Sunday, October 4, 2009

U2 at Carter Finley Stadium

The stars of U2's show at Carter Finley Stadium were clearly the bands themselves, but the state-of-the-art swiss army knife of a stage was a big participant in last nights show. An energetic set by Muse was the opening of the nights proceedings and was very good, in particular songs from their new recording The Resistance. Standouts from that set included the spirited guitar stabs of Uprising and the transe inducing Resistance.

U2 is in fine form with Bono in good voice for the entire night and the Edge and Company holding their end up with panache. The seeming unscripted parts of last nights performance were entertaining as well: like the child who was pulled onstage during City of Lights to whom Bono gave his trademark spectacles, or the off hand impromptu versions of standards like Amazing Grace and Stand by Me. Luckily a beautiful full moon and comfortable weather made the show that much more enjoyable.

Bono has not given up the bands political edge at all speaking last night on the topics of Burma, the ending of apartheid in South Africa, HIV, repression of freedom in Iran, the American war in Iraq and Afghanistan; with the recently detained Burmese opposition leader Ann San Suu Kyi a subject of an image montage while Bono literally sang her praises. I thought the songs from War were as fresh as when I heard them in Chapel Hill in 1983 at the Spring Fling where U2 kicked off he War tour in the U.S.

The material from the latest album "No Line on the Horizon" fared better in concert than I would have guessed and consolidated my liking of songs like Magnificient and No Line on the Horizon. The band did an largely improved very different version of I'll Go Crazy which holds up much better than the recorded version. There was a video presentation by the former Archbishop Desmond TuTu before the song One which was very effective and quite moving in its own way. This show sets a very high standard for artistic and multimedia integration in stage performances going forward for all bands at this level. As well as being musically satisfying it was without peer in regard to presentation.

Set List:

Get on Your Boots
Mysterious Ways
Beautiful Day
No Line on the Horizon
In a Little While
New Year's Day
Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Stand by Me
Stuck in a Moment (acoustic)
The Unforgettable Fire
City of Blinding Lights
I'll Go Crazy (If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight)
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Walk On
Where the Streets Have No Name
With or Without You
Moment of Surrender