A few thoughts from last night's show:
* The opener...perfect. Okay, I'm biased because it's by far my favorite song on the new album, but it just worked so perfectly. I had been saying for months that "Love And Peace" would be the opener, but this kinda surprised me, and yet at the same time it was so obvious.
* "Vertigo" is so much better live than on the album. Hearing thousands of people scream "1, 2, 3, 14" in Spanish is a trip...even if we still have no idea what the fuck it means.
* "Yahweh" was done acoustically during one of the encores, and it wasn't bad. The lyrics are still silly and it's not the best song, but I definitely liked it better in it's acoustic arrangement than the album version. While Edge was playing the first couple chords, Bono joked "if it's not a hit, just play it fast."
* "40" How I waited years to see a U2 show end that way. This will make many, many people very very happy. I'm not sure how it will work at all the shows...Detroit on the Elevation tour was a pretty dead audience and I can't imagine them singing much, but with all the diehards who'd traveled to San Diego for the tour opener, "40" was just mind-blowing...the crowd kept singing even after the house lights had come up. (the band didn't actually come back once they'd left the stage though)
* The stage and the visuals...I'm not going to lie. This was Elevation 2.0. Same basic idea, just with some more bells and whistles. The setlist was different enough to make it not feel like another Elevation tour show, and the visual elements they did add were quite excellent, but from the pictures I think you can tell it really wasn't that different conceptually. But for arenas, Elevation was perfect, and what could U2 do as far as staging that they hadn't done yet?
Okay, my one big, BIG complaint:
"Streets" was awful. Not musically...musically it was fine...but they completely reworked the lighting for it. U2 is about music before anything else, even on something like ZooTV, but "Streets" is the one song that NEEDS those lights to really make it magical in a concert...the red wash at the beginning, and then the huge white flash after the drums come in, lighting up the entire arena to show 15,000 people going nuts. They completely changed it...even if they changed the red, it would still work so long as the bright lights came on on cue, but...they never did. I really hope they fix this soon, it totally killed the vibe, especially since everyone was expecting it. I seriously think most U2 fans would cite the opening of "Streets" as the single most quinticential moment in a U2 show, no matter what tour it is, and now it's gone...
My last thought about this show isn't really praise or criticism, just something I was thinking about a lot as I watched the show. U2 has continually said they didn't want to become a nostalgia act, and have gone through great lengths to defend themselves against that accusation. Night one of the Vertigo tour, however, was easily the biggest display of pure nostalgia the band had ever put on. Yes, there were 7 new songs played, but much of the show was homages to earlier tours. The "Bullet The Blue Sky"/"Running To Stand Still combo, the first two songs of Zoo TV, "Electric Co," "An Cat Dubh/Into The Heart", and of course "40." For this first show at least, they really made an effort to push the nostalgia buttons of their older fans. I'm not complaining one bit, especially as someone who was too young to witness Zoo TV or the Joshua Tree tours...I was floored to hear those songs, and to see the ZooTV graphics again on "The Fly." It just seemed a little un-U2-ish, but they set the standards so high for reinvention over the last 10 years that maybe the only way for them to go to make this tour different was to look backwards.
But last night's setlist was definitely geared for the longtime followers...They played plenty of big songs, but they left out plenty too...no "With Or Without You," "I Will Follow," "Still Haven't Found," "Mysterious Ways," "Bad" and nothing off of Rattle & Hum, Pop, or Zooropa. I feel that the band knew the kind of fans that would populate the tour opener, I imagine the show might change a bit when they leave San Diego, and they might add one or two of those songs I just listed...but we shall see.
Okay, I've slept 3 hours since Sunday morning...time for a nap.
(and to those posting mp3's on yousendit or whaever...thank you very much. The Traders Den is down for now, hopefully someone who finished the download can post it on Easytree so we can all have lossless versions...if anyone here is in contact with Chrisedge, give him my thanks for an amazing recording)