By Jon Pareles, The New York Times
TULSA, Okla. -- Love and hope contend with trauma and dread in U2's Experience + Innocence worldwide arena tour, which opened Wednesday night at the BOK Center here. Positive thinking isn't guaranteed to prevail; the state of the world is too unsettled for U2 to make promises. For decades, the band has treated arenas and stadiums as havens of community through shared songs. This time, the singalongs are mixed with warnings and pleas to save an endangered American dream.
Call it ambitious or call it presumptuous, but it's rock that arrives with a sense of mission -- so much so that U2's echoing chords and martial beats have long since become shorthand for earnest idealism in what remains of current rock. Becoming a voice of conscience is a job that few of the long-running rock bands who can still command the arena circuit -- Bruce Springsteen excepted -- are willing to shoulder. But on Wednesday night, U2 got its audience loudly chanting "No more war!" in the middle of "Sunday Bloody Sunday."