By STEFAN STEVENSON Star-Telegram Staff Writer
DALLAS - Desperate times call for desperate measures and a band like U2 was made for times like these. U2, which played Reunion Arena on Sunday night, is perhaps the only band in the world that can handle serious matters with the perfect mix of emotion and skill. Most bands wouldn't even have the nerve to try.
U2 has always been a band that tries to understand the world's problems, to use song to make sense of tragedies like Martin Luther King's assassination (Pride), the violence in Northern Ireland (Sunday Bloody Sunday and (Please), and to address Third World hunger and debt.
These days, U2's serious songs take on new meaning. "We could have written this song three months ago," Bono said during the introduction to Please, from 1997's Pop album, making reference to the Sept. 11 attacks. "It's about religious fanatics and political extremists. People who re-create God into their own image." By the fifth song, it was clear the set list had been drastically altered from last April when U2 played Dallas on the first leg of their Elevation Tour.
Instead of Mysterious Ways, U2 dusted off their first single, 1979's Out of Control. During the song, Bono told how a young band tried to get London radio stations to play the song. In God's Country, with its themes of America, was resurrected, too, as it had been for the show in Phoenix on Friday. Bono dedicated Kite, from the new All That You Can't Leave Behind album, to the late INXS singer Michael Hutchence.
During the encore, the names of the Sept. 11 victims, including New York City police officers and firefighters, were scrolled on a screen behind the stage as U2 played One, a plea for understanding and love. The crowd roared.
Overall, the evening was serious, almost spiritual. A talkative Bono had the entire crowd singing like a choir on I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, a song he punctuated with the words, "Time to go to church."
Gwen Stefani, from opening band No Doubt, joined Bono for a cover of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On during the encore.