You guys, I am probably the worst person here at Let Them Eat Vinyl to review last night’s U2 show. I love them so much that they could just walk out onstage and do nothing and I’d be all “Yay! They were great!” But Thinfinn is still working on his review of New York Dolls / Poison / Mötley Crüe at the Molson Amphitheatre (as his editor I am getting impatient, but anyone out there who knows the man knows you can’t rush him :)) so I have no one else to pawn this off on. So you’re stuck with me I guess. Here goes.
We saw U2’s 360° tour two years ago, and while I had a great time last night, I will say that the energy levels were higher back in 2009. Not the band’s energy levels — one thing you can say for sure about U2 is that they are such consummate professionals that they will bring 110% to the table every time. No, it was last night’s crowd that was ever so slightly soporific. There are a few reasons why I think this was the case — it was a Monday night, and it was hotter than Hades in the SkyDome (sorry, Rogers Centre), even with the roof open. But a big factor, as my companions and I discussed afterwards, was the fact that the three of us had indeed seen the exact same show two years earlier. Oh, it wasn’t totally identical — the song selection was different, with last night’s show skewing heavily towards tracks from Achtung Baby, which was a real treat. But with the same venue and the same stage setup, it didn’t (couldn’t) feel quite as fresh as a new setting new would have.
Having said all of that, there were tons of high points. Almost the entire audience joined in for the chorus of ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,’ and if you think it isn’t seriously amazing to hear 60,000 voices singing gospel at a rock show then you are probably one of those people who doesn’t get excited about anything. I kept thinking to myself, I wonder if it’s weird for the band to hear massive crowds singing their words to them, or if it’s become completely normal by now. I mean, 60K is a lot of people. If even one person ever quotes anything I’ve written back to me I will probably die of happiness.
Another thing that struck me as I was watching them was the fact that they are so good at putting on a show without any of it seeming rote. They’ve performed all of these songs a million times before, no doubt, but they still manage to get excited about playing them. Either that or they are very, very good at faking it. But I’ve read their book, U2 by U2 (to be reviewed here) and I can tell you that the excitement is genuine. They truly do realize how lucky they are to have been doing something creative that they love for their entire lives. How many people can say that? Seriously, they formed the band in high school and have been together ever since. Not one of these guys ever had to get a day job. And instead of taking it for granted like many other famous people have done, they are still incredibly grateful for the opportunities they have been given. That’s what you see up there on stage. Gratitude and humility and genuine enthusiasm for their work. It definitely comes across.
A personal high point was the rendition of ‘One’ during the encore. I have a strange relationship with this song. I love it, but it reminds me of some sad times in my life so for a long time I have avoided listening to it. Last night, though, a switch was flipped and I was able to just let go and enjoy the song. I found that the feelings I had been afraid of it evoking seemed…still sad, but also beautiful in the way that complex emotions sometimes can. I became ONE with my feelings, if you will (see what I did there?) and experienced a sense of synchronicity with the universe. And I cried, of course, because I am a sap.
Now, synchronicity with the universe is all very grand and good, but even better than that is… A JACKET WITH LASERS ON IT. Yes, my friends. A jacket with lasers on it.
If there are two things in the world that I love, they are 1) jackets (seriously, ask anyone who knows me), and 2) lasers. To combine the two seems almost impossibly perfect. As soon as Bono strutted out in this fine garment, The Finn leaned over to me and whispered “A laser jacket, eh? You must be beside yourself right now”. And then a moment later: “You know, you have to work pretty hard in life to earn one of those. You have to be in the biggest band in the world to get to wear a laser jacket”.
And that about sums it up, doesn’t it? U2: they work hard, they are the biggest band in the world, and they wear laser jackets. What else is there to say, really? This fan certainly walked away happy, with visions of lasers dancing in her head…