U2 meets elevated expectations

By Colleen M. Potter

Everyone expected a good show Monday night–after all, U2 is one of the most established group of musicians in the business–but after two absolutely flawless hours Calgarians were left in awe.

U2 has found the missing balance in their most recent stadium tours and uses it to connect with every member of the audience. Instead of just being a good show, this was an amazing show.

The concert started with the lights up. When the band casually strolled onto the stage–like they were playing a small club–the audience unanimously rose to its feet–and stayed standing for the next two hours. Launching into the song "Elevation" from All that you Can’t Leave Behind, U2 got the audience singing and set the high-energy and joyous mood that continued until the end of the concert.

The songs off the latest album really came together live. While on the album they sound a little lacklustre, in the Saddledome they became anthems. The band allowed their concern for social issues to shine through as when they presented quotes from Charleton Heston, head of the National Rifle Association, followed by an image of a girl holding a gun before they played "Bullet the Blue Sky." During "Sunday Bloody Sunday" Bono got the audience chanting "Stand up for your rights." A medley of songs off their electronica-inspired album Pop showed they have the ability to reproduce their studio sounds live, combined with the talent needed to make songs sound new.

Unlike previous over-the-top stadium tours, this stage was understated, with a heart-shaped ramp coming out into the crowd and one large screen devoted to each band member hanging above the stage. The lights complimented the songs, instead of taking away from the focus and helped to showcase the band’s extraordinary abilities and Bono’s spectacular vocal range. Bono’s wild stage presence energized the audience; at one point he donned a cowboy hat and moved like he was on a bucking bronco. During "Mysterious Ways," Bono was elevated from the stage and reclined on top of a screen that had a dancing woman projected on it. One of the sweeter moments was when Bono introduced the members of the band, teasing each of them in turn and presenting a closeness that comes through in their music.

Near the beginning of the concert, Bono held up an audience member’s sign that said "I Dream Out Loud," which is what the band seemed to do the entire show. When they played crowd favourites "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Where The Streets Have No Name" the energy was so strong you could almost see it. Closing with "Walk On," Bono thanked the crowd for a great show, and with raised hands and voices Calgarians said "you’re welcome."


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