November 18, 2005 - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - Philips Arena

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Opening Act(s): Institute


City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, Elevation, Beautiful Day, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For-In A Little While, Mysterious Ways, Original Of The Species, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, Love And Peace Or Else, Sunday Bloody Sunday-Rock The Casbah, Bullet The Blue Sky, Miss Sarajevo, Pride (In The Name Of Love), Where The Streets Have No Name, One-Ol' Man River. Encore(s): Until The End Of The World, The Fly, With Or Without You, Happy Birthday, Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of, Yahweh, All Because Of You, 40.


Happy Birthday is sung for a member of U2's crew. Bono brings two young boys on stage to help shine the spotlight during 40. Near the end of the show, Bono thanks Richard Wright of Pink Floyd for their Live 8 performance (Wright is at the show). Also reportedly at the show are the members of R.E.M. Before All Because of You, Bono shares a dedication to Daniel Lanois which is taped for airing at an upcoming Canadian music awards ceremony where Lanois is being honored.

Media Review:

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

U2 at Philips Arena Friday night

by Phil Kloer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

There's a fine line between being the most charismatic rock star working these days and a fairly large serving of ham, and reasonable people can disagree on which side of the line Bono falls.

Of course, if there were any reasonable people heading into Philips Arena Friday or Saturday night for back-to-back, sold-out concerts by U2, there weren't any going out, because U2 just flat-out put on a synapse-frying show. One of the most intense rock 'n' roll light shows ever and a barrage of decibels combined for sensory overload.

Beaded curtains of light hung above the stage in sheets, flashing and showing shimmering images. The stage was surrounded by a huge, egg-shaped catwalk, which was itself lit with pulsing lights around the perimeter. It allowed the band members -- mainly famous frontman Bono-- to get off the stage, into the arena, and play to the crowd.

And play to the crowd he did, with as much showboating as Wayne Newton working a lounge in Vegas.

Friday night, he got a young woman out of the audience for a long slow dance to "With Or Without You." He donned a blindfold and pretended to be a political prisoner. He gave one shout out to America's military, another to New Orleans clean-up volunteers. He threw a few bars of "Georgia On My Mind" into the staggeringly propulsive opener "City of Blinding Lights."

He talked about his dad, and how he died recently, but was always asking Bono to take off his sunglasses. "So anyway, this is for you, dad," he said, taking off his ever-present shades, as the band launched into its recent hit "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own." "And it's you when I look in the mirror," he sang, to everyone's aging or dead parents. And he even hit the high notes.

That ham metaphor isn't a knock, more a nod of respect. U2 could charge triple digits for tickets (which they do), come out, play the tunes and move on, but they apparently want their fans to experience everything from emotional turmoil to a political awakening to partial hearing loss. (Man, were they loud.)

They've always been this way, more or less, for 25 years, with some slight missteps in the '90s when they got a little too cutesy, some felt. They've long since ditched the irony; Bono in concert these days is as serious as a biopsy report. The self-described "Irish megalomaniac" donned a headband with a Star of David, a Christian cross and a Muslim crescent moon on it for the anti-violence anthem "Sunday Bloody Sunday, announcing that "We are all sons of Abraham."

He promoted the One "campaign to make poverty history," got in a plug for his efforts on African debt relief, and scrolled the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the Jumbotron.

What U2 has gotten really good at, though, is integrating all that into two hours-plus of rock 'n' roll kick-in-the-head catharsis. That Jumbotron was frequently divided into four panels so all four band members were on display: Guitarist the Edge, with his stocking cap and array of killer licks, chiming, chopping, soaring and just filling Philips; bassist Adam Clayton, as stoic as Bono is histrionic; drummer Larrry Mullen, shown in close-up so you could see the tendons popping on his forearms.

Opening act the Institute suffered the same fate of most acts that have to go out in an arena of people still trickling in to see the headliner: Hardly anyone cared. Singer Gavin Rossdale, formerly of Bush, tried a little showboating himself, and he's got some moves, but after 45 minutes, the band hadn't really moved the needle.

Copyright © 2005 Atlanta Journal-Constitution. All rights reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on November 21, 2005 5:23 AM.

November 16, 2005 - Tampa, Florida, USA - St. Pete Times Forum was the previous entry in this blog.

November 19, 2005 - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - Philips Arena is the next entry in this blog.

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