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U2 Vertigo Tour

Vertigo Tour 3rd leg: North America

: Mellon Arena - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

View all performances at Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

U2 almost a religious experience

(published on 2005-10-24)

Source: Times Online

PITTSBURGH - There's a palpable spirituality that sets apart a U2 show from other rock concerts.

And so on Saturday night, when U2 singer Bono told the band's Mellon Arena fans to "take it to church," they instinctively knew what to do, clapping loudly in unison, which led nicely to the "I believe in the kingdom come" verse of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."

Such magical moments of connection and faith - between artists and their audience - made U2's latest Pittsburgh visit another unforgettable evening.

U2's 135-minute set began with spotlights bathing the crowd as Bono emerged unexpectedly at the bottom of the heart-shaped stage that the band also had used on its 2001 tour. Confetti dropped from the rafters, and hundreds of colorfully lit tennis-ball-sized beads framed the top of the stage, as the band launched into "City of Blinding Lights."

When that song ended, the dressed-in-black Bono said, "Some Spanish lessons now," and quicker than you can say "uno, dos, tres, catorce," the band ripped into "Vertigo" followed by "Elevation" and the beloved oldie "I Will Follow."

"Your city's looking good. Who painted the bridges yellow?" Bono inquired before the band charged into another oldie, "The Electric Co.," for which guitarist The Edge, in his trademark ski cap, fired off mean and manic riffs as his steps swiftly traced the stage.

Bono joked that Edge was really a time traveler from a future society in a faraway galaxy. Well, that would explain his unique-to-this-world guitar style, a chiming, atmospheric sound that warmly filled the ol' Igloo during "Miracle Drug," a 2004 song Bono dedicated to "the scientists and people who dream about the future."

You expect a certain amount of preaching from Bono, and the Dubliner (born Paul Hewson) didn't disappoint, especially in the show's heavy second act. Donning a white bandana illustrated with symbols of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, Bono discussed the importance of why we must "co-exist." To hammer home his point, he pulled from the audience two young brothers, whom he instructed to chant "No more," before soaring into the "We're so sick of it" climax of the politically charged "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

Then came the ominous sounding "Bullet the Blue Sky," which began with Bono posing like a prisoner, before he pulled the bandana down as a blindfold and stumbled his way to the microphone. He injected the song with a few lines of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again," then dedicated the song to "the brave men and women of the United States military."

Naturally, he talked about ending world hunger, as video screens encouraged fans to text-message a number to join the One campaign that addresses African poverty. The band then poignantly played its song "One."

Adding that One campaign workers are now helping Gulf Coast flood victims, Bono saluted the Mississippi Delta by dipping into a few choruses of "Old Man River," which he ended by saying "God Bless America."

Two other emotional moments came when he dedicated "Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own" to his late father and "Stuck in a Moment That You Can't Get Out Of" to his deceased friend, original INXS singer Michael Hutchence.

Sure, there were lighter moments, like in the encore when Bono whisked onto the stage a lanky young man holding a sign that said "Me + guitar = Party Girl." The John Mayer-ish looking kid enjoyed a thrill of a lifetime, as he acoustically strummed the U2 oldie "Party Girl" accompanied by the Edge on electric guitar. They sounded good together.

Now commonly hailed as the world's biggest rock band, U2's Pittsburgh performance, brimming with vitality, proved why it also might deserve to be called the best.

The night's opening act was reggae-rapper Damian Marley backed by five musicians, two female singers and a guy who spent the entire time waving a Jamaican flag. Through his sheer enthusiasm, Marley won over the crowd.

©Beaver County Times Allegheny Times 2005


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