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U2 Tours (formerly part of AtU2): A Comprehensive Guide To U2’s Live Performance History
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by Abdul-Haseeb Ahmad

Hey everyone,

This show was my first U2 concert ever. I've seen all of the official concert releases, I've seen and heard a lot of the boots (including the ones from this tour), so I'm not exactly a newbie to U2, but it definitely was a new experience.

I and my brother were pretty late getting to the ACC (Air Canada Centre). We had to find a mosque to pray (it was at Dundas & Bay) because we wouldn't be able to at the ACC we figured, and when we were finished it was about 7:35pm. We went to the falafel/shwarma place across the street to grab some food on the go (a shwarma for each of us and some french fries) and then we were off to the ACC. It was kinda funny because we're in Toronto all the time and we always pass the ACC but when we were walking toward Union Station, we were kinda confused and didn't know where to go exactly. My fear was we'd get to the show late and U2 would already be a couple of songs into the set. Also, while we were talking to the ACC my brother kept on bothering me about bringing the camera along, and bringing it in a large case thats clearly visible to everyone. I tried to assure my brother that the good people at Interference have said that only professional cameras aren't allowed :), but alas, I did get very antsy as I walked up to the security section of the ACC. The security guard asked me to show him whats in the camera case, so I showed him the camera, and then he checked to see where I was seated, and he let me in (I was guessing that it might have been because we were very far away).

So we ended up getting to our seats in section 306, row 3 around 8:20-8:30. When we first entered the arena I was just in awe that I was finally here, looking at U2's stage in person and about to see the band play in person for the first time. We missed Dashboard it seemed, they were playing a bunch of loud music from the arena speakers however. Despite being in some of the farthest seats from the stage, it still felt pretty close and intimate. It was also pretty cool to be inside the ACC since Im a hockey fan (not exactly a leafs fan though :) ), and got to see all the little neat details of the arena.

We saw Dallas Schoo out tuning the guitars, and I was thinking there might have been a problem or something, because we were in our seats for almost an hour before "Wake Up" started playing. Before that happened, Dallas went around and gave a couple of guitar picks to lucky people in the audience when he was finishing up.

When "Wake Up" started playing it started to get really loud. I didn't recognize the song until the chorus kicked in. And then when the lights went off it was pretty crazy, the crowd was extremely loud, and then The Edge came out and started playing City of Blinding Lights, which caught me off guard because I was expecting Vertigo. The sound of the guitars were very ear piercing, it sounded like the sound was oversaturated, and the same with Bonos vocals, it might have been because of the section of the arena we were in though, but it didnt bother me after I got into the concert. I honestly don't remember much about the performance of City of Blinding Lights other than the great looking curtain of lights, because I was still in awe that we were at a U2 concert. When Vertigo started and the lights went red it was pandemonium! Everyone stood up and started screaming, and it was so wild and deafening that I couldnt even hear myself scream at all. The lighting for this song was great, looked better in person than Ive seen in the pictures and videos. Most of the people in our section sat down for the end of Vertigo and the start of Elevation, but when they kicked into full band mode, I stood up and started cheering and that got everyone else to stand up again in our section. Elevation was great, they really nailed it, Bono was jumping around like Ive seen him do in the Boston concert of the Elevation tour, so he looked really energized. After that, Electric Co. was pretty good, I dont think many people knew the song, but the crowd was energized after Elevation so they were still into it. Then after Electric Co, the first weird event of the night happened. The lights went blue on the stage, and Bono said something like we wrote this song when we were 17, and then they started playing something (I think it may have been The Ocean), and Bono was singing some lyrics but then he lost himself and said Sorry I guess we need more than 20 minutes to rehearse a 20 year old song, and then Larry ended the song. The crowd really got into Beautiful day, Bono kinda screwed up the bridge in the song, but it was still great, I loved the ending he sung to the song. Miracle Drug and Sometimes kind of slowed things down, Bono thanked the doctors and nurses at the sick kids hospital. Sometimes was emotional as always, and Bono sung a bit of opera at the end. Love and Peace was a great performance as always, although I already knew about the drums part so it didnt take me by surprise, but it was still very enjoyable. Bono was in fine form dancing around the edge of the ellipse during the song. When Sunday Bloody Sunday started, the crowd erupted, and this was probably the most memorable moment of the concert. Everyone in my section stood up again and we were all standing up until the end of the concert from here on in. They really nailed SBS; there was a lot of energy from the band. Bullet was great too with Bono nailing all of the high notes. The lighting was really good during some songs (Elevation, SBS, and Beautiful Day) but I think Bullet beat them all with the heavy red lights. I dont think a lot of people knew Miss Sarajevo, but it was a great performance. Everyone went crazy again when Pride started up, and when Streets started, it was probably my second memorable moment of the concert; it was great finally to experience what everyone has been talking about. At the start of one, Bono wanted to see the Milky Way by getting us to hold up our cell phones. The end of One was unique. When Edge was doing the ending solo of One, some guy (who I now know was Daniel Lanois, I didnt know what he looked like so I didnt realize it was him) jumped on the stage out of nowhere, and Bono gave him his guitar, and Lanois started playing. The graphic that they had on the 4 video screens above the stage were very neat (it showed Bono playing the guitar, and then the image of him playing turned into faces of various people, and it zoomed into them, and then it zoomed out and turned back into Bono playing the guitar). I thought perhaps there was something wrong with Bonos guitar and they were trying to fix it (before I knew that it was Lanois who was playing), because the solo at the end was very long, by far the longest Ive ever heard (it seemed it went on for like 2 minutes) and then Bono sung the Zoo TV/Elevation tour ending to the song which was great because its my favorite ending to One (I was expecting the oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh ending). The crowd was again deafening when they left the stage.

When intro to encore started, I was surprised that it ended up being The Fly, and again it was a great performance with Bono going crazy on the guitar and jumping around with a lot of energy during the parts where he didnt have to sing.

I believe after With or without you (another song which the crowd was really into), I think they may have gone off the stage again. And then The Edge was back and started playing the intro to All Because of You. A film crew of 2 women came up onto the stage and recorded this song and the next (Fast Cars). Bono was going wild during All Because of You, he probably wanted to give his best performance for the cameras, and he threw his tambourine into the crowd just before the final verse of the song. During fast cars, Bono was doing a little dance (he seemed to be mixing up a Latin dance with a Middle Eastern dance which was very interesting). Then they tried calling BB King, and Bono couldnt get the speaker phone working, so then Bono said jokingly You think its easy? With all the echo and shit?, and then The Edge gave it a crack and Bono told the crowd that Edge was the scientist of the Band, and then after Edge couldnt get it to work. So then Bono just talked to him and we couldnt hear BB. But then we got to sing Happy Birthday to BB, and then after BB said something to Bono and Bono responded I know it sounded white (BB probably told him singing happy birthday was white, which I thought was classic BB). After the next song, Yahweh, Bono started talking to this Band at the edge of the Ellipse (which I guess he talked to before the concert), and then he brought 3 of them up and Bono said The last time I did this I promised Id never do it again. I was expecting this to be a disaster. Edge was on the guitar and the other 3 guys were on Drums, Bass, and Guitar/Vocals. They started playing Out of Control, and then the guy from the local band sang the first verse of Out of Control, and everyone was really cheering him on because he was doing a great job as was the rest of his band. And then Bono jumped in and stole the mike for the rest of the song. During the bridge of the song, Adam took his bass, and then Larry took over his drums, and they finished the song. And then the band did 40, and Bono took his flashlight and shone it around the lower bowl and then did the upper bowl, and then he put it down and left, and then after Adam left, and then the Edge left, and then Larry did a Drum solo and left. Everyone in the arena was left cheering for more, but then the lights went on quickly after they left the stage.

The show was just incredible, the crowd was deafening, Bono was in fine form, and the set list was pretty good. I was hoping they threw Bad in the end, but I think the quality of the concert made up for the lack of any songs I wanted to be played.

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