U2 Elevation Tour
Elevation Tour 1st leg: North America
: First Union Center - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
U2 Live in PhiladelphiaPaul Familetti (published on 2001-06-12)
June 11, 2001. Philadelphia, PA-From the first time I saw U2 at Philly's Tower Theater (on 1983's War tour) to Monday night's First Union Center show, and all the times in between, U2 have been able to make a theater seem worldly, and an arena seem intimate. Walking on stage with the house lights up and the "Elevation" backing track blaring, the band waved to the wailing sold-out crowd, and then flew into their new single-led of course by Bono's signature falsetto.
But unlike previous tours, in which the band would only reflect on the past through the musical tribute, Bono is openly reminiscing these days, while still remaining ever bewildered by the screaming throngs of fans. The set, which touched on every album except October, was dominated by material from the band's latest release, All That You Can't Leave Behind. In a way, this is a true testament to U2's continuing commitment to themselves and their audience in that neither has become tired or complacent. U2 aren't relying on past success, but are instead using it as a springboard for future glory. This was best exemplified when Bono invited a young woman with a Ramones t-shirt up to the stage to help sing "In A Little While," and closing the show with the epically triumphant "Walk On."
With that said, the pinnacle of the evening was the pairing of "Stay" and "Bad," from Zooropa and The Unforgettable Fire respectively. Performed acoustically, "Stay" came off as a complete antithesis of the electronic-leaning album from which it came, while the latter still managed to exemplify the energy that has always embodied the Irish quartet.
"Bullet The Blue Sky" opened the encore. Bono intertwined the song's lyrics with the events of the day: "You woke up this morning, and he lays his head back, eyes open / Outside is America," in reference to the pending execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. And wrapped around The Edge's searing guitar solos, Bono's words played out as sobering observation instead of agenda touting. On a lighter note, the song also proved that U2 can still rock-something I wish they would do more of in their set these days.
All in all, there were few surprises (go to the U2 web site and you'll basically know what you're going to get). It's clear the band won't be pulling out any rare gems that a hardcore fan might hope for. The only common links between '83 and '01 were "I Will Follow" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday." However, with this tour proving that less is more, the conceptual juggernaut that is U2 still boils down to four passionate lads who know how to bring the rock. Some things never change.
Until the End of the World
(In My Life) Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of
I Will Follow
Sunday Bloody Sunday (Get Up, Stand Up)
In A Little While
Bad (ending with 40)
Where the Streets Have No Name
Bullet the Blue Sky
With or Without You
Often plagiarised, never matched.