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Best Seen with "Explorer"
.....U2's new, stripped-down tour brings the
band down to the audience's level, with a simple, uncluttered stage and two
long extensions that sweep out from the sides and join together in front, in a
heart shape. Inside the heart were about 300 concertgoers, randomly selected
from the capacity crowd.
......The ramps gave lead singer Bono the chance
to interact with fans, slapping hands, bending down to sing right in people's
faces and bringing a girl up from the crowd to dance with him. In keeping with
the friendly, easygoing atmosphere, the band was dressed down, in jeans and
T-shirts, except for Bono, who was in a black leather jacket and black jeans.
He even took off his sunglasses.
.....This was essentially a club show transported
to an arena, an illusion enhanced by a simple but brilliantly executed stage
design. A heart-shaped walkway framed the performers and a portion of the
audience, and when Bono or The Edge ventured around the rim, fans surrounded
them. The design also created natural barriers that mitigated safety concerns
because of the festival-seating arrangement on the floor of the arena
Musically, U2 gave the people what they wanted. The show was filled with hits,
emphasizing the emotional, anthem classics the band has long been known for.
The audience, on its feet for the entire show, lustily sang along and cheered
the band members like they were heroes.
......The group appeared on stage even before the
lights went down, when many people were still returning from intermission. Band
members eased right into "Elevation," one of many songs from the new
"All That You Can't Leave Behind" CD. The audience chimed in, singing
the "Whooos" along with Bono. The big hit from the album,
"Beautiful Day," which has given the band its biggest boost in a
decade, came next, energizing the crowd even more. "Until the End of the
World" kept up the rocking pace, with the audience screaming at the line,
"Are you having a good time?" The band performed 22 songs in two
hours, but left out a few standards from previous tours, notably "Pride
(In the Name of Love)" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm looking
...... Also gone was the high-tech gimmickry of
its '90s spectacles - the Trabant cars dangling from the rafters of the Zoo TV
extravaganza, and the 40-foot artificial lemon and 170-foot video screen of the
Pop Mart invasion. By those standards, the Elevation Tour 2001 is lacking in
flash but compensated by reaffirming the attributes that enabled U2 to matter
to so many listeners in the first place: heart, heat, soul and showmanship.
........ The band members, gathered at the end of
the stage extensions, created a quiet, warm moment with "The Ground
Beneath Her Feet," a ballad with lyrics by Salman Rushdie. The band kept
the crowd excited with such rousers as "Desire," "Where the
Streets Have No Name" and "She Moves in Mysterious Ways."
Encores included "Bullet the Blue Sky" (spiced with a little bit of
Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" and David Bowie's "Young
American"), with Bono shining a bright spotlight on people in the crowd,
"With or Without You," "In the Name of Love,"
"One" and the band's latest single, "Walk On."
U2 has always been about their fans showing the love they spell on them.
By Randy Cohen
........This is the Official Rock Publication Web Site
All photos and written material courtesy of Rock Publication
.Copyright © 2001
|| Members of the Band Are: !
The Edge, guitar
Adam Clayton : Bass
Larry Mullen, Jr., drums