In the name of love: Symphony orchestra to show off versatility with U2 covers – News

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Written by Kendra Meinert, Green Bay Press-Gazette

In a perfect world, The Edge would surprise everyone and sit in on Saturday’s “An Evening of Irish Rock” at the Weidner Center.

But since not even a whole lot of St. Patty’s Day luck is likely to make that happen, Jeans ‘n Classics is betting on something they have that Bono doesn’t to pull off a retrospective of U2′s biggest hits: the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra.

The symphonic rock outfit out of Canada will bring a five-piece band and two singers to the stage to join the local orchestra in celebrating the legacy of Irish music — from Thin Lizzy to Van Morrison to an entire set of U2′s music arranged by Jeans ‘n Classic founder and guitarist Peter Brennan.

“If you think of U2 and the massive amount of guitar sound and overdubs and effects and treatments that go on, I learned years ago when we did (Led) Zeppelin or Queen that orchestras just eat that up,” said the London-born Brennan. “The symphonic wall of sound is a wonderful thing to have interpret some of the rock walls of sound, particularly with the way they came out of the studio.

“The U2 stuff just has enough of a hint of the Celtic nature to it, in terms of some of the rhythms in particular, that you can really get a little bit carried away and go a little bit more Celtic. The percussion section has a wonderful time.”

While the mosaic of U2′s music was a gift for Brennan to work within, tackling U2 isn’t for sissies – especially The Edge’s legendary guitar work.

“He’s just one guitar player doing so many parts and trying to create so much sound. … All of that delay and effect and repetition that goes on. My job was to try to capture that orchestrally speaking. You’ve got some very busy string work and upper woodwind work sometimes to try and recreate what had been a studio effect.”

Jeans ‘n Classics, which has 30 rotating musicians who fan out to play with symphonies in shows that feature the music of Michael Jackson, Elton John, Prince and a host of others, will bring two guitarists for the Green Bay concert. But Brennan jokes that “ideally, it takes about 15” to equal The Edge.

“But we’ve got the whole orchestra, so between the orchestra and two guitar players and the keyboard player, we manage to pull it off.”

This is the second time Jeans ‘n Classics has joined forces with GBSO. Last year, they performed The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in its entirety to rave reviews.

“Based on the reaction we got from our audience in attendance, we decided it was a no-brainer to re-engage them for this season,” said Michael Stefiuk, GBSO executive director. “It allows us to showcase the symphony in a completely different light, showing that we’re really a versatile instrument.”

While a concert with “Vertigo” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday” might not necessarily appeal to classical music purists, Stefiuk says “our intention is to appeal to audiences who might not otherwise think of attending an orchestra concert.”

And then, of course, hook them.

Brennan has seen not only a much greater acceptance of symphony and rock pairings, but also a hunger for it, since he launched Jeans ‘n Classics in 1996. In those early days, both orchestra and band found sharing the same stage intimidating.

“Here you are in front of a big ensemble and they’re all looking at you like you’ve got two heads,” he said. “There are people who spent their entire lives wanting to perfect Mozart. ‘What’s all this Rolling Stones? I don’t want to do this.”’

But as time has gone on, musicians and audiences have embraced bringing together two musical worlds, no matter how unlikely they might seem on paper.

“I think audiences that come and appreciate what we do have been let down a little bit by pop music in the last 20 years. It hasn’t spoken to them the way you may say it had in the ’80s or the ’70s or going way back into the ’60s. So that always helps, because they’re getting a classic pop or classic rock fix,” Brennan said.

“But also the people who make up the orchestras now are a different animal than when we first started. You have people who grew up on pop music who also happen to really, really embrace classical music. They seem to be as much at home playing Beethoven and Stravinsky as they are doing a recording session playing John Williams … and now we’re going to play Led Zeppelin.”

There’s really no rock music that an orchestra can’t play, Brennan said. It’s just a matter of “learning to dance together.” He and his fellow musicians often come up with new shows while killing time in airports, such as “It Came From the Jersey Shore,” featuring the music of New Jersey luminaries Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Frankie Valli. Another with Earth, Wind & Fire, Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago is “a brass player’s dream.” One of his current favorites is “Space Odyssey: The Symphonic Journey” with The Moody Blues, Electric Light Orchestra, Procol Harum and Peter Gabriel.

“It’s a bit of dark horse, and yet when we do perform it, the orchestras just go nuts for it as do the crowds, because it’s a showpiece for the orchestra,” he said.

It’s a tricky balancing act taking beloved pop and rock music and striking the right tone when composing the arrangements for a symphony.

“(These) songs spoke volumes to people, so I have to be very, very respectful of the artists we’re covering and not butcher their material or disguise it or make it Muzak-y. Keep all those things that made it work for people,” he said. “The flip of that being, these people are now coming out to hear their orchestra with us perform that music, so I very much want to make the orchestra front and center with the action. It’s always that really, really nice balance. There’s moments in the U2 show where that orchestra is just screaming. Its wonderful.”

Brennan hopes diehard U2 fans whose curiosity gets the better of them come away from the concert impressed.

“I hope they appreciate what we try to do musically, to have U2 music take on that different face. But at the same time, I hope we haven’t disappointed them by not being honest or true to their band. I hope they come away going, ‘Yeah, I really dug it.’ Because it isn’t a Muzak treatment. There is a rock band on stage. Listen to those fiddles go! Listen to how high those French horns go in ‘With or Without You.”’

Copyright © 2012 www.greenbaypressgazette.com. All rights reserved.

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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!)

Hallelujah Montreal!

I have been churning the thoughts of Montreal in head for the last day, trying to decide how to review the second night U2 show. The only benefit I can find to spending a far-too-limited amount of time in that great city is that my mind is not so crowded of memories of Montreal and its sites, so I still have U2 in my head. That city and Quebec deserve so much more recognition than I can give them here. I had a wonderful time, did not feel uncomfortable because I do not speak French, and I cannot wait to return. I will say again, the people of Montreal were so friendly, helpful and proud. They obviously enjoy life and want you to as well. They make ideal U2 fans, and being with 40,000 of them in the General Admission (GA) section at the Hippodrome was a wonderful thing.

(The easiest way to review the night is song by song with my thoughts intermixed. I’m not going to bother with any focus on security and poor event planning. My Friday night show review was enough of that. Moment Of Soggy, U2 In Montreal Night 1)

Interpol

I don’t know much of their music, but I can say that I don’t feel it translates well to a stadium setting. They are a tight band and play well together. I wish them luck, but they failed to inspire me and those around me both nights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Space Oddity Intro – The crowd now knows that this is the lead-in to U2’s entrance and sing along in anticipation. It was very fun to feel it.

2. Even Better Than The Real Thing – U2 arrived on stage and ripped into this Achtung Baby hit.

3. The Fly –The CLAW came alive in a strobing mass. This song was kind of a dud when it was released as the first single off Achtung Baby. It was too “different” of U2. Now, it is a monster hit live and a favorite of many.

The Fly Montreal video link

4. Mysterious Ways –The new video for this song fits well with Montreal’s Cirque du Soleil’s celebration of the human animal. The beautiful dancer is morphed and modified to match well with the songs lyrics. For a song I’ve heard live many times, this reinvigorates it nicely.

5. Until The End Of The World –The final string of Achtung Baby opening songs got the crowd pumped for the rest of the night. I was eager to hear what is next because I know U2’s second nights bring fun changes.

6. Out Of Control –U2’s first single sounds great, and they played it with good energy. It’s nice to hear a rare tune in the setlist on the tour because the band usually puts a little something extra in it.

Out Of Control Montreal video link

7. Get On Your Boots –A Sikh fan was pulled up on stage and didsn’t miss a beat with his shout of “I don’t want to talk about wars between nations!” Bono was impressed. I found out later that he is a long-time fan and well known among those that regularly camp out for U2 shows. That had to be one of the best moments of his life.

“Tonight we want to give you as a gift to the world,” says Bono. The show is to be simulcast on U2.com to subscribers. “When we were kids, joining U2 was like running away with the circus. Now, maybe we need to find another circus.” In the home of Cirque du Soleil, he takes this time to introduce the band members and speculates on what they would be in a circus:

Larry would be a fire-eater. A sword-swallower? World’s strongest man?

Adam would be the bearded lady.

Edge would be a trapeze artist. A high-wire walker. Edge responds with “a knife thrower.”

“And, I will play the clown,” says Bono modestly, a reference to the video of the next song.

8. All I Want Is You –Bono finished this beautiful song with some soft harmonica playing.

9. Stuck In A Moment –“For a great friend, Michael Hutchence,” states a saddened Bono. Hutchence was the long-time lead singer of INXS who took his own life in 1997.

10. Beautiful Day –This song has been popular and a tour staple since Elevation, but it has an extra richness and passion since this tour’s addition of Commander Mark Kelly’s introduction of it in the International Space Station and the dedication of it Kelly’s wife Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in the head in an assassination attempt in January of this year. I have seen this intro and song five times now, and it has never failed to bring me to tears. Thankfully, Beautiful Day is an uplifting song and raises my spirit and the crowd’s.

11. Elevation –As if they planned on keeping our spirits high, the band kept the momentum going with this simple, fun song.

12. New Year’s Day –Again, as with Out Of Control, this song makes a special appearance in U2’s show and has a reinvigorated feel to it.

13. Miss Sarajevo –The only possible negative thing I can say for this night is that Bono should stop singing this song. For two nights in a row, he messed up the lyrics of this deeply emotion tune. It deserves better than that.

14. Zooropa –The transition from Miss Sarajevo to Zooropa is a brilliant series of overlapping questions posed by different voices, including Stephen Hawking’s “Is history bound to repeat itself?” I love the transition and may forgive Bono’s mistakes. Zooropa is a precious gem of a song to me, and special to many of U2’s fans for its uniqueness and insightful damning of our consumer-driven world. Greatness!

15. City Of Blinding Lights –The complex and beautiful video screen that is the centerpiece of the 360 CLAW stage extended downward for Zooropa and lit up with bright, glowing colors, fittingly for this song.

16. Vertigo –Continuing the high they were put on by City Of Blinding Lights (COBL), Montrealers went crazy for Vertigo. The Hippodrome was filled with bouncing and singing fans.

17. Crazy Tonight Remix –This three-song grouping (COBL, Vertigo and Crazy Tonight) is the most energetic part of the night. The crowd needed no more motivation, but the dancing continued through this remix. I am proud and amazed that the band ever took such a risk with this. What easily could have been a flop has been the most memorable part of this tour for some and speaks to U2’s inventiveness and willingness to experiment and take chances.

18. Sunday Bloody Sunday –I am so glad to see the crowd absolutely devour this song. It holds very little meaning or interest for me anymore, so I am glad that I can enjoy other people enjoying it.

19. Scarlet –This is a rare track and an odd choice to include in a concert. U2 makes it work, especially tonight with an energetic Bono singing, “Rejoice!” The crowd was happy to join him.

20. Walk On –The freeing of Burma’s legitimately elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has transformed this from a song of hope to a song of celebration. We are reminded by the video screen that there are still many political prisoners in Burma, but we at least can take pleasure in knowing that one has been released.

21. One –In a triumphant video introduction Aung San Suu Kyi thanked the crowd for their activism, and reminded us that like us, she is a U2 fan.

22. Where The Streets Have No Name –I am not alone in wanting more of Bono’s beautiful intro of Hallelujah to Streets. Written by Montreal native son, Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah embodies the wonderful combination that U2 means to me: joy, hope, and yet a longing for more.

 

 

 

 

The band leaves the stage and a brief video of aliens and spaceships took us into the encore.

 

23. Ultra Violet (Light My Way) –This is one of my favorite U2 songs and certainly my favorite from Achtung Baby. The crowd was receptive, but didn’t seem to fully know what to do with it because Ultra Violet was not a big hit or a single from the band. I don’t care and thoroughly enjoyed it. I don’t mind being selfish for a moment in a crowd of 80,000.

24. With Or Without You –This is a closing favorite with so many U2 fans. I don’t know if Bono and the guys would get out of the stadium alive if they neglected to play it. As if he knew this, Bono added the special lyrics of “We’ll shine like stars in the summer night! We’ll shine like stars, it’ll be alright!” to the end of it.

25. Moment Of Surrender –What is surely the best version I have heard of this song closed out the night.

I enjoyed my time in Montreal, and sharing U2 with its people will be a great memory for life. I am fortunate to get to travel to see the band. I take this for granted sometimes. Meeting friends that I have chatted with online for weeks (or even years) at shows is a special thing. Seeing a U2 show with them and with new people that I meet is a great experience, especially when some are seeing the band for their first time. Hallelujah, Montreal. Merci.

 

Review, pictures and videos by kramwest1

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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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