U2 Elevation Tour
Elevation Tour 3rd leg: North America
: United Center - Chicago, Illinois, USA
U2 and GarbageMark Guarino (published on 2001-10-16)
U2 is a band meant for world crisis. Last Spring, when the four Irishmen embarked on their "Elevation" tour, the most pressing current event they approached onstage was the death of Joey Ramone. The challenge was dialed into the red zone with the Sep 11 terrorism. On U2's return visit to Chicago Monday (10/15) at the United Center, the band stepped up to the plate and delivered a show that was especially tailored to heal emotional wounds in a grand scale way.
"We feel very lucky, very blessed to be on tour this time in the United States," said Bono. Turning its back on most of its '90s music designed to both ridicule and co-opt Western consumerism, U2 padded its set with its potent '80s anthems of love, peace and unity. One addition to this second leg was "Out Of Control," the band's first U.S. hit in 1980, written when they were teenagers.
Like the stripped-down, artful aesthetic of the current tour's stage design - a simple but powerful union of lights, a heart-staged catwalk and band - U2's political eye moved tastefully.
While unleashing "Sunday, Bloody, Sunday," Bono reached for a crowd member's American flag and held it to his chest like it was a funeral sheath, singing, "wipe your tears away." Later, for "Bullet the Blue Sky," he trotted down the catwalk with a hand-held spotlight. As the stadium went black, he flashed it throughout the crowd, and sinisterly sang from the darkness, "see those fighter planes?" as the band crashed around him. The song that underwent the biggest transformation was "New York." Last Spring, it was the sole throwaway from U2's latest album and hard-line Chicagoans found it difficult to endure yet another song celebrating its arch rival. This time, Bono added new lyrics: "in New York, you have some friends, I love New York." When shouting, "even Chicago loves New York," he received his biggest crowd roar of the night.
"Any of you here who have sisters and brothers in the military, our prayers are with you. Our prayers are also with the innocent children and the innocent people in Afghanistan who don't want this either," Bono said at the start of the second encore. Then the band gave into its most solemn moment -the passenger lists of names from the three fatal airliners scrolled behind down as they played "One" to stunned stadium dwellers. "This is a church," Bono said earlier. He was right. All were praying.
Just three hours from its homebase in Madison, Wis., Garbage opened the show, on the heels of its third album. In her schoolboy haircut, suspenders and finger-free leather gloves, Shirley Manson was dressed to suit her new single, "Androgyny." She zoomed in circles as drummer Butch Vig faithfully reproduced his band's industrial beats on both electronic pads and a live drum kit. New songs like "Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)" and "Shut Your Mouth" were sexy dance pop with Manson shaming the teen divas of her day with her knockout voice.
- Mark Guarino
October 16, 2001
Often plagiarised, never matched.