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U2 Elevation Tour

Elevation Tour 1st leg: North America

: Pepsi Center - Denver, Colorado, USA

View all performances at Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado, USA.

(venue website)

U2 elevates its music game at a sold-out Pepsi Center

Jay Dedrick (published on 2001-04-07)

Source: The Daily Camera

By Jay Dedrick
Camera Entertainment Editor


DENVER — Colorado springtime, gray skies and U2 — it could have been 1983 at Red Rocks.

Instead, it was 2001 at Pepsi Center, with the band indoors in Denver for the first time in about a decade. Friday night's sold-out concert made a persuasive case for leaving the football stadiums to football teams.

Not that the Zoo TV Outdoor Broadcast outing of '92 and PopMart in '97 weren't terrifically fun examples of crowd-pleasing spectacles. But from the moment U2 took the stage on Friday — strolling onto the stripped-down stage while the house lights remained up — the message seemed clear: music first, show second.

And what music: A propulsive "Elevation" opened the show, followed immediately by the Grammy-winning "Beautiful Day." If the quartet's latest album, All That You Can't Leave Behind, suggested a back-to-basics attack, the live presentation left no doubt. The Edge's chiming guitar, Adam Clayton's solid bass and Larry Mullen Jr.'s steady drumming were all it took to make the glorious clatter.

Well, not quite all: Bono, the still-charismatic lead singer, looking sleek in a black leather jacket, sang commandingly, keeping the energy high for more than two hours. His hands teased the outreached fingers of fans in the crowd, engaging them in a seductive dance.

"I think we've been here before," he told the audience, reminding them — as if they needed it — of that legendary Red Rocks show that spawned the Under a Blood Red Sky album and video. He thanked the promoter of that show, Barry Fey, as well as "the man who invented the wide-angle lens," which made the few thousand in the stands look like a capacity crowd.

No such trick photography was needed Friday. The deceptively simple light show was supplemented by relatively understated video screens (by big rock show standards, anyway), which offered a black-and-white view of the evening's proceedings. The best effect was the band's interaction with the ticket buyers, who filled the floor around — and inside of — the stage's heart-shaped ramp. During "Where the Streets Have No Name," Bono ran that walkway like an Olympic track star.

The highlights came early and late: "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of," which Bono dedicated to the late Michael Hutchence, gave Bono and the Edge a perfect platform for some soul-tinged harmony early on; late in the show, "Mysterious Ways" and "The Fly" soared, with Bono making his way through the crowd on the latter. Less golden moments were sandwiched in between: "Discotheque" wasn't much of a song in '97, and age hasn't improved it any. "Gone" and "New York" added to the midshow let-down, as did a disappointingly sluggish "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

As the band headed into the dark "Bullet the Blue Sky" and more encores, though, there was little doubt that U2 would elevate its game to the highest possible level. Staying indoors suits this Irish crew well.

April 7, 2001


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