Opening Act(s): PJ Harvey
Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until The End Of The World, New Year’s Day, Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, Gone, Even Better Than The Real Thing, New York, I Will Follow, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Sweetest Thing, In A Little While, Desire, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Bad, Where The Streets Have No Name, Mysterious Ways, The Fly. Encore: Bullet The Blue Sky, With Or Without You, Pride (In The Name Of Love), One-Unchained Melody, Walk On.
The entire Evans family, including The Edge’s parents, are in the arena. Bono dances on stage with two of The Edge’s daughters during different songs.
U2 Returns To Basics, Rocks Crowd In Tacoma
by Gene Stout
Ditching the giant lemon and mammoth LED screen of its 1997 “PopMart” tour, Irish supergroup U2 treated fans to a stripped-down but no less exhilarating performance last night at the Tacoma Dome.
The two-hour show was part of the group’s current “Elevation” tour, which is playing smaller venues than the last tour. In December 1997, U2’s “PopMart” was the last major rock tour to visit the now-demolished Kingdome, marking the end of an era for rock shows in Seattle.
Lead singer Bono and his bandmates — guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. — performed on a flat stage in the middle of a circular, strobe-lighted catwalk that allowed band members to venture into the crowd. Just below the stage were several hundred fans lucky enough to get passes to the exclusive area.
“Standing Only” tickets on the main floor, priced at $45 each, also allowed fans a close-up view of the legendary band.
Bono and company entered the stage with no fanfare, with the house lights still turned up, for the opening song, “Elevation.” During the second song, “Beautiful Day,” from the new album “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” a half dozen video screens flickered to life above the stage. In the middle of the song, Bono lay down on the catwalk and rolled over to kiss a female fan standing in the exclusive catwalk corral. Throughout the show, Bono crouched to shake hands with fans on either side of the catwalk.
The new songs were as exciting as the classics. The crowd exploded for “New Year’s Day,” a soaring, signature song accompanied by a video projected onto the ceiling.
Bono told the crowd that the band’s hometown of Dublin, Ireland, had something profoundly in common with Seattle and Tacoma — rain. He described rain as “an extraordinary force” in the creative process. His comment preceded a new song, “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of.”
During another new song, “New York,” Bono performed in front of one of a half dozen semi-transparent screens lowered from the ceiling. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat, Bono looked like a ’30s gangster, his giant shadow sprawled across the screen.
The capacity crowd again exploded for “I Will Follow,” the group’s anthemic coming-of-age song from the 1980s. Fans were on their feet clapping along to another early hit, the moving “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” into which Bono interjected Bob Marley’s words of solidarity, “Get up, stand up. Stand up for your rights.”
After inviting band members one-by-one to the edge of the catwalk, Bono performed a sweet version of “In a Little While” while The Edge played beside him. Bono followed with a powerful acoustic “Desire” as the crowd sang along.
The Tacoma Dome quivered during a soaring version of “Where the Streets Have No Name.” Bono sprinted around the catwalk while fans rocked back and forth. Lying atop a pop-up video screen at the rear of the stage, Bono sang another unforgettable anthem, “Mysterious Ways.”
Following an anti-gun video that featured a clip of NRA spokesman Charlton Heston, the main set concluded with a trio of blockbuster songs: “Bullet the Blue Sky,” “With Or Without You” and “Pride (In the Name of Love.”
Bono and the band finally bid adieu with an encore of “One” and “Walk On.”
Opening act was British singer-songwriter PJ Harvey, whose edgy, 35-minute set focused on songs from her current album, “Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea.” Backed by a four-piece band, she mixed hard-rocking songs with melancholy ballads. Her show would have been more at home in a large nightclub.
All images are © Seattle Post-Intelligencer; © Randy Greencorn