Review: U2 at City of Manchester Stadium, June 15, 2005* - U2 Feedback

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Old 06-22-2005, 08:47 AM   #1
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Review: U2 at City of Manchester Stadium, June 15, 2005*

By Kenneth MacLellan

Despite its reputation for rain, Manchester greeted its second night of Vertigo 2005 with as many dark clouds as there are songs from "Pop" and "Zooropa" in U2's current set.

Even though the band had hinted that some of these songs would air in Europe, the decision to sideline this material is understandable: with the G8 summit fast approaching, U2 needs its arsenal of big anthems to raise awareness of the issues involved. And as well as informing the choice of songs performed, the upcoming event in Gleneagles also fires U2's performance, as illustrated by the purpose and verve with which the band tore through June 15th's opening trio of "Vertigo," "I Will Follow" and "The Electric Co."

"Elevation" came next and proved to be one of the few missteps of the evening. Although its selection reignited the interest of the more casual fan after "The Electric Co.", this teasing version of the song didn't quite come off. With "New Year's Day" next, "Until the End of the World" or "Gloria" might have been a better choice for this slot.

After a glorious, appropriate, "Beautiful Day", the band sprung a surprise. "This is a song we haven't played in a while," Bono said. "Let's hope Edge can remember it."

The band struck up "I Still Haven't Found What I'm looking For" for the first time in Europe this year. The Edge had no difficulty in recalling the chords and even Bono, prone to bouts of lyrical amnesia, got it right, too. The song was very well received and inspired the first full sing-a-long of the night.

The second surprise, and sing-a-long, came straight after with "All I Want Is You", the first outing for anything from "Rattle and Hum" this year.

As the song quieted down to the chorus of the crowd, "City of Blinding Lights" began to fade in just as "Where the Streets Have No Name" used to on Elevation 2001. A "Crazy Frog" away from being No. 1 song in the Britain, "City of Blinding Lights" got as an enthusiastic reaction as the previous two numbers and is testimony to the strength and popularity of the band's new album.

Three more tracks from "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" followed--"Miracle Drug," "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" and "Love and Peace or Else."

The opera is in U2 and the show did feel like a three-act opera with "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" ending the first act, the point where the "Boy" becomes a man.

On cue, the sky began to bruise as the band started a second act that dealt with the awareness that maturity brings and the responsibilities we have on a global level at the start of the 21st century, particularly where Africa is concerned.

As well as the big songs like "Pride" and "One," this part of the set featured a Human Rights speech, a speech from Bono and African flags flashing on the screen to "Where the Streets Have no Name."

Like Bono banging a tom-tom along to the intro of "Sunday Bloody Sunday," it's hard not to think that the political drum is thumped is a little too hard. Surely anyone in the audience of a U2 gig in June 2005, with a passing interest in current affairs, has at least a basic awareness of the issue already?

If the end of the main set was a reprisal of U2 in the late '80s, then the first encore was a return to the ZooTV era with "Zoo Station" and "The Fly." Both featured Bono returning to the guise of The Fly and, like the 1992-93 tour, the former featured high-kicks and Dr. Strangelove-style gestures, the latter swamping the audience in a welter of buzz words and truisms.

Bono has said recently that he hopes this generation is remembered for something other than the internet, namely making Africa an equal partner on the world stage. This is a perfect summation of the third act of Vertigo. The information overload of the first encore was followed by an acoustic, prayer-like "Yahweh" that felt like a musical metaphor for a return to innocence. Closing with a second rendition of opener "Vertigo" underlined this further, making the show as circular as the black and red stage on which it was performed.

The band then bid us goodnight and left Manchester, having given the city two nights of thrilling rock 'n' roll and a lot to think about.

While we can do little to directly affect the fate of Africa, we can do as U2 has done and raise awareness, ensure that those eight leaders soon headed to Scotland aren't cut off from public opinion as those currently closeted away inside the "Big Brother" house are right now.

The march to Edinburgh and Live8 may just work. After all, stranger things have happened, like a cloudless day in Manchester, for one.

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Old 06-23-2005, 08:55 AM   #2
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Old 07-10-2005, 01:39 PM   #3
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Old 04-20-2006, 10:50 AM   #4
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i tried ti get tickets to that but they sold out with in 10 mins of them going on sale
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