1987 to hear that song live again and it did not disappoint!

The new and revamped graphics and lighting did a lot to freshen the set. I particularly liked when the overhead screen of Bono zoomed in closer and closer until it became almost pixelated, and turned into the faces of the fans in the audience -- very cool. The blitzkrieg montage of words and expressions during The Fly was a nice nod to the Zoo TV era, too.

Bono managed to touch on both terrorism and Hurricane Katrina during the performance without being heavy-handed; on the contrary, his earnestness and poignancy really shone through. This is a man who is completely steadfast in his convictions, and listening to him speak and sing was incredibly awe-inspiring. He's a big-shot rock star, a multimillionaire, famous beyond all measure, and by rights, he doesn't HAVE to care about this stuff ... but he does, completely. It's both an amazing and humbling thing to behold; if someone like him can give a damn and get involved, what's stopping the likes of you and me?

Yet another phenomenal performance from a phenomenal band, who once again proved why they are the best in the world. Can't wait for Wednesday, Friday and Saturday!

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