Opening Act(s): PJ Harvey
Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until The End Of The World, Discothèque-Staring At The Sun, Kite, New York, Out Of Control, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Wake Up Dead Man, Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, 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, Angel Of Harlem, One, Walk On.
Angel Of Harlem is played in response to a fan request, and the first verse is done by just Bono and The Edge, with Adam and Larry joining in for the rest of the song. This concert also features the last performance of The Ground Beneath Her Feet.
“A Sort Of Homecoming…” U2
Elevation 2001, Earls Court London, UK, Show 2
by Kelly Gateson
U2’s first gigs in London since the ‘intimate’ concert staged at London’s Astoria early this year, Earls Court saw the tour ‘Elevation 2001’ roll into town and ready to party. With their most recent album ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ U2 have gone back to basics and stripped down to their roots, as a 4 piece, still all original band members, almost humbling themselves to all that they started from and counting their blessings.
Sunday, 19th August and many in the crowd have been awaiting this for some time. They’ve sacrificed a Sunday to stand in a queue for hours on a typically rainy gray day, to be able to get up close and personal with the Irish band at this huge venue.
A glittering PJ Harvey opened around 7.30pm, and the excitement was definitely mounting to a real energy buzz. A really passionate performance, her set contained songs from her recent album ‘Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea’, including the popular hum-able single ‘Good Fortune’ and ‘This is Love’. Also tracks from her previous album ‘To Bring You My Love’. Polly Jean served as a perfect warm up to get the crowd ‘in the mood’ to rock ‘n’ roll with style.
House lights were up and a riff starts of ‘Elevation’ from U2’s new album “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”, and the fans start jigging around. Then non-chalantly the band strolled on one by one and the crowd just exploded into marathon jumping on the spot along with Bono in a joyous fashion as they crashed through the song.
Following ‘Elevation’ and ‘Beautiful Day’ they eased into ‘Until the End of The World’ with Edge’s unmistakable electrifying guitar riff and the thousands of eyes on the band followed in belting out every lyric emphatically. The backdrop to the stage was white screens, which the silhouettes of the band were projected up on, which just underlined the simplicity of their whole show. U2 have ventured into, and gone beyond the extreme, with 40ft glitter ball lemons, and huge TV screens as stage spectacles. But now truly they have ‘arrived’, returning to what made them so fantastic and inspirational in the first place (no, not Bono’s ever so stylish mullet hair do!), tonight it’s all about the music, their talent is the spectacle to see here.
When they launched into such spine tingling classics as ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ ‘Pride’ with ‘Mysterious Ways’ sandwiched in-between, ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ and ‘With or Without you’, you could easily tell that the band were caught up in the midst of the whole vibe. They played with an enthusiasm, tightness and skill rare in many of today’s performers. The guys totally ‘got down wit’ it’ with ‘Discotheque’ to which Bono was gyrating, and ‘Staring at the Sun’ (both from the album Pop), and sent a wave of heads rocking when they dived headlong into, ‘New York’ and ‘Bullet the Blue Sky’. Not neglecting their early work at all they dug even deeper into the archives and dragged up their first ever single, ‘Out of Control’. Bono’s introduction to ‘The Ground Beneath Her Feet’ was quite unique too, “now, we’re gonna do a song by a famous old punk band called the ‘Salman Rushdie’s”!
Emotions were running high when the high powered song of ‘All I want is you’ came ringing out as Bono wandered round the ramps gazing in to the sea of people and seemingly meaning every word of what he was singing. ‘Kite’ was dedicated to his father, Bob Hewson, who is unfortunately very ill at the moment. (Since passed away on 21st August).
Looking genuinely touched and taken-a-back at the crowd’s reaction to every song and his every whim, Bono seemed to be beaming. They returned for en cores twice, ‘Angel of Harlem’ was started with just Bono on an acoustic guitar, and then Adam, The Edge and Larry kicked in for the second verse, which had the dramatic effect desired, and the audience were reeling. ‘One’ was welcomed with open arms swaying and they stomped through ‘Walk On’ which saw the close of the entire set, 2 hours of pure adrenaline and superb musicianship.
My faith was restored that such talent still exists within a real band unit, with musicians playing their heart and soul out and dealing out the passion that makes U2 such a great musical and lyrical force.
All images are © Susanne Kempf