Review: U2 at Madison Square Garden, New York, October 10, 2005* - U2 Feedback

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Old 10-12-2005, 07:42 PM   #1
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Review: U2 at Madison Square Garden, New York, October 10, 2005*

By Carrie Alison, Chief Editor
2005.10




I had a feeling this would happen. A show I almost missed due to an inconvenient and curiously strong seasonal cold ended up being one for all time. Hey, even Conan O'Brien and Tom Morello from Audioslave were there, they can back me up on this.

I didn't get into the ellipse this time around, again, but ended up standing in the exact same spot on the railing to the right of it. Folks, take it from me, if you want good Bono pictures and a spectacular vantage point that is just as good as the ellipse, go all the way to the right when you hit the GA floor running. Trust me.

Going into this show, I had a great feeling about it. I attribute the high level of anticipation to the set list changes that U2 made on October 8th's show—the rare inclusion on the Vertigo Tour of crowd favorite "I Will Follow," a tender "All I Want Is You," "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" and another appearance of my personal favorite from U2's latest era—"Fast Cars."

So, even though I had to take medication to even have a fighting chance of attending (and surviving) the show, my sister and I gamely held on to the railing as we waited for the push, the confetti of "City of Blinding Lights," the unbelievable sound of Madison Square Garden singing and swinging to the music, and of unbridled celebration. Moments like this, when you can just let it go, dance with abandon and hug complete strangers are meant to be savored. On this chilly, drizzling Columbus Day night in New York City, U2 was all about joy, love and peace. Or else.

As the throngs (and thousands) of U2 fans can tell you, it is the early part of the show, and the first encore where the band will mix things up and throw fantastic curveballs. For the early part of Monday night's show, the capacity audience was once again treated to a wonderful "I Will Follow" that sounds as immediate and frenetic as it did in 1980 when it was performed by a bunch of teenagers from Dublin.

I want to take a moment and address "Miracle Drug" and why I now believe it ranks among U2's finest in its filled to the brim canon of classics. At once a gut wrenching take on the African pandemic that Bono has so tirelessly campaigned to alleviate, it also bears notes of such beloved love songs as "With or Without You" and "One." It offers no easy answers, but it is thorny, and throbbing with a yearning so deep, so undeniable that I can't help but sing my lungs dry when Bono croons, "I've had enough of romantic love/I'd give it up, yeah, I'd give it up/For a miracle …"

The true highlight of the night for me was before the first encore when the screens above usually reserved for shots of the four individual band members became a sight so remarkable I had to cartoonishly wipe my eyes to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. Sure enough, there it was, the Zoo Baby, icon of a tour I have long lamented for not seeing. And there it was. And then I knew something special was about to happen. I just had no idea it was special enough to put at rest all of my longing for ZooTV.

Just moments later, U2 launched into "Zoo Station," complete with a high-stepping and mock-saluting Bono. I was screaming so loudly at that moment, my cold went to Mach 3 status and my Sprite became a necessary evil to get me through the show, but at that point, at that very second, I was transported to summers in high school when all I did was watch the Zooropa concert from Sydney on video. The band I fell in love with was before me and I was in heaven.

And then came "The Fly." And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, there came the flashing phrases and words that was such a hallmark of the frantic visual style of ZooTV. I was gob smacked. I whispered in my sister's ear as she jumped with all of her might, "Now this is a U2 show."

Then it got better.

When the opening flourishes of "Bad" began, the geeky U2 fan that I still am deep down, no matter how hard I profess my allegiance to the Strokes, the Arcade Fire and Interpol these days, came out. Arms stretched as if I was enraptured by a church sermon (and, well, for me, this was about the same), I screamed along to a song that has meant more to me over the years than I care to tell you. I took a second for a personal moment of reflection and then looked around to see the audience in the stands. My gaze fell upon a group of 10 30-something men who stood on their chairs together, arms around each other's shoulders, heads thrown back, completely lost in the song's tidal magic.

Then I realized. I don't need to tell you, any of you, what it means, what it feels like. You already know.
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Old 10-13-2005, 10:25 AM   #2
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thanks for sharing!
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Old 10-13-2005, 11:29 AM   #3
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very cool... sounds like a review I could've written (I, too, have professed my love for The Strokes (mmmm... leaked tracks) and The Arcade Fire lately)... except I was at Sect. 212

Oh God, "Bad"... it was such a great moment. I didn't think I'd hear it live.
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Old 10-13-2005, 11:40 AM   #4
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excellent excellent review. gave me chills

I can't wait for December!
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Old 10-13-2005, 09:37 PM   #5
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Carrie - so glad you had that experience

wish I knew what it was but when they bring out Bad it does something to the geeky u2 fans in all of us
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Old 10-14-2005, 02:00 AM   #6
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Carrie!

Your feelings about the Zoo TV encore are EXACTLY what I felt like when I first saw it... having missed ZOO TV live, but being obsessed with it during my high school years it was SURREAL seeing it right before my very eyes...

Glad you had such a great time and good luck tomorrow!
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