April 9, 2005 - San Jose, California, USA - HP Pavilion


Opening Act(s): Kings of Leon


City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo-Stories For Boys, Elevation, The Cry, The Electric Co., The Ocean, New Year's Day, Beautiful Day, Miracle Drug, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, Love And Peace Or Else, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bullet The Blue Sky-The Hands That Built America, Running To Stand Still, Zoo Station, The Fly, Mysterious Ways. Encore: Pride (In The Name Of Love), Where The Streets Have No Name, One. Second Encore: All Because Of You, Yahweh, 40.

Media Review:

San Jose Mercury News

U2's Stage Masterpiece

Group Dazzles Musically, Inspires Politically at San Jose Show

Brad Kava

The message at most concerts these days is simple: Buy our CDs, buy our T-shirts, make us rich and party on, dude.

U2's insistence to go beyond that is only one of the things that distinguishes the Irish band, which wouldn't need much of a campaign to be voted the best rock band in the world today.

During its 23-song, two-hour-show at San Jose's HP Pavilion Saturday night, the quartet not only was excellent musically, it was thought-provoking and politically stirring.

"You are used to hearing me pontificate," said singer Bono, born Paul Hewson 44 years ago, using a word that never has been more appropriate. "No self-respecting rock star is missing a little bit of a pope complex."

He used his bully pulpit to weave his political and economic concerns in with his music. No rock star today has become more of a thoughtful world figure (the bumper stickers endorsing him for president in 2008 weren't far off the mark).

Bono wasn't joking when he recalled how, during the band's 1992 Zooropa tour, he called the White House every night and no one there would take the calls. "Now, they do," he said. "And they are getting used to me."

At one point he asked those in the audience to raise their cell phones, extending a tradition begun in the dark ages of the 1969 Woodstock festival, when 300,000 people raised lit matches and turned the audience into a sea of stars.

In San Jose, phones pulsed colorfully like the background of a Star Wars film. But Bono added some content to the awe-inspiring sight at this sold-out show, posting a Web site on giant screens where fans could send text messages to pledge support of his campaign to fight poverty, something he hopes will enlist at least a million contributors over the course of this American tour.

Bono said the "defining moral issue of our time" is "not civil rights, but human rights. A fight for the right to live like a human."

The singer, whose political awards one day may outnumber his musical ones, has been fighting to raise money for Third World countries and to suspend their debts to industrialized ones.

"When Dr. King said, 'I have a dream,' he was talking about a dream big enough to fit the whole world," Bono said before launching an Africanized version of "Where the Streets Have No Name." "Not just the American dream or the European dream or the Asian dream or the African dream. It is a dream where everyone is created equal under the eyes of God."

At the centerpiece of the band's Elevation tour in 2001 was a giant memorial listing the names of the victims of the Sept. 11 attack. It was moving and subtle and brought tears to a rock audience more used to the opposites of subtlety and sobriety.

This time U2 presented the text of a 1948 United Nations proclamation condemning torture and calling for equal rights around the world. It followed the dedication of "Running to Stand Still" to the "brave men and women of the United States military," a moment that was not just subtle but ironic.

But what about the music, you are wondering. Sorry, I know you've never had to wade so far into a rock concert review to get to that.

For a decade, U2 has made excellence seem routine and did so again this time.

The band, which sold out two San Jose shows but has tickets remaining for a pair in Oakland in November, drew heavily from its last two albums, something few other stadium rock bands can do today. The show opened with a shimmering "City of Blinding Lights," shifting up to "Vertigo" and into higher gear still with "Elevation."

Then, in a moment that had to give pause to San Joseans who last year lost KSJO-FM, their only hard-rock FM radio station, Bono introduced "The Electric Co.," remembering how "we felt so cool" when we heard it on that station in 1980.

While no member of this quartet is considered a virtuoso at his instrument, the sum of these parts, having working together for 25 years, creates the rich textures of an orchestra. The stage set was again state-of-the-art, with a giant beaded curtain that also served as a screen for color and video.

The new songs, particularly a bass-whomping "Love and Peace or Else," broke through the shells that encase the album versions.

The band's melodic influences often are well-camouflaged, but a clear snippet of the Beatles' "Blackbird" was thrown into "Beautiful Day," which rang with some of the same chords, and "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" was spliced into "Bullet the Blue Sky."

Using a heart-shaped walkway that extended the stage into the audience, the band methodically covered the hits that broke it on U.S. radio, "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" and "New Year's Day," the fan-favorite closer "40," a heavy industrial "The Fly" and "Mysterious Ways." The only miss of the night was adding a watered-down melody to the normally astringent "Zoo Station."

And that was like the work of a religious master painter who adds a slight mistake, just to show that nothing human is perfect.

With its mix of politics, spirituality, charisma and intense playing, this concert was simply a masterpiece.

Copyright © 2005 Mercury News. All rights reserved.


I went to this show, and it blew me away. It was the best night of my life. During the opener, City of Blinding Lights, my eyes started to water a little because I couldn't believe that I was actually seeing U2 in concert. LOL. Vertigo, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, Love and Peace on Else and all of their new songs were great hearing live. I really enjoyed Bono's speech about the Pope and the Fly sunglasses. Of course songs like One, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Elevation, and Where the Streets Have No Name were phenomenal. The stage was great, the band was great, and the crowd was great. This concert couldn't have been any better.

April 9th 2005
This show was absolutely an incredible performance. Of course fans and first timers will always find a rough comment about this show to post. However, U2 did an outstanding job. When U2 ripped into "Electric Co." The Edge did a very aggressive solo version that made the house go wild. I have seen U2 live many times and hearing that song was awesome. Bono did another tribute to the late Pope John Paul II before busting into "Miricale Drug." "Love and Peace" was hot and Bono had alot of energy on that song drumming away at the large tom drum on the far edge of the cat walk. "Bullet the Blue Sky" was played at a slower tempo and The Edge tuned down the usual aggressive solo of the song to a more mellow version. The band did play it slower. "Elevation" was dragged out a couple of verses before the band drove into the song with Bono. I noticed The Edge used an acoustic guitar for songs like, "Love and Peace, The Fly and Yahweh." It sounded great! After Bono picked a girl up from the audience danced with here on stage during "Mysterious Ways," the band waited for Bono after eneding the song, to let the girl back so they could leave the stage for the first encore. While The Edge shrugged his shoulders to Bono, U2 decided to run through the first encore with out a break. They did however break for the last encore. The highlight of the show was when the band played "40" Adam Clayton was so engrossed in making sure he played the notes right with The Edges guitar! As the band slowly left one by one during the performance of "40" proceeding with first Bono, Adam and The Edge. Larry Mullen Jr. just kept playing the drums while the sold out crowd sang, "How long...," He stopped drumming puased and I saw him close his eyes, he looked out to the crowd shock his head. Almost in a state of aww...maybe he was taking a breath and taking it in after so many years since that posting at his old school, Mount Temple he would never dream of a sold out crowd singing while he alone drummed away to "40." Then out of no where he fiercely bagen to drum louder for another minute then Larry dropped his sticks and waved goodbye to the fans and the crowd went wild.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on April 10, 2005 4:50 AM.

April 6, 2005 - Los Angeles, California, USA - Staples Center was the previous entry in this blog.

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