360 Full Circle: U2 Ends Tour In Moncton

Not to start on a down note, but it is hard not to write an obituary. For many of us fans, U2’s 360 Tour stage, “The Claw,” has become an entity of its own. With the tour ending in Moncton, and the eventual fate of the Claws currently unknown, it is a little sad to think of the giant steel structure being disassembled for the last time. For more than two years, this engineering marvel has thrilled audiences around the world. Its arrival and assembly in town meant something cool and different was about to happen. It enhanced U2’s show without overshadowing them. It had a personality (if possibly only a projection of U2’s Willie Williams’ own personality) and some faults (legs that blocked some people’s views and a screen that increasingly lost some pixels). Such a presence will be missed, even if we know as fans that the band will return someday.

The end of a tour is both exciting and melancholy. U2 is able to relax and be a little more playful knowing that the demands of the tour will be over soon, but there also is an air of sadness with the eventuality of this production’s magic coming to an end.

Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada hosted this ending, and it did so well. With nearly 100,000 people in attendance, concerns about logistics in this smaller town were valid, and there were some glitches. Yes, traffic was somewhat difficult, but only those with unrealistic expectations could have been disappointed or annoyed. Moncton and its people embraced this event and should be proud of their efforts.

Carney kicked off the night with an ambitious performance. For me, too many cover songs marred what seems to be a relatively talented band.

The Arcade Fire took the stage for a performance that I had been anticipating for months. They played a fairly standard set, which is great for their long-time fans, but not immediately engaging for such a large crowd. The band has plenty of loud, catchy tunes to draw-in the audience, however it took almost 10 songs into their 12-song set for fans to be interested outside of the immediate Claw stage area. I had hoped that they might join U2 on stage at some point later that night like they had in Montreal on the Vertigo Tour. Unfortunately, as an Arcade Fire fan, they did not. Fortunately, as a U2 fan, it did not matter because Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry gave such a great performance without any special guests.

Many “ending” songs played over the stage’s speaker system before the band came out: The Rolling Stones The Last Time, REM’s It’s The End of The World As We Know It, etc. Also, two F-18 fighter jets made a few flyovers of the concert grounds before the show started. This may have thrilled the crowd more than either warm-up band.

Jet Flyover video link

Finally, U2 took the stage to the repeating opening riff of Even Better Than The Real Thing. As had been the case with previous shows, several Achtung Baby songs opened, then I Will Follow and Get On Your Boots. Bono continued the refrain, “Get on your boots, Moncton. Moncton… Moncton as opposed to Muck-Town. That’s not good.” –a reference to the incredibly muddy condition of the field. Most attendees were well-prepared for a wet evening since it had rained the entire day. Thankfully, the sky cleared up, and mud was the only annoyance to be endured. Bono referenced the rain as well saying, “Deep down, I know you like your rock stars wet.” I only can imagine that he was responding to any number of the signs that the die-hard fans were holding up in the Claw’s pit.

The Fly video link

After crowd sing-along favorite I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Bono performed a verse from Springhill Mining Disaster. A great cheer rose up as locals appreciated the small recognition from the band of the disaster that happened in nearby Nova Scotia.

Springhill Mining Disaster video link

Little flourishes throughout the night were reminders that this was a special show. Larry performed an extended drum solo at the end of Elevation. During the Crazy Tonight Remix, members of the 360 Tour crew replaced the usual faces of Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry on the video screen. Some of them mugged the way the guys usually do. Others smiled. Some looked embarrassed.

 

 

Much to the crowd’s delight, Bono belted out a beautiful and sorrowful verse of Hallelujah before the chiming guitar opening of Where The Streets Have No Name began. Streets always is a hit, but to see a mass of people in the General Admission section that flowed seemingly endlessly uphill from the stage clapping along was amazing.

Beautiful Day video link

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The encore brought the usual trio of songs in addition to Bono’s multitude of “thank-yous” before Moment Of Surrender. As they played a particularly raucous version of Out Of Control, Bono, obviously enjoying the atmosphere, said during the middle section, “I’m not going anywhere without a bottle of champagne, so take as long as you want.” When he received the bottle, he opened it and began to spray the people in the pit. After a little discussion, Adam and Edge switched sides of the stage signifying they were going to play the traditional U2 show ending song, 40. While finishing his part, Bono removed his glasses and revealed his eyes welling up with tears.

It was a beautiful and emotional night. So many people in Moncton were seeing U2 and the 360 Tour for the first time, but as for myself and many others, we were seeing it for the last time. My U2 360 Tour spanned 12 shows in 9 cities in the U.S. and Canada, including the North American opener in Chicago and now the tour closer in Moncton.

Over the course of the tour, I have gotten to experience so many great things: meeting up with old friends, meeting new friends, visiting new cities, hearing new songs, hearing old songs redone, hearing songs I never thought I would get to hear live… just so many great things. It has been a wonderful ride. I would like to say a “hello” and a “take care” to all of my U2 AOL MB friends (you know who you are), my Interference friends (those I have met in person and those I have only met online) and to some of the random people I was fortunate to run into along the way: Chris and Stephanie, Alan, JJ and Katja, Audrie, Michel, Paul and others. I hope to see you again someday. I am so glad that we all took the time to introduce ourselves to the people around us. I am so glad we all met while seeing U2.

Bono added a long extra verse to the end of Stay (Faraway, So Close) Saturday night, and I think it is appropriate to close out the reviews of the 360 Tour:

“3 o’clock in the morning,

and the trucks roll out of town.

Ray Daniels, we’ll be thinking of you,

sittin’ on his cloud.

110 shows,

but strangely, this feels like home.

Glad my wife is here tonight.

It’s not a night to be alone.

Everbody’s lover,

everbody’s brother,

all came here for the show.

Some loves, some loves

are just so hard to let go.

3 o’clock in the morning.

It’s quiet. There’s no one around.

Just the bang and the clatter

As 360 leaves town.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 July 2011

Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Magnetic Hill Festival Grounds

Setlist

1. Even Better Than The Real Thing

2. The Fly

3. Mysterious Ways

4. Until The End Of The World

5. I Will Follow

6. Get On Your Boots

7. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

(Springhill Mining Disaster snippet)

8. Stay (Faraway, So Close)

9. Beautiful Day

10. Elevation

11. Pride (In The Name Of Love)

12. Miss Sarajevo

13. Zooropa

14. City Of Blinding Lights

15. Vertigo

16. Crazy Tonight Remix

17. Sunday Bloody Sunday

18. Scarlet

19. Walk On

20. One

21. Where The Streets Have No Name (Hallelujah Intro)

22. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

23. With Or Without You

24. Moment Of Surrender

25. Out Of Control

26. 40

 

Review, photos and video by kramwest1

:rockon:

Bono Sings In “Toronto In The Summer Sun”

U2’s lead singer took to the stage Monday night in Toronto, Ontario, Canada ready to enjoy himself. He had more than his usual swagger going; he was relaxed, but with a mischievous tinge to him.

Just after 7 p.m., the crowd in the Rogers Centre cheered as the first cracks of light appeared as the giant dome doors began to slide open. It was a warm day in Toronto, and there had been a good chance of thunderstorms predicted for the evening. Whatever weather or music gods chose to smile on the stadium that night, the fans were pleased. Maybe this was the reason for Bono’s jubilance. Maybe it was the relief of a job well-done in Montreal, where not only did U2 bring the world’s most amazing stage, the 360 Tour CLAW, but also they were responsible for building the temporary stage that housed it and 160,000 fans over two nights. Whatever the case, after Interpol left the stage, and the U2 360 crew prepped for the band, it was showtime.

Space Oddity Intro and EBTTRT video link

The same blitz of Achtung Baby songs started the night. Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry cranked their way through Even Better Than The Real Thing, The Fly, Mysterious Ways, and Until The End Of The World. The crowd loved the familiar hits. Following their new hit, Get On Your Boots, Bono took a moment to tell people what the band members have been up to since they last played in Toronto in 2009. “Adam has become a father,” said Bono, “Larry is playing a Camaro in Trainspotting 3, no, Transformers 3.” This drew a big laugh from the crowd. “Larry is starring opposite Donald Sutherland in a movie that’s coming out,” Bono corrected himself, “and Edge? Well, Edge has a new idea for a musical.” Bono clearly was amusing himself and slightly less so his bandmates as he continued rambling.

 

 

 

Get On Your Boots video link

The good cheer continued as the crowd sang along with I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. With a big smile on his face, it was obvious that Bono loves his fans and appreciates that they still care about his lyrics after all of these years.

Recognizing that this was becoming a special night, Bono modified the line in Stay (Faraway, So Close), “With Satellite television you can go anywhere. Miami, New Orleans, London, Belfast and Toronto in the summer sun.” Following Beautiful Day, he added to this by yelling, “I’m gonna take you higher still!” And with that he took a swig from his bottle, tipped his head back and sprayed a fountain of water into the air. Time hasn’t left him as he was, but time hasn’t taken the boy out of this man.

As if there couldn’t be any more playfulness and antics on stage, during Elevation, a fan threw a Canadian flag on the catwalk. Bono picked up the flag and tucked part of it in his back pocket, leaving most of the flag dangling out. Toward the end of the song, he sang, “I need a bridge to take me to the other side. I got Canada in my back-side.” Everyone laughed. He crossed one of the stage’s bridges and hung the flag from Larry’s drum.

Not as an apology for the flag joke, but in his most humble and sincere voice, Bono stated, “The world needs more Canadas.” After seeing threes shows in Canada over four nights and a fourth in Winnipeg this past May, I believe he meant every word of that and more. The guys in U2 seem to love this country, and it shows in their performances here. Whatever the current political situation in Canada and Toronto, from my perspective as a U.S. citizen, Canadians seem to conduct themselves with a wonderful mix of hard work, social responsibility and a passion for their free time. I agree that the world needs more Canadas. No one can be happy all of the time, but I saw a disproportionate number of smiles on faces, and people of all ages enjoying themselves. I’m sure it helped that U2 was in town, however I have felt this Canadian spirit before, and I hope to again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The night continued with Miss Sarajevo. I had criticized Bono in my previous review for messing up the lyrics of this beautiful song. In Toronto, he nailed it with a performance of it that I don’t think I’ve seen since the Vertigo Tour. Zooropa and the high-energy trio of City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo and Crazy Tonight Remix followed. The crowd loved Sunday Bloody Sunday, and Bono took advantage of their participation by circling his finger as he started Scarlet. The motion was to let the band and crew know that the crowd would be more than happy to sing “Rejoice!” and to keep it going a little longer.

City Of Blinding Light video link

Joshua Tree favorite’s Where The Streets Have No Name and With Or Without You kept the crowd singing to the end of the night. They loved Bono’s swinging on the circular microphone during Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me. He swung around more than I had seen at previous concerts. The playful Bono had many “thank yous” to deliver before finishing with Moment Of Surrender. A very happy band hung on stage and bowed and faced all directions, thanking the Torontonians for a special night.

 

Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

11 July 2011

Setlist

1. Even Better Than The Real Thing

2. The Fly

3. Mysterious Ways

4. Until The End Of The World

5. I Will Follow

6. Get On Your Boots

7. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

8. Stay (Faraway, So Close)

9. Beautiful Day

10. Elevation

11. Pride (In The Name Of Love)

12. Miss Sarajevo

13. Zooropa

14. City Of Blinding Lights

15. Vertigo

16. Crazy Tonight Remix

17. Sunday Bloody Sunday

18. Scarlet

19. Walk On

20. One

21. Where The Streets Have No Name

Encore

22. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

23. With Or Without You

24. Moment Of Surrender

 

 

Review, photos and videos by kramwest1

 

(Thanks Canada, see you in Moncton!)

Moment Of Soggy-U2 In Montreal, Night 1

This will be a short review because it is late, I am tired, I am wet, and I am annoyed (and, I will write a longer review for Montreal Night 2 tomorrow).

First, I will state the good things. U2 did a nice job tonight, although it did feel somewhat like a warm-up for night 2. Bono was his playful self, amusing the crowd with his ramblings in French (and English). He introduced the band as a mocking cover of British royalty, obviously in a tongue-in-cheek homage to the newly married royal couple’s visit to Canada. Larry is the bonny Prince William of U2. Adam is the Kate Winslet of the band, very attractive. Edge is the true Prince of Wales, and Bono is the royal Corgi dog.

Bono Introduces The Royal Irish Band

^Video Link

The crowd ate up the most popular of U2’s hits. Pride (In The Name Of Love) got and extended chorus of “Oh, oh, oh ohs” even after Bono had finished singing. He bowed with an honest and humble, “Merci.” Vertigo had the whole of the field general admission (GA) bouncing. It takes a special song to get the majority of 40,000 people in the GA moving. Where The Streets Have No Name always is a crowd favorite (mine, too), and Montreal was no exception. Everyone around me was singing at the top of their lungs. What surprised me the most was the reception that Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me got. It was easily the best crowd reaction I’ve seen to it. U2’s performance was fine, but Montrealers loved it.

So how about the Montreal crowd? Save for a few very misguided individuals who decided to keep themselves hydrated in the afternoon heat with beer instead of water, they were wonderful. I cannot overstate how daunting it was to know that there would be 40,000 people on the field. I had visions of being crushed, trampled or simply just displaced by the sea of humanity, but nothing like that happened. It was completely the opposite in fact. I struggle to think of a time I have been around a more kind and respectful, yet exuberant crowd. Most people around me danced and sang and threw up their arms to the music, but I was never knocked or even encroached upon. Kudos Montreal! I am so glad I came to visit.

 

Now, I will sum up the bad of the things of the day. Regardless of how the GA line was started, when I arrived it was simply a mass of humanity, standing on dirt and gravel, baking in the sun. My group asked security if there was some semblance of order. There was not. This was in stark contrast to the gauntlet of vendors and commercial interests that had to be navigated in order to even get onto the Hippodrome’s grounds. It was becoming clear. An extra year of planning had given them the opportunity to plan how sell stuff to a captive audience. They had not planned for hot and dehydrated fans other than to offer to sell them lukewarm bottles of water for $4.50.

We stood in the line, very concerned about what an opening of the gates would bring: an uncontrolled stampede to the stadium or a well-ordered and contained release of fans section by section. It was a combination of both. Fortunately, my group was fine and together as we got to the field, but from what I understand, others did not fair as well.

The chaos and lack of planning at the beginning did not bode well for an orderly exit. Evenko had gone out of their way to assure concertgoers that all would be well even if there would be a long wait for the transit that would take all of us back to our respective corners of Montreal. The plan was the same as it was as we entered the Hippodrome: vendors would be open to sell food and other things to pass the time. It’s possible that this may have worked. However, when it started raining during Moment Of Surrender, all bets were off. Most fans ran back to the Namur Metro station. Others searched for cover from the rain wherever they could. Mainly though, the planned leisurely exit from the Hippodrome was scrapped due to the rain. Fans were ushered off of the field. Many FanJam vendors closed, and the result was a large group of people waiting to catch a Metro train with no verbal instructions from security or police and no gates or pens to control the crowd who were aiming to get out of the rain and onto a train.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a venue that was all but created for this event, it seems the only planning that went into it was how to maximize ticket, food and beverage sales. There seemed to be an adequate number of portable bathrooms, but they were a long walk form almost anywhere in the stadium. Anyway, if a little rain can cause chaos, you have not done your job as an event planner. That is disappointing to say the least. I don’t know if U2 management, Live Nation, Evenko or the city of Montreal are to blame for this poor planning and mess, but I hope there is some correction of it before Saturday night’s show.

Through all of this, the Montrealers I witnessed were calm, polite and not even particularly grumbling. I am impressed at the courage under fire the concertgoers possessed. This is a great city with great fans. The events planners, however, leave a lot to be desired.

 

The Hippodrome Montreal

8 July 2011

Setlist

 

1. Even Better Than The Real Thing

2. The Fly

3. Mysterious Ways

4. Until The End Of The World

5. I Will Follow

6. Get On Your Boots

7. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

8. Stay (Faraway, So Close)

9. Beautiful Day (Cmdr. Mark Kelly Intro)

10. Elevation

11. Pride (In The Name Of Love)

12. Miss Sarajevo

13. Zooropa

14. City Of Blinding Lights

15. Vertigo

16. Crazy Tonight Remix

17. Sunday Bloody Sunday

18. Scarlet

19. Walk On

20. One (Aung San Suu Kyi Intro)

21. Where The Streets Have No Name

22. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

23. With Or Without You

24. Moment Of Surrender (rain outro)

 

 

Review, photos, and video by Kramwest1

(Stay classy Montreal!)

 

 

Oh, and I thought Interpol sucked–BORING!

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