Review: U2 at the Air Canada Centre, September 12th 2005* - U2 Feedback

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Old 09-14-2005, 03:37 PM   #1
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Review: U2 at the Air Canada Centre, September 12th 2005*

By Karen Miller

I started off the day telling myself, "This is the day I'm going to meet U2.”

With a heart full of optimism I headed down to the Air Canada Centre, where U2 was to perform later in the evening. In my head I'm going through a checklist of all the stuff I need for the concert—earplugs for the opening act (Florida emo outfit Dashboard Confessional), my One wristband, my tiny camera purchased just for this show—and of course, my precious tickets. My anticipation grew as I exited Union station.

I receive a call from my friend Darryl with the news, "You just missed them! I shook [manager] Paul McGuinness' hand!" I hustle over to the spot where they had their little meet and greet, and look forlornly at the people who are still standing around, probably stunned by their fortunate encounter. I ask an member about the experience, and I'm shown an autographed band sketch. Oh, how lucky they are!

I then wander back towards the general admission line and have a quick chat with the One campaigners Johnny 007 and Jillie from the forums, when a homeless guy approaches and asks if I'm getting some sun (while repeatedly touching my arm). After finishing that conversation, I search out my friend Darryl again in the GA line and reassure the people around him that I'm not budding in, I'm just saying hello—probably an unnecessary move, as things seemed pretty laid back in the lines anyway. I am then pelted with lines from a nearby person who later sits around making huge piles of peanut shells around himself. The best of which was, "What happens at the ACC stays at the ACC—don't worry about your boyfriend.” I then check out the rest of the GA line. I look at everyone wishing there was a way I could automatically identify dwellers, but I had to resort to walking up to people and asking them directly. Most gave me looks of confusion, so I quickly move on down the line.

I checked out the Make Poverty History sign, signed it myself, took a couple pictures of various people holding up One signs, and ducked inside the ACC. I was pleased to find that the merchandise booths were set up, and I picked up a t-shirt and a program. I asked the guys manning two different booths if they knew what they were in for. One admitted he was nervous about the onslaught of people coming later, and that they might sell out of the goods.

I checked out the big red trucks and the various radio station vans parked at the CN Tower side of the ACC, and headed back home to collect my sister for the concert later on. My heartbreak at missing my big chance to meet U2 was lessened by the fact that I knew I'd be back for a second chance on Wednesday the 14th. What struck me later on was the fact that I'd been planning on telling Bono (or whoever else I happened to meet), that I really liked the song “Fast Cars,” an extra, and little known outside of fan circles, track from “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.” Little did I know that during the actual show they would play it! But more on that later.

Collecting my sister proved more challenging than I'd expected (she got stuck in good old rush hour traffic on the 401), and by the time we got back downtown, we missed Dashboard Confessional entirely. I can say, though, that my roommate was pleasantly surprised, and actually enjoyed their set. We were there for about 10 minutes when the Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” came on the arena speakers, letting people know that U2's arrival was imminent, therefore stopping the wave that kept going around the building, and everyone started going crazy.

When U2 stepped foot on the stage, everyone around us threw their arms in the air and the person in front of us got a big splash of beer from the person in front of them. A great way to start the evening, no doubt. Thankfully they were too distracted by the start of the concert to have a fistfight—it was time for Vertigo! "Hello-hello, hello Toronto,” and the crowd were officially in Bono's pocket for the remainder of the evening.

Since posted the set list from the show while the concert was in progress, I won't get specifically into each of the songs played, but I'll touch on a few things.

It's appreciated that Bono acknowledged we were a sexy Toronto crowd (at the beginning of “Elevation”). It was only fair. I was happy when “In A Little While” came on, as that was my favorite song from “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” and judging from the reaction of women around the ACC, I’m not the only one who loves the song. The confetti looked beautiful for “City Of Blinding Lights”—Adam Clayton played the piano at the end of the song—I don't remember ever seeing him play the piano before.

I love Bono's wit. I had to laugh when he said that Edge came from the future. He seemed to play up to the Edge a lot; later on I could have sworn I heard him change a song line to, "Pride, in the name of Edge.” Everyone understandably responded well when Bono dedicated a stirring and emotional “Miracle Drug” to doctors and "especially the nurses.”

Ever since U2 played it on “Saturday Night Live,” I'd been in love with “Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own.” Sure enough, the band played it, with Bono dedicating it to his late father, "a working class man.” My sister got a kick out of seeing the figure walking in the lights on the LED screens above.

When in Co-exist mode, Bono almost started rapping "Jesus, Abraham, Mohammed, it's true,” then concluded that we “are all sons of Abraham.” I thought Bono was going to break the drum by the end of “Love And Peace Or Else,” he was pounding on it so hard. Did anyone else catch Larry Mullen, Jr. at the end of that song? Looked like he was killing his drum set too. Cool transition into “Sunday Bloody Sunday” with Bono accompanied on the drums for the intro. Definitely one of the highlights of the show.

A couple songs later in “Miss Sarajevo” from U2’s late 90s Passengers project (after Bono's dedication to London, Egypt—anywhere in "strange times"—he prayed that we don't become the monster to defeat the monster), I was shocked when it looked like Bono was going to attempt the non-English parts of the song, usually reserved for Luciano Pavarotti. It was a pretty decent attempt, although that long and beautiful high note seemed to go somewhere funny right at the end. What threw me off was that people tried to clap along to the song. Clap along to “Miss Sarajevo?” It sounded really out of place. Bono made a good segue into the human rights video by changing a line to "Is this the time for human rights?”

I noticed that many of the people in my section (hello, section 118) sat down whenever the songs slowed down—shocking since it was a fan section! After the human rights video concluded, Bono thanked the Make Poverty History and One campaigners, which cued the GA section to get out their One banners. A beautiful “One” was followed up with a snippet of “Old Man River,” then it was time for a break. While the band was breaking, the audience was treated to a sort of slot-machine light show on the overhead screens. It was a fitting introduction into “Zoo Station”—there was even a shadow figure of Fly-era Bono marching across the screen.

I wondered if anyone would be pulled up on stage, per Bono’s usual, and someone did have his or her lucky break near the end of “With Or Without You.” A tall brunette had the pleasure of hugging Bono and having him bow and kiss her hands, then back away singing to her "All You Need Is Love.” I was hoping she'd be from the realm of Interference’s famed PLEBA section, so we'd get to hear all about it, but alas, no one seems to know her.

Here comes my big treat of the night. I was busy fiddling with my camera when I heard some familiar notes starting. I was well behaved during the previous part of the evening, but when I recognized that they were actually playing “Fast Cars,” I think I squealed throughout the entire thing, surely frightening the concertgoers seated around me. Especially when Bono tried to dance along with the song. I had no idea U2 had been even rehearsing this song. Did everyone catch what Bono said at the beginning? "If we f- up, blame Larry, he doesn't show up for rehearsals." It surprised me that most of the people sitting around us had no idea what this song was. They're missing out on this gem.

“40” closed up the show and turned the lights back on. Even though the exits were packed with people, everyone looked like they were content. That was possibly due to whatever it was that caused a strong odor to waft through the air shortly after the concert started [ahem], but likely it was because the first show of Vertigo’s third leg went so well. Yes, I caught the occasional missed note here and there, but who cares. It was wonderful.

It was U2.

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Old 09-14-2005, 08:27 PM   #2
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Yep ! - Absolute Greatness that first Show Was. I was Originally
3 Rows from the Front of the Stage as ussual for a U2 Concert and then all of a Sudden this Imitation Bono comes Through the
Crowd and Everyone Goes Bananas - Cause Being Movie Week
in Toronto You Just Never Know , So I Actually Ended up 8 Rows
Back Just Due to the Sheer Force of the Audience . But I Still Kept
My All Ireland Winners Armagh Shirt on and I Didnt Lose My Clavice Ring Bought Outside the Clarence Hotel , But Man it was
Close . It was Hard Enough Keeping your Shoes on . I Guess its
Just Cause its Been Awhile but When You Look Around At all
those People in the Stadium , You Realize that there are alot of
U2 Nuts Out there - Thank God ( UP KERRY ! )

Gonna Try to Get Tickets Somehow for the Next Two Concerts
- Some Where Hi in the Stands this time Though , with Some Buddies instead of the Girlfriend this Time. Whats Great about
a U2 Show is you can Get your Ass Grabbed by Tonnes Of Great
Looking Girls on the Floor and Its Not Your Fault . I Did get a
Blast about that after the show but it didnt matter really Cause
I Couldnt Hear Anything until the Next Afternoon .

I think U2 Is Really Gonna Put the Gas Pedal Down on these Next
3 Shows For Sure - What a Show it Was - It takes U2 all of One
Song Before you are Mystified and In the Musical Zone. WoW !

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Old 09-14-2005, 08:57 PM   #3
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Good review, and it was a night I know I won't forget, seeing this great band in concert for the first time.

I also thought it was odd that people were clapping along to Miss Sarajevo but what can you do? I thought it looked like Bono was actually trying to get them all to stop (when he put his hands up) during the song but was unsuccessful.
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Old 09-14-2005, 11:58 PM   #4
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Thanks--I think it was scaled down from the original novel I emailed to Carrie.
And now I have GREAT NEWS!!!--After waiting 5 hours in the rain outside the ACC, I met the Edge. After promising to come out after the soundcheck (as there was no time before for any of the band members to meet the fans), FINALLY at 7pm Edge comes out for a few minutes and heads back in.
What a day.
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Old 09-15-2005, 08:10 PM   #5
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Great review
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Old 12-01-2005, 11:00 AM   #6
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Great've got me psyched for the Dec. 10 show in Cleveland, OH. I'm going to try my best to meet them too (esp. Bono) but I will have my sister tagging along as well...I don't think she will stand out in the cold with me!

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