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U2 Elevation Tour

Elevation Tour 1st leg: North America

: Fleet Center - Boston, Massachusetts, USA

View all performances at Fleet Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

U2 leaves many memories behind at the FleetCenter

Jim Sullivan (published on 2001-06-11)

Source: Boston Globe

And so it ended, four nights of U2mania in the American city that first adopted the Dublin rockers so long ago. The band was playing ''Walk On,'' its final encore at the sold-out FleetCenter Saturday, when a large, muscular guy leapt up onto the heart-shaped catwalk and sprinted to the stage before a security man tackled him. The man reached out plaintively, theatrically, to singer Bono, who spied him, rushed over, and angrily wrestled the security man off the fan. Bono and the fan hugged. The fan picked the fireplug-built Bono up, twirled him around, set him down. The fan went off, backstage. The band finished up. The crowd was delirious.

We suspect it was a set-up, the guy a plant, but it made for good drama and that, to a degree, is what U2 is about, once again. On their latest CD, ''All That You Can't Leave Behind,'' and on this ''Elevation'' tour, they've embraced the wide-screen, anthemic rock sound that once defined them, leaving behind the more experimental/techno direction of ''Pop'' and the ironic trappings of the ''Pop Mart'' tour. It's back to home base for U2, and if it is a conservative move, it's also an effective one. Yes, they're the greatest band of our time.

Much has been made of the band's, and particularly Bono's, celebrity. Fair enough, it's the age we live in. But celebrity comes about for a reason (sometimes), from a source, and that's the connection U2 has made musically. They're the rare band that understands cynicism and negativity and still whooshes us toward the light. There's an undertone of spirituality and a palpable political punch. And there's a history of this. U2 may be one of the last bands to have this kind of career, with rock becoming more and more disposable, tastes shifting with the wind, and everybody oriented toward the quick hit, not the career build. The fact that the band's composition remains the same - the ace rhythm section of drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton being the unsung half - means something, too, in an ever-fractured age.

Some particulars: They moved ''Pride (In the Name of Love)'' up to No. 2 in the set, bringing the crowd close to ecstasy, took everyone to the top with ''Out of Control,'' a rarely played early tune, and spun the sensual spell of ''Mysterious Ways.'' Bono gave the Beatles' ''In My Life'' an a cappella treatment.

How much of a love affair was it? Bono, who was in fine voice, and guitarist the Edge used the catwalk to interact with each other (a peck on the cheek from singer to guitarist) and the audience. During ''The Fly,'' which featured a snippet from Iggy Pop's ''Lust for Life,'' Bono appeared to be making love to the audience. After ''Out of Control,'' Bono referenced the Edge's instrument and said, ''This guitar has carried us a long way: You people have carried us a long way; this city has carried us a long way.'' Then came ''Sunday Bloody Sunday,'' a blast of righteous rock with a bit of Bob Marley's ''Get Up, Stand Up,'' tossed in, and ''Desire'' with a Bo Diddley beat beginning and a ''Gloria'' end. ''Bad,'' the most moving laundry list of human emotions you'll ever here, incorporated Elvis Costello's ''Alison'' - ''I know this world is killing you'' - doubly clever because Alison is Bono's wife's name and Costello was in the house.

More hits came: ''Where the Streets Have No Name,'' ''Beautiful Day,'' ''Bullet the Blue Sky'' (with a Charlton Heston pro-gun video clip segueing into a shot of a young child picking up a handgun and Bono intoning about an America ''at war with itself''), ''With or Without You,'' and ''One.'' For the encore, the Edge donned a Bruins jersey and Bono saluted ex-Bruin Ray Bourque and the Colorado Avalanche (Boston's adopted hockey team) as it was headed toward a Stanley Cup victory. That triumphant spirit was everywhere Saturday - a very good day to be alive.

We raved about P.J. Harvey when she played the Paradise last fall. Nothing's changed our mind. She and her band's opening set was terse, shimmering, sexy - strong in its own right and a perfect tablesetter for U2.


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