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Old 09-09-2005, 11:28 AM   #1
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18th November Atlanta - Philips Arena

Please post all reviews of the November 18th show here.
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Old 11-20-2005, 06:47 AM   #2
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U2 at Philips Arena Friday night

By Phil Kloer | Saturday, November 19, 2005, 12:06 AM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By PHIL KLOER

There’s a fine line between being the most charismatic rock star working these days and a fairly large serving of ham, and reasonable people can disagree on which side of the line Bono falls.

Of course, if there were any reasonable people heading into Philips Arena Friday or Saturday night for back-to-back, sold-out concerts by U2, there weren’t any going out, because U2 just flat-out put on a synapse-frying show. One of the most intense rock ‘n’ roll light shows ever and a barrage of decibels combined for sensory overload.

Beaded curtains of light hung above the stage in sheets, flashing and showing shimmering images. The stage was surrounded by a huge, egg-shaped catwalk, which was itself lit with pulsing lights around the perimeter. It allowed the band members — mainly famous frontman Bono— to get off the stage, into the arena, and play to the crowd.

And play to the crowd he did, with as much showboating as Wayne Newton working a lounge in Vegas.

Friday night, he got a young woman out of the audience for a long slow dance to “With Or Without You.” He donned a blindfold and pretended to be a political prisoner. He gave one shout out to America’s military, another to New Orleans clean-up volunteers. He threw a few bars of “Georgia On My Mind” into the staggeringly propulsive opener “City of Blinding Lights.”

He talked about his dad, and how he died recently, but was always asking Bono to take off his sunglasses. “So anyway, this is for you, dad,” he said, taking off his ever-present shades, as the band launched into its recent hit “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own.” “And it’s you when I look in the mirror,” he sang, to everyone’s aging or dead parents. And he even hit the high notes.

That ham metaphor isn’t a knock, more a nod of respect. U2 could charge triple digits for tickets (which they do), come out, play the tunes and move on, but they apparently want their fans to experience everything from emotional turmoil to a political awakening to partial hearing loss. (Man, were they loud.)

They’ve always been this way, more or less, for 25 years, with some slight missteps in the ‘90s when they got a little too cutesy, some felt. They’ve long since ditched the irony; Bono in concert these days is as serious as a biopsy report. The self-described “Irish megalomaniac” donned a headband with a Star of David, a Christian cross and a Muslim crescent moon on it for the anti-violence anthem “Sunday Bloody Sunday, announcing that “We are all sons of Abraham.”

He promoted the One “campaign to make poverty history,” got in a plug for his efforts on African debt relief, and scrolled the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the Jumbotron.

What U2 has gotten really good at, though, is integrating all that into two hours-plus of rock ‘n’ roll kick-in-the-head catharsis. That Jumbotron was frequently divided into four panels so all four band members were on display: Guitarist the Edge, with his stocking cap and array of killer licks, chiming, chopping, soaring and just filling Philips; bassist Adam Clayton, as stoic as Bono is histrionic; drummer Larrry Mullen, shown in close-up so you could see the tendons popping on his forearms.

Opening act the Institute suffered the same fate of most acts that have to go out in an arena of people still trickling in to see the headliner: Hardly anyone cared. Singer Gavin Rossdale, formerly of Bush, tried a little showboating himself, and he’s got some moves, but after 45 minutes, the band hadn’t really moved the needle.
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Old 11-20-2005, 07:02 AM   #3
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My "official" review is on the main Interference page.

I'll add some random thoughts:

--Good seats matter. I was pleased to have a great line of sight for the whole show.

--I'm sad about missing "MLK" and "Bad" which got played the second night.

--I had low expectations for the Institute, and the band surpassed them. They *did not* suck. Gavin even used the rampwalk for a latter number which I thought courageous for an opening act.

--While I know I've seen comments like this already, but it still took me back a little: what's up with all the non-U2 fans at shows? I remember chatting folks in the beer line: one person didn't seem to know the names of the songs, and one woman kept referring to our beloved singer as "Bone-Oh." Then, of course, there's the chronic rudeness in the stands (sitting, talking through songs, and so on).

--I can now confirm that the band seems tighter, more together, more relaxed but not lazy, generally better on leg 3 than leg 1.

--St. Louis here I come!!!
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Old 11-21-2005, 11:06 PM   #4
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grr

Quote:
--While I know I've seen comments like this already, but it still took me back a little: what's up with all the non-U2 fans at shows? I remember chatting folks in the beer line: one person didn't seem to know the names of the songs, and one woman kept referring to our beloved singer as "Bone-Oh." Then, of course, there's the chronic rudeness in the stands (sitting, talking through songs, and so on).
I know what you mean. I am so frustrated with putting up with non-U2 fans. I mean, I couldn't get tickets to the 19th show because some of the non-U2 fans had them. It's crazy. I totally understand what you mean. For a true fan, it can get down right annoying. Grr! Bone-oh! If you don't know the singer's name, don't go to the show! That truly disturbs me that these people helped in the prevention of me going to the show on Saturday.
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