by Dimitri Nakassis
I've seen two other U2 shows on the PopMart tour, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C., and this show was the most intimate of all; partly perhaps because it was Larry's birthday. Unfortunately, the crowd didn't seem too excited relative to other U2 concerts I've seen. While U2 was playing Pop songs which were unreleased and during the acoustic set, much of the audience was seated. "Please", to this reviewer's mind, was the best live performance of the night, but most of the people standing around him were sitting down. Even during such anthems like Pride (in the name of love), the audience seemed restless.
Lack of quality of the music was not the reason. The concert was more or less flawless. Bono's voice seemed to falter on some of the older songs, like "Pride" and "Where the Streets Have No Name," but the Achtung Baby and Pop songs were played beautifully. "Please", "Gone", and "Until the End of the World" were standouts.
The acoustic set was quite nice; I think that "Desire" is the kind of song which needs a strong drum beat driving it, but "Staring at the Sun" was really good; the slower tempo seemed more natural to the structure of the song.
Before playing "Sunday Bloody Sunday," Edge said "A couple of weeks ago we were in Sarajevo and we realized that this song still meant something to us."
During "Mysterious Ways," Bono got about one dozen costumed individuals on stage to dance; it was pretty strange to see. Most of them were freaking Bono and Edge on the stage right, though a couple went up to Adam and Larry.
Overall, it was a really wonderful show, with some touching displays; U2 thanking the audience for braving the traffic, and standing onstage waving goodnight to the audience for several minutes at the end of the concert.