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by jboy

My 12th show since 1982, the third of three great nights here in Boston. Had GA tickets this time, got my wristband around 10am, got within 3 rows of ellipse, center left. My girlfriends first U2 concert! (its always really fun to be with someone at their initial show taking in all the spectacle coupled with the spiritual energy, all for the first time). Everyone around us was very cool, except for the few idiots who tried to barrel their way up to the front and were stymied by our righteously unified front like the video banner above read, Reclaim Your Space, indeed!

All in all, a great show and worthy closer to the first North American leg. It kicked off well, cooled down a bit in the middle and had a nice celebratory finish. It was supposedly stronger than Tuesdays, but its hard for me to tell, given that I was 4th row inside the Ellipse that night, which is another world entirely I have to say utterly electrifying. The long encore on Saturday was admittedly great, almost on a par with the (more unexpected) wonders of Thursday nights encore extravaganza.

Random thoughts/impressions:

Arcade Fires Wake Up what a great intro song for the band insistent chugging guitars, U2-ish soaring chants and sincere, poignant lyrics the crowd is instantly very fired up. Good choice!

Love and Peace or Else turned out to be a solid opener very dramatic with the band walking in carrying searchlights along the catwalk and Bono and Larry drumming up an angry storm at the tip of the ellipse. After two shows of (exuberant) COBL openings it was time for them to mix it up.

An Cat Dubh/Into the Heart instead of The Ocean longtime fans like me loving it, others (not many here in Boston) a bit perplexed. The kids onstage thing was cute (Whats your name? My name is Paul but I call myself Bono.)

The Miracle Drug speech citing Lou Reed it takes a busload of faith admitting how the tour almost didnt happen -- it took a busload of faith for us to get on the bus! Didnt know that a gentle reminder that you cant take U2 tours for granted.

The Here Comes the Sun snippet after Beautiful Day. After a week of endless unseasonable rain here (You must want to remind us of home!), Saturday turned out to be sunny and beautiful.

The entire floor of the FleetCenter swaying during Sunday Bloody Sunday and others (is concrete supposed to sway)? Bono singing to Abraham, a moving plea for religious tolerance. Running, New Years Day, Street tremendous receptions from the crowd. Pride a bit tired this time around, but I still loved it.

Bullet time for retirement? Not a favorite of mine to say the least and a staple of every tour since JT in 87. The points have been made, although admittedly the jet fighter images on the lightbulb curtain were kind of cool.
During One: I think with the Declaration of Human Rights it would be better to just let people read it themselves rather than have most of it read aloud to them by the Burmese dissident it seems a bit patronizing and less impactful somehow. There was no text messaging this time afterwards; instead the Vertigo crew was thanked and their names listed instead a nice and typically thoughtful touch, even though I was kinda hoping to see my name in lights this time . . .

Encore: The Fly (amazing with literate visuals as always); UTEOTW (great and unexpected I guess the ecstatic crowd response on Thursday convinced them to do it again); Whos Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses -- a song we havent played in about ten years not usually one Id think of but surprisingly good live, as it turns out; and energetic ABOY; Party Girl always a good sign for a final show, and yes the champagne came out and was properly sprayed around the ellipse; and finally a rousing reprise of Vertigo a fun finish and in line with an old U2 tradition from the early days, but an I Will Follow or Out of Control or Gloria or something would have been even better.

Still, a true Celebration, with a thunderously appreciative Boston crowd. This town has been wholeheartedly with U2 from the beginning, and it was repaid in kind this week. The sound is still over amplified (a bit of ear cotton helps a lot, trust me), and on previous reviews Ive been comparing this tour a little unfavorably with the Elevation tour, which isnt entirely fair. On their own they still stand up as the best and most exhilarating concerts youll ever see, and God knows we need U2 more than ever. Four more shows here in Oct/Dec. cant wait!

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