U2 Elevation Tour
Elevation Tour 3rd leg: North America
: Joyce Center - South Bend, Indiana, USA
U2 saves best message for lastAndrew S. Hughes (published on 2001-10-11)
Source: South Bend Tribune
Band makes strong statement bringing NYC firefighters, police on stage
By ANDREW S. HUGHES
Tribune Staff Writer
U2 -- one of rock's most political and spiritual bands -- saved its symbolic trump card for last on Wednesday night at the University of Notre Dame's Joyce Center.
During its last song, "Walk On," the band was joined on stage by nine members of the New York City police and fire departments. U2 vocalist Bono led them in a parade around the arena on the outer edge of the band's heart-shaped stage in what served as the culmination to an evening-long affirmation of faith and resilience.
From even before U2 took the stage, the events of Sept. 11 suggested an interpretation to how the concert's set list would be composed as the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" led into the band's emergence on stage.
With the lights on full in the Joyce Center for "Beautiful Day," U2 connected immediately with its audience and established an intimacy between it and the 10,000 people there that belied the concert's arena setting.
From there, the first 13 of approximately two dozen songs played Wednesday formed a thematic response to Sept. 11 that drew from the major periods of U2's career and revealed a remarkable consistency in the band's subject matter and outlook during the last two decades.
Bono's deep, hushed voice gave "New Year's Day" a hymn-like quality, while the band's performance packed all the power and freshness it had on the original recording 18 years ago
U2 covered Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" early in the concert, and its rendition was clearly that of U2 - The Edge's piercing, high-pitched guitar notes and Larry Mullins Jr.'s use of his tom-toms for the song's percussion part -- but it also possessed the contemporary urgency of Gaye's 1971 recording.
Rather than fall to sentimentality, U2 played the new song "New York" as a celebration -- "I've got an unquenchable thirst for New York."
Whether it was on classics such as "New Year's Day" or "Sunday, Bloody, Sunday" or on new hits such as "Beautiful Day" or "Elevation," U2 performed with a vitality and sense of purpose usually found only in the performances of younger bands. Gone were the out-sized pop art production values of the '90s for this first show on the third leg of the Elevation 2001 Tour. Just as the 2000 album "All That You Can't Leave Behind" did for them on record, U2's stage show Wednesday dispensed with such high-tech distractions to reclaim its position as a rock and roll band.
Garbage opened with a 40-minute set that revealed them to be a talented group of pastiche artists. The 11 songs in the group's set combined elements of Depeche Mode, Bruce Springsteen, Eurythmics, Madonna and Pat Benatar.
A band in need of a string of bar gigs, Garbage was playing its first show in two years Wednesday night, and it showed in some ways. The group appeared dwarfed by its own sound, and its members seemed disconnected from each other. Disappointingly, for a band whose albums I like, Garbage generated little crowd response; perhaps with a few more shows in front of U2 as an example, it'll learn how to be a band and not a group.
Often plagiarised, never matched.