U2 Vertigo Tour
Vertigo Tour 1st leg: North America
: Fleet Center - Boston, Massachusetts, USA
U2 thunders on its second nightSteve Morse (published on 2005-05-27)
Source: Boston Globe
By Steve Morse, Globe Staff | May 28, 2005
Reprinted from late editions of yesterday's Globe.
U2 may be peaceniks, but they have a warrior mentality onstage. They were even more potent Thursday night than they were at Tuesday's FleetCenter debut. The sound was better, the playing more impassioned; Bono's raps were more cohesive; and a few notable changes in the song sequence sent this show straight to the A-list of U2 memories.
An air of excitement built early because U2 revealed backstage that it will perform at the just-confirmed 20th anniversary of Live Aid in London on July 2.
Blastoff at the FleetCenter came with the same three songs from Tuesday -- a surging ''City of Blinding Lights" (with huge curtains of LED lights dropped from the overheard rigging), a bone-crunching ''Vertigo," and tribal, call-and-response vocals with the crowd on ''Elevation," as Bono addressed the fans as ''sexy people."
Then came a song the band didn't play Tuesday -- the euphoric ''Gloria," sung with a gospel vigor and enhanced by the Edge on vocal harmonies. I can't remember another band taking fans higher after only four songs.
The upbeat tone was furthered by ''Beautiful Day," before Bono launched a long rap about how Boston is not just ''the city of Aerosmith and the Cars" but is filled with ''smart people who believe in the future, who have faith in the future." In introducing the song ''Miracle Drug," he talked about how Boston is known for its medical community and that ''God inspires scientists and nurses." He spoke more openly about God on Thursday night than he has in quite a while onstage -- and later he talked about religious leaders from Jesus to Mohammed and how they were ''all sons of Abraham."
Oh yes, and then the band rocked. An antiwar theme ran through a powerful segue from punk-rocking ''Sunday Bloody Sunday" to the heavy-metal-drenched ''Bullet the Blue Sky," as Bono, draped in a white bandana, touchingly added verses from the Civil War song ''When Johnny Comes Marching Home."
The song ''Running to Stand Still" was dedicated, without sarcasm, to the men and women of the US military. It was followed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights scrolled on a video screen, leading to a thunderous ''Pride (In the Name of Love)," a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.
Bono, who often walked on a circular ramp extending halfway onto the floor (he also briefly played a drum out there), took the main set home with the spiritual exaltation of ''Where the Streets Have No Name" and ''One," which was prefaced by a poignant speech on the need to eradicate poverty and alleviate Third World debt.
The first encore was ''The Fly," followed later by a new insertion, ''Original of the Species." Most of the show featured songs from Tuesday, but the few changes helped sharpen the focus of an already transcendentally compiled program.
Openers Kings of Leon slammed through an uncompromising set of primitive, mule-skinner rock with great energy and swagger.
Often plagiarised, never matched.