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by rexstardust

The feeling it was going to be a special night began in the parking lot.  I hadn't had a thought like that since I first obtained my driver's license but after hiding out in the car during a rain shower, a glorious double rainbow (the colors - so many colors - came out!) hugged the Denver skyline.  

It had been many years since I'd opted for GA tickets.  At my age, waiting in line for hours and then standing for several more has almost completely lost it's appeal.  But.... The attitude of the band of this tour, with the throwback to their punk roots, inspired me to give it another shot.  And it was well worth the gamble.  

My fiance and I entered right when the doors opened at 6:30 and found a wonderful spot, three people back from the rail on the North Side of the E-stage.  As Patti Smith pumped through the loudspeaker, my heart began to race and Bono confidently (as if he knows any other way) strutted up the stair to the E-stage as a roar rained down upon him.  He roared back as he worked his way toward the main stage, where the band ripped into The Miracle.  

Edge's guitar rocketed through the Pepsi Center and I found myself pogo'ing to Larry's drumbeat and Adam's urgent bass.  I howled along to the "whoah-oh-oh-oh's" and pumped my fist in the air.  The U2 time machine turned me into a 20 year-old for the next three songs (Out of Control, Vertigo, I Will Follow) as well.  Never mind the gray hair and the ear plugs, I was all in.  

After the opening four song barrage of pure rock energy, Bono took us back to the band's history with a group of their most recent songs.  Cedarwood Road is a clear highlight of the set, both for the technological pomp and for the urgency with which the band plays it.  Song For Someone also connected with me in a way I missed on the record. 

A reworked Sunday Bloody Sunday gave way to an intense Raised By Wolves and was followed by Until the End of the World, which one again had me bouncing up and down during the Edge's ebullient strokes after the chorus. It might be impossible NOT to dance to that one.  

The Wanderer played on the gigantic video screen above the walkway as the band took a breather, then the screen went yellow and the band appeared INSIDE the screen for Invisible (yet another new tune I appreciate more after the live experience).  

For Mysterious Ways, Bono pulled a young lady from the audience to dance on stage, then he handed her a phone so she could beam the band out to the world through the Meerkat app.  For that moment they blasted into Volcano.  This one is a favorite of my 6- and 8- year olds, who were not at the show, but I was thrilled to hear this one.  I had always imagined it as a firecracker of a live tune and it did not disappoint.  Big guitars, VOL-CAN-O chorus, and the freshness of a new tune helped turn this moment into another highlight.  

Ordinay Love followed but the teleprompter was a little behind.  Bono grinned sheepishly and said, "Maybe we should have rehearsed this today."  A gorgeous Every Breaking Wave came next and then we were jolted by the opening boom of Bullet the Blue Sky. For this one, Bono pulled out a megaphone decorated in the colors of an American Flag and could be heard chanting phrases such as "I can't breathe" and "My hands are up" - chilling phrases referring to recent shootings by American police officers.  

But U2 never leaves us in such dark places for long.  The power trio of Pride, Beautiful Day, and With or Without You brought the primary set to a rousing close.  City of Blinding Lights and Streets kicked off the encore then the night ended with One.  Bono urged the crowd to sing most of the song and it was unclear whether he had lost his voice or was simply reinforcing the "there is no them/there's only us" theme.  

Overall, the band sounded vital during the new songs and shrewdly used the best visual effects during the newer tunes to help engage the audience during less familiar material.  The old standbys still have tremendous power, even if they have been played better (or perhaps just differently) on previous tours.  It was incredibly satisfying to see a band which has achieved to much still work as hard as they did to elevate the audience.  

 

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