Bono, The Edge take Gillette Stadium to planet U2

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By Jed Gottlieb

Witness the power of a fully operational U2.

Last night the spaceship - as Bono called the in-the-round stage setup - landed at Gillette Stadium and four Irish aliens emerged as the biggest rock stars in the world. That's what happens when you project yourself on a 360-degree, 14,000-square-foot video screen.

Those who despise Bono, Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. for growing up (and up and up) to be a parody of the furious, little new wave punks they began as would have hated U2's latest, greatest show on earth. But for 60,000 fans last night (and for thousands more tonight), it was a mothership - a 150-foot tall, pastel green and orange-spotted, claw-shaped mothership buzzing with a million points of light - come to take them to planet U2.

Although in the cheap seats there were complaints of an incessant echo, lower down the sound was as clear as the high-def video.

The band began with four from spectacular new album "No Line on the Horizon." But it wasn't until they started going back - a slick, spare "Mysterious Ways," a very Red Rocks "New Year's Day," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" with a closing "Stand By Me" stadium singalong - that the crowd fell for Bono and band again.

Oh, yeah, Bono brought the charisma early with presence no one else quite has (sorry, Bruce). But this band is the Edge's.

Bono's king, but Edge is the prime minster, the genius who fearlessly leads his ace rhythm section. His complex-and-simple, full-frontal, buzzing, reverbed, shimmering guitar drove "Get on Your Boots" and "Elevation," "Vertigo" and "Where the Streets Have No Name." Even Bono's bigness was overcome by Edge's intimate acoustic guitar and delicate high harmonies on "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of."

Taken in total it was a typical U2 show, which means it was unlike anything else. Bono championed peace and political awareness - "Sunday Bloody Sunday" was recast an anthem for a free Iran, "MLK" and "Walk On" were dedicated to Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi. Edge was, as Bono said, a test-tube baby born of Jimmy Page and Stephen Hawking. Mullin and Clayton provided the brilliant heartbeat for hits from "One" to "With or Without You."

Not the flash of Zoo TV or the earnestness of the Joshua Tree Tour, but a middle ground that topped neither. But not bad for a band that played the Somerville Theatre six-months ago.

Snow Patrol, which is kinda like a junior varsity version of U2, opened the show with a 45-minute set. The stadium was less than half full when the Irish quintet began, but those who came early almost rocked out to the almost-arena-rock band. Ubiquitous '06 hit "Chasing Cars" was damn dull, but "Shut Your Eyes" had the fans upfront shouting along, and "Open Your Eyes" exploded with a Coldplay-like crescendo.

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© Copyright by the Boston Herald and Herald Media.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on September 21, 2009 9:08 PM.

U2 think big at Gillette Stadium was the previous entry in this blog.

U2 BlackBerry App Is Poorly Executed; Disappoints Fans Looking For A Full Album Experience is the next entry in this blog.

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