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by kenyon

U2: beautiful. Cell phones and beer: bad.

This was my second show for this tour, first ever at MSG and fifth all-time. Even though I had a better seat for May 18, the crowd was more energized and louder this show. I was really surprised that was the case since they already played two nites there this week and three in the area in May. But when they first came on for "City of Blinding Lights" (after Arcade Fire over the PA got my fists pumping) the crowd was nearly deafening and a lot of the time it was difficult to even hear the music! Several people said that Bono's voice was a little off. I remember the singer from Keane (who were not bad) even mentioned that his voice wasn't up to par tonite (no one should be pointing that out, cause it only brings attention to it). I really didn't notice any flaw with his voice, but come on people, U2 is playing like 200 shows in a year, so what do you expect. It's amazing that they can play two hours each nite at all.

I was very ecstatic that they started with "City" again, but "Vertigo" and "Elevation" (why they chose to keep this in the set so long is beyond me, that song is weak), was like they were just going through the motions. I know they can't mix up sets TOO MUCH, but I'm just sick of those songs. The next two songs, however, more than made up for this: "I Will Follow" and "Electric Co." Most of the crowd was into "Follow" but (surprise, surprise) only a small percentage even knew "Electric Co." That was the first of a few songs where I was dancing and jumping around while the people around me (aside from my friend) were sitting down or just standing there like zombies.

"I Still Haven't Found" unexpectedly followed, I've never known of that song coming so early in a set. Then of course the crowd got energized again with "Beautiful Day." "Miracle Drug" slowed it down and again Bono had to dedicate the song to nurses, etc. and then "Sometimes You Can't Make it", which i don't even clearly remember them playing because I was probably sitting and putting my head on the guard rail in front of me (front row of section 419 baby!). Good time for a break.

Then came the sorta charged-up-with-a-political-message segment with "Love and Peace," "Sunday" and "Bullet the Blue Sky", all which were pretty rocking, with Bono playing a little drum kit on the ramp for "Love and Peace". After "Bullet" was probably the most unexpected song (for me at least) of the nite: "Miss Sarejevo," a song they recorded under the name "Passengers" with Brian Eno and opera singer Pavorotti. Holy cow! Are you kidding me? I assumed it would be "Running to Stand Still" cause that's what usually comes after "Bullet". The Edge played piano instead of guitar that's in the studio version of "Sarejevo" and sadly, most of the crowd didn't know it, and since it's a quiet song, I could hear people talking. This was a really special moment, and Bono was even singing Pavorotti's part, wow, impressive.

Favorites "Pride" and "Streets" of course followed and then the so so boring and overrated "One". (I'm pretty sure) just before "One" Bono had the crowd do the thing with the cell phones, which I find pretty ironic since he was talking about how they can do everything including lending support to the ONE campaign and yet here they were annoying the hell out of me with people calling their friends before and during the show (I kid you not, this guy next to me, who thankfully later moved cause he was in the wrong seat, called his friend during Keane like 5 minutes after getting there and says "yea, they're pretty good" and holds the phone up to record some of it to send to him.)

The main set ended, they took a short break, and then the Zoo TV-like images were on the screens. Totally sweet. The best part of the show, second only to start of "City". It's like a new concert is starting, like you're at the Zoo TV tour in 1992. I happen to love "Zoo Station". Of course it's not a "hit", so not as many people are into it. I wish Bono moved around more for the song though as he did in the Zoo TV live from Sydney Australia video. Here he kinda just did the same movements when I saw them May 18, so that was just going through motions there. "The Fly". I'm sorry, that song is very under average for U2. Why aren't they playing "Even Better Than the Real Thing" on this tour? That would work so much better, especially earlier in the set. "With or Without You" I was hoping would flow in from a previous song, it doesnt work too well after "Fly".

At that point it was 11:25, and my friend and I decided we needed to catch the 11:42 train (the next was at 1:04, dammit. yea yea I know, it's U2!), so just as they came on for the second encore with "All Because of You", we left, realizing it otherwise would have taken like 30 minutes to get from section 419 to the ground. I really hated to leave, especially after finding out they played "Bad" and "40". However they did play that May 18 so I'm not as upset. Hopefully they will play "Bad" November 21 (I'll be in a 200-level section near the stage). After the show, I was having second thoughts about Nov 21 and I wanted to sell the ticket. (get ready for the rant) I'll tell you why: phones, talking and beer. People, again: YOU PAID GOOD MONEY TO SEE U2, AND HERE YOU ARE DRINKING BEER (and spilling it on people), going to the bathroom or to get more beer (MSG is dumb for selling it) AND TALKING DURING THE SHOW (yankees are down 2-1!). I am sure there are bigger fans that deserved tickets more than you and got shut out. You just don't get it, this is one of the best bands and shows you will ever see, and some people appreciate it more than you and want to be incredibly focused and immersed in it. It's a chance/risk you have to take though. I guess my section could have been worse, it wasn't as awful as I am making it sound, it was just typical. I'm trying my luck on Nov 21, because well, U2 is the BOMB and this may be my last chance to see them, particularly at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Oh yea and um, I think I forgot to mention that the lights were pretty cool too.

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