Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Hello hello (hola!)

Well, these old guys sure do know how to show the young 'uns how to do it ... twenty-five plus years at this game and they only seem to keep getting better. Say what you will about the music, whether the albums are up or down, they peaked in 1984, in '87, in '91, they've sold out, they're repeating themselves, they never lived up to the promise of The Joshua Tree, or Achtung Baby or whatever. Blah, blah, blah.

I don't care about any of that. To say U2 still know how to put on a show is a drastic understatement.

Tonight: the Air Canada Center. First show of the third leg of the Vertigo tour. Seats? Floors, baby. Where on the floor? In the ellipse. How far from the stage? About five bodies.

The show itself? Quite possibly one of the best I've ever seen anywhere, anytime, by anybody.

After a rather frustrating long wait in line to get into the general admission area, the waiting paid off (or at least was made worthwhile) at the point where they scan your tickets to see whether you're in or out of the ellipse. For those unfamiliar with what I mean: for the Elevation tour, they had a stage in the shape of a heart, the inside of which housed the prime floor seats. The band has gone with the same basic idea again, this time with an ellipse. The ellipse tickets are randomly scattered amongst the floor seats, and you discover whether you're one of U2's elect after passing through the turnstile and having your ticket scanned.

And yes ... Kristen and I were among the elect. The chosen few, you might say ... which brought us within spitting distance of the stage.

And what a show. I won't attempt to describe the light show ... for that, see if you can get your hands on last month's Wired -- William Gibson has an article in there that does the show much more justice than I can.

Tonight's play list:

I Will Follow
Electric Co.
Beautiful Day
In a Little While
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
City of Blinding Lights
Miracle Drug
Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own
Love and Peace or Else
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Bullet the Blue Sky
Miss Sarajevo
Pride (In the Name of Love)
Where the Streets Have No Name
Old Man River

Zoo Station
The Fly
With or Without You

All Because of You
Fast Cars

Total Concert Time: 2 hours, 20 min.

Spotted: Corporate break dancers. While we were outside waiting in the endless lineup, a trio of kids with a ghetto blaster and T-shirts saying "Fido after hours series" danced for the benefit of the generally unimpressed U2 fans.

Also spotted: Former students Sarah and J.Po. Sarah was en route to the peon seats in the bleachers; J.Po was meeting a friend at Union to go see Bloc Party. Which I imagine rates somewhat higher on the cool-O-meter, but with a much inferior light show.

Unfortunate decision in this tour's concert tees: Some of the shirts were black and sporting a red "V" that looked painted on. Very striking, but I couldn't help thinking of that 1980s alien invasion series.

Unfortunate repeated gesture on Bono's part: During the refrain of "City of Blinding Lights," he kept touching his heart and raising his hand in salute to the crowd. While presumably a heartfelt gesture of love and community, it looked disturbingly like he was zieg-heiling.

Watching my favourite band age: Adam has let his hair go grey, but it looks really good on him. Bono looks pretty rough, and needs to get some exercise. Larry is Larry--actually gets better looking as he ages--but needs a haircut. And I think Edge is ageless. He pretty much looks exactly the way he did when he first adopted this look (watchcap, goatee) back in the Achtung, Baby days.


amy said...

now I'd actually been wondering if they still always ended with 40
how reassuringly stable

mr. tomas ubik said...

I was across town with j.po though I didnt see him. I did however see 90 thousand other people amongst the crowd.

I was in the heart for the elevation tour....a riot indeed.

Justin Power said...

You were there too, Jay? I thought I saw The deWaard on the way out, but wasn't sure. Pity we didn't run into each other.

And imagine my surprise upon seeing Doc Lock, a man I assumed to be on the far corners of the continent. I'm beginning to think that the supposed position at MUN and his subsequent blog entries are merely part of an intricate ruse to keep us former MIT'ers from enrolling in any more of his classes...

Mark P said...

Hey there Chris (or, in the spirit of the post, ola)

I was at the third TO show. My seats were third deck, rather than in the ellipse (you lucky bastard!), but it was still pretty amazing. 1000 Bloc Party concerts couldn't make up for one U2 show.

Anyway, good to see you're enjoying yourself on the Rock.