Opening Act(s): Kelis
Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until The End Of The World, New Year’s Day, Kite, Gone, New York, Out Of Control, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Wake Up Dead Man, Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, The Sweetest Thing, Rain-Staring At The Sun, All I Want Is You, Where The Streets Have No Name, Mysterious Ways, Pride (In The Name Of Love). Encore: Bullet The Blue Sky, With Or Without You, One.
At this concert, snippets of ‘Could You Be Loved’ are sung by Bono at the end of ‘Pride’. Technical problems plague ‘One’ and the band leave the stage and don’t return as Herman Brood’s ‘My Way’ plays to a darkened arena.
BBC Manchester Online
U2 at the MEN Arena
by Chris Long
There’s something slightly disappointing about U2 when you finally get to see them live. After so many years of publicity, so many tours, so much hype, it comes as something of a tiny shock when four simple men walk on stage, rather than some sort of eighteen foot rock gods.
It’s a feeling that seems to exist in the group itself. Sure, Bono and the Edge do their best to live up to the expectations, racing round and round the loveheart catwalk stage, whipping their adoring fans into a frenzy, but back at the drum kit, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr huddle together looking slightly embarressed that they’re merely mortal.
The new songs don’t help. Elevation and Beautiful Day certainly rock like the old stuff, but there’s a sense of trying too hard to recapture something unobtainable, something from the days when they were still in touch with the rest of the world. It’s only when the old favourites get their run out that the tinge of disappoint lifts and the audience remembers why they’re here.
Despite having to suffer suitably overblown versions of Mysterious Ways, Sunday Bloody Sunday and a particularly self indulgent Bullet The Blue Sky, there was simply no taking away the sheer brilliance, emotion and passion of Where The Streets Have No Name, All I Want Is You and a fantastic With Or Without You (which also marked the only time the effects and lighting came anywhere near being worth the £40 it cost to get in).
There seems only two choices for Bono and the boys on tonight’s performance; either forget about being the huge rock band U2 and get back to writing from the heart rather than the chord book and rhyming dictionary (Bono should be shot for mole/hole rhyme in Elevation), or forget about new songs and give the audience what most of the people here had come for, U2 circa Rattle and Hum.
Happening verdict: Faraway, so close!