U2 Elevation Tour
Elevation Tour 3rd leg: North America
: Joyce Center - South Bend, Indiana, USA
You, too? It’s a ‘Beautiful Day’John Eby (published on 2001-10-11)
Source: Niles Daily Star
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — When you’re U2, one of the greatest rock bands in the world, concerts equal Events. Songs are anthems.
At this stage in its expansive career, the enduring and ambitious Irish band’s idea of an intimate club venue is 10,000 delirious fans at the University of Notre Dame and nine New York firefighters and police officers parading behind Bono around the heart-shaped stage for an emotional finale, “Walk On,” adding yet a few more decibels to the already deafening din with chants of “USA! USA!”
A crowd primed by weeks of unrelenting hype doesn’t have to be Elevated, just unleashed.
U2 set the stage in three songs Wednesday night. Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” The Beatles’ “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” And as anticipation accelerated across the arena, the sound system cranked the Fab Four’s “All You Need is Love” — perhaps to promote peace and hope in the face of war, but also as a reminder of the 1967 song that was first broadcast worldwide. That set the bar pretty high, but U2 delivered with a passion.
U2’s Indiana concert, kicking off the third leg of the North American tour, was broadcast live Across the Universe on the band’s Web site, U2.com, with views from all over the stage — including a pioneering 360-degree camera delivering ‘the heart’ of the Elevation live experience.
The Webcast was being replayed at 3 p.m. for European fans.
When you’re U2 you don’t have to dim the house lights and sneak onto the stage in the dark through a cloud of smoke, you saunter out, then white lights explode on cue throughout sunny Bono’s uplifting opener, “Beautiful Day.”
It took a crew of almost 100 people 12 hours to unload 18 trucks carrying 360 tons of equipment to tour in support of its lucky 13th album “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” which won Grammys for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group for “Beautiful Day.”
U2 is playing smaller arenas for the first time since 1992. The “PopMart” stadium tour in 1997 grossed $125 million, but another visual extravaganza like “ZooTV” overwhelmed their music, which also proved a problem for the opening act, Shirley Manson and Garbage, in their first concert in two years.
This tour, which began March 24 in Miami, “is easily the year’s most anticipated roadshow,” according to Rolling Stone.
While taking advantage of all that technology can provide, music was firmly the centerpiece.
U2 heightened the fan-band relationship by removing seats from the arena floor. They even made the mosh pit of pumping fists, which grasped at Bono as he pranced around the track encircling them, the cheapest tickets, though no one anywhere else in the pricier parts of the arena ever sat down, even during slower songs.
Video screens were very understated, reflecting that designer Willie Williams, who has worked with the band since 1982, wanted none at all, but compromised because “the people in the back need to see, but I was determined to find a way of doing it without falling into the trap of thinking that you have to make an HBO special on either side of the stage,” he told Rolling Stone.
Before U2 played a note, the Notre Dame student newspaper, The Observer, previewed the performance as “the greatest concert the Joyce has ever held.”
Often plagiarised, never matched.