U2’s Bono and The Edge in Leicester for opening of Curve production of Finding Neverland – News

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Leicester Mercury

Surprise celebrities added their applause to a rapturous standing ovation for the world premiere of Finding Neverland.

Hundreds of people packed out Curve to see the opening night of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s production.

The show premiered on Saturday night and included two unexpected star guests – U2 frontman Bono and guitarist The Edge – who had been invited by Mr Weinstein.

Mr Weinstein said:”We were so honoured that Bono and Edge came to see our first preview of Finding Neverland in Leicester. There was real excitement amongst the cast to meet them backstage after the show. I came to see Bono’s show Spiderman in New York during previews, and he was a really good friend to come and see my first show here in Leicester.”

Speaking to the cast on stage after the show, Bono said: “Can I just say how nauseating it is to see it go so well. That was amazing.”

The musical, about Peter Pan author JM Barrie, received whistles and cheers as the curtain fell and the Irish superstars got to their feet with the rest of the audience to give the cast a standing ovation.

Joss Paine, 18, from Thurnby, had to take a second after finding himself in the same row as Bono.

He said: “It was a bit surreal. I spotted him quite early on and had to look twice.”

The show is inspired by the 2004 film Finding Neverland, based on the Scottish writer JM Barrie.

It tells the story of his platonic relationship with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and friendship with her four young sons, who inspire the magical world of Peter Pan.

Maggie Friswell, 63, from Burbage, said: “It was absolutely fantastic. The singing was superb – in fact, everything was fantastic.

“I’ve been to London, to the West End to see shows, but this was just amazing – the technical bits were really impressive.”

Stephen Smith, 61, from Stoke Golding, near Hinckley, said: “Brilliant. It was really good.

“For the show to premiere here in Leicester really says something about the city and the theatre.”

Pam Hillyard, 74, from Thurmaston, was sat in front of the show’s producer Harvey Weinstein but didn’t know until her daughter told her.

She said: “I had no idea who he was, but I thought the whole show was fantastic.

“It really captured the essence of the story and the time in which it was set.

“The set and music was amazing.”

The musical attracted audience members from all over the world.

American Bill Rummer had travelled from London to see the opening night of the show.

The 40-year-old said: “I thought it was beautiful and moving, it was fantastic.

“I’m originally from Los Angeles and I’m in London at the minute, but I had to come up here when I heard it was a Harvey Weinstein premiere.”

Bill was not the only overseas admirer of the production.

Australian Craig Rohlf, 39, had also made his way up from London for the show.

He said: “It’s my first time here and I am really impressed.

“It’s not every day you see a world premiere of a big show like this.”

British stage and screen actor Julian Ovenden plays JM Barrie, while West End actress Rosalie Craig takes the role of Sylvia.

The show, directed and choreographed by Olivier Award-winner Rob Ashford, runs until October 13.

For information and tickets, visit:

www.curveonline.co.uk

Copyright © 2012 Northcliffe Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Bono turns tables on pal Gavin as Electric Picnic off to a hot start – News

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By Ken Sweeney, Independent.ie Entertainment Editor

BONO was a surprise addition to the Electric Picnic festival when it kicked off in brilliant sunshine yesterday.

Arriving by helicopter at 6.15pm, the U2 frontman wasn’t performing but turned up to catch a set by his long-time friend Gavin Friday on the first day of the music and arts event.

For decades Friday has jetted around the globe as U2’s ‘special adviser’, giving them notes about their live shows.

But last night the roles were reversed as Bono sized up the former Virgin Prune’s performance on the main stage just after 7pm.

The only problem with having a superstar pal watching your show is that photographers’ lenses were all trained on Bono watching from the mixing desk rather than on the stage.

Playground

Nevertheless, Gavin dedicated his song ‘Angel’ to Bono and his wife Ali who are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary this month.

It was Bono’s first visit to the Electric Picnic, which is now in its ninth year.

Take That’s Gary Barlow admitted on the ‘X Factor’ last weekend that he had never heard of the Electric Picnic, but for the 32,500 Irish music fans in Stradbally, Co Laois, this weekend it’s the highlight of their music year.

Wayne Stuart (30) spoke for many. Originally from Co Clare but now working in Glasgow, Wayne had returned to Ireland specially for the three-day event.

“It’s not just the music. There are so many other attractions to the Electric Picnic like Mindfield and Body & Soul,” he said.

“I’d describe it as an adult playground. I went to Oxegen for the first eight years but I’m not 18 any more and the age range at Electric Picnic goes from kids to senior citizens.

“I love the atmosphere so much that it got me back from Scotland.”

The biggest drawback to any Irish music festival is the unpredictable weather, but by teatime last night the meadows of the 600-acre Stradbally estate were bathed in balmy sunshine.

There’s more good news, with Met Eireann promising today will start off dry and bright, and tomorrow will be even warmer and sunnier, with temperatures hitting 20C or 21C.

Tailbacks didn’t prove a problem either, with heavy but steadily-moving traffic around Stradbally last night.

Spirits

That left one genuine problem for festival-goers — the clash of top names on different stages with Ed Sheeran, Christy Moore and Icelandic band Sigur Ros all performing between 11pm and midnight last night.

Even a three-hour set from Goth doom merchants The Cure tonight seems unlikely to dampen spirits.

One of the more unusual performers on the many stages over the weekend will be celeb agent Noel Kelly. (See The Diary — Review Section).

More used to representing Ryan Tubridy and Grainne Seoige, the 49-year-old will be fronting the Transformation Blues Band on the Salty Dog stage at 7pm this evening.

However, the NK management boss said his “singing the blues” had nothing to do with salary cuts for his stars in RTE.

Rather, he’s doing a favour for the band whose singer had been unavailable for the festival and looking forward to a return to his former role as frontman with Dublin blues band The Leadbellies.

Weekend festival tickets are still available for €230. Sunday day tickets are €99.50.

- Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

© Independent.ie

U2’s Bono and the Edge invest in Dropbox – News

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Stars follow $270m Facebook stake with backing for internet storage service

Lisa O’Carroll, The Guardian

His investment firm is looking forward to potential profits of about $1bn (£620m) from Facebook. Now U2 front man Bono appears to have developed a thirst for web technology, giving his personal backing to internet storage service Dropbox alongside bandmate the Edge.

The U2 pair were announced as individual investors by Dropbox in a picture posted on Twitter showing the musicians posing with founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi.

The service, which is still in its formative stages, has more than 50m users and was described as “tech’s hottest startup” by Forbes in a cover story last November. The company did not specify how much the musicians invested.

“Dropbox is excited to welcome Bono & The Edge as investors. Thanks for the support and look forward to great things!” the company tweeted.

According to Forbes, revenue is expected to hit $240m in 2011 even though 96% of users only use its free service.

Dropbox is a web service that allows users to store documents, photos and video in the cloud with the first 2Gb free. Heavy users then pay $10 a month for up to $50Gb and $20 a month for 100Gb in storage.

Houston told Forbes that even if he didn’t sign up a single new customer in 2012 his sales would double because of the growth trajectory in storage usage.

The investment by Bono is the latest in a string of tech investments for the U2 frontman.

As cofounder of Elevation Partners he has invested in Palm, Yelp and Facebook, with investment in the latter two companies inspiring the company to start building a new $1bn investment fund.

The first fund, launched in 2004, was worth $1.9bn with $270m of that ploughed into Facebook in three instalments between 2009 and 2010.

The imminent IPO could now value the company at about $100bn, which could net the firm about $1bn, according to sources.

Elevation also committed $100m in an investment in consumer review website Yelp in 2010 on the basis of a valuation of $500m, the source said. Yelp completed its stock market flotation earlier this month and currently has a market capitalisation of $1.4bn.

“They did their IPO in March and based on how it is trading today, they have tripled their investment,” said a source.

According to TechCrunch, Bono and the Edge got to know the Dropbox founders after they developed a music app on Facebook, iLike. They approached U2 to help them with the launch of a new feature which would help them promote videos to fans and ended up with an interview and a previously unreleased track.

U2’s The Edge Talks About His MTV Homelessness Special — and Meeting Panhandlers – News

By Tim Molloy, The Wrap News

Rock gods have the same awkward interactions with panhandlers that you do.

U2 guitarist The Edge, producer of Friday night’s MTV special on youth homelessness, “The Break,” says he, too, sometimes finds himself at a loss about how to help people on the street.

“There’s that awful thing where you realize there’s nothing you can do, right at that moment, so you kind of pretend they’re not there,” he told TheWrap. “And I think for somebody who’s homeless, particularly someone who’s panhandling, that’s the most emotionally difficult thing, is to become like a non-person. Like you literally do not exist to someone walking by.

“And I understand both sides,” he added. “The person passing by just doesn’t know what to do. So they end up blanking the homeless person. And it’s a terrible thing to see happen. I’ve been guilty of it myself from time to time.”

The musician and activist, who says he usually does give money to the homeless people he encounters, has spent three decades working on social causes like African famine relief as a member of his band. U2, the biggest touring act of 2011, has campaigned for causes and organizations from Make Poverty History to Amnesty International.

With “The Break,” the Edge and host Anne Mahlum, an advocate for the homeless, profile three young people on the street and try to help them rebuild their lives. They include a woman who was involved in abusive relationships, a gifted drummer who suffered a downward spiral, and a woman who left home because her parents objected to her lesbianism. The Edge also wrote a song for the show, “There’s No Home Like Place.”

The Edge said U2 is “slowly starting to think about work,” but the band is in no rush to get back to the studio, despite a wealth of material. Instead, it’s listening to a lot of music. After we talked about the special, he told us what he’s playing lately.

What interested you about this project?

It was something that just inspired me early on. I was questioning myself about some of my own ways of relating or not relating to homeless people, and it just started me on kind of a journey to answer some questions for myself. And in the process I started thinking about the way that the homeless are really completely marginalized, and in many cases disenfranchised.

They suffer through a lot of stereotypical views about how they got there. What I’ve learned is there is a myriad of reasons why someone might become homeless. No two stories are the same. I thought that it was time that there was a little bit more of an intelligent sense of inquiry into this problem. It’s particularly serious at the moment with the economic downturn.

I thought if we could really make a difference in somebody’s life with an intervention, it could be a reality TV kind of thing that would be very uplifting and inspiring, instead of making people view the show and feel better because they see a lot of bad behavior.

But also if somebody’s in a position of being homeless, in could be hopefully an inspiring thing to see.

The question of how to help is a particularly interesting dilemma for you. As part of U2 and singularly, you’re one of the most approached people in the world to help contribute to causes. And you’re also in a unique position to help a lot of people. How do you choose what you’re going to do?

I think it’s down to feeling like you can move the needle, that you can make a difference. And of course we can’t do everything, because then you’d be so diluted that there wouldn’t be any kind of impact to your support or involvement. That’s an important thing.

And the things that inspire you and the things that you feel moved to become involved with. As with Bono and his Africa work. He happened to be in Africa at a very pivotal time in his life and witnessed a lot of the problems with famine. And it’s stayed with him. For me, there was something about the homelessness issue that was like this voice just saying, you’ve got to try to find some way of getting involved here.

There were a couple of stories as well that sort of inspired me. One Irish homeless man, in Dublin, quite famously rescued the driver of a bus that had plunged into the River Liffey. And he and a passer-by actually climbed down though this wrecked bus because the front of it was in the water but the back of it was accessible from the bridge. And they climbed down through the broken rear window and dragged the bus driver out and saved his life. But he ended up wandering into the night with his wet clothes to sleep rough.

And it just struck me as a kind of really tragic scenario – I wasn’t the only one. It was a big story in Ireland.

Not that you’ve ever suffered through the kinds of struggles that homeless people do, but as a child or when you were trying to get U2 started, was there a time when you felt like you lived close to the margins?

I mean, friends of ours, during the early days, we would hang out in derelict buildings … and all that stuff, which was kind of almost a rite of passage, particularly if you were coming out in a punk band, the punk movement. But no, personally, I can’t lay claim ever having had to deal with not having a home. Although there are people I know who’ve had phases of being homeless, I’m not putting myself forward as an expert in homelessness.

In fact, Anne Mahlum, who’s the advocate who does all of the heavy lifting in the show, is really the person who made this possible. Without her we didn’t have even the beginnings to this film. She brings so much of her own personal experience to this amazing initiative, Back on My Feet, which for years has been brining dozens of homeless people back into regular society.

Ann’s got such a depth of experience of being not just an advocate but an interventionist. She will try in as delicate a way as possible to help someone figure out the way forward. As she says no one wants to be homeless, but a lot of homeless people just don’t know how now to be. It’s a delicate thing. It’s not just a case of knowing how to ask for help, it’s the feeling like you are worthy of help. And having the courage and strength to realize to put up your hand and realize that you need it and finding it.

We weren’t sure at the start of this production what was going to happen. We hope the interventions were going to turn out to be a positive thing but of course there was no guarantee. … As it happens with Nancy, with Rob, with Ava, all three of the featured homeless people, they showed a great sense of being able to take advantage of the opportunity and to break the stereotypical that if you’re homeless you don’t want to change, you don’t want to work, you don’t want to better your situation.

What I learned in the process of making this film is the one thing that seems to be crucial to anyone’s progress in life is a community. Supporters, family, friends, work mates, whatever. When someone has no one there to help in that isolated place it’s not that hard to fall into this kind of problem of having no home. Connecting these young people if not to their original family and friends to a new community seems like a big step to moving forward.

You’ve written so many songs that have become associated with different social causes. Do you ever start out thinking, ‘I want to do something about this problem and maybe a song will help?’ Or does it just evolve out of the music?

It’s different ways. In most cases with U2 the music comes first. The lyric will sort of emerge as it were from the music and the emotional content that the music seems to suggest. In this case, for the song I wrote for the show, I was trying to write about homelessness and the issue. In many ways we’re all looking for a home, we’re all searching.

But it’s the lack of a physical place to live, that’s the thing that’s so crippling. I think would be the only way to describe it for someone who’s in that position.

It stops you from doing so many things. Just the act of voting, getting a job. So many things are more difficult if you don’t have a place to live. We need to get better at dealing with it.

And can you say what you’re listening to now?

There’s a very interesting album called “The English Riviera” by Metronomy. It’s quite an interesting record. It’s kind of timeless but very quirky. But also very fresh. I’m enjoying that. Foster the People just for pure melody is great. And Bon Iver – I love the innovation of that sonically. It’s a very interesting record.

© The Wrap News Inc. 2012

It Might Get Down: New U2 Doc Debuts

From all media reports, the Toronto International Film Festival (abreviated by Tweeters and just about everyone else as TIFF) got electrified by hosting the premiere of the new U2 documentary From The Sky Down.

Directed by the award-winning director Davis Guggenheim (It Might Get Loud, An Inconvenient Truth) and put together in a mere months, the film will debut to a wider audience on Showtime in October. The DVD will then get packaged with the 20th anniversary deluxe reissue of Achtung Baby, followed by a separate release of just the documentary.

About collaborating with U2 on this film, Guggenheim remarked, “They said from the beginning, we want you to make the movie that you want to make and they let me.”

An anniversary peek into the creative process of how U2 re-invented themselves with postmodern post-Joshua Tree promise, From The Sky Down should be a real treat for serious U2 fans.

The review of the movie in the Toronto Globe and Mail, however, questioned its worth as a standalone film, suggesting “this documentary on the Irish quartet U2 in creative flux at the end of the 1980s is not the significant film his others are.” For many others of us though, we will enjoy the backward, reflective gaze on the band’s process, or as the review puts it, seeing “special light thrown on the mysterious ways of musicians.”

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:

U2 Stand By MN

The only thing that tempered my excitement for U2 bringing their 360 Tour to my hometown was my fear of what the weather might bring. Getting soaked during the concert was not my idea of fun, but it did not dampen most people’s enthusiasm during the show. However, in the spectrum of unpredictable Minnesota weather, heavy rain is much preferable to hail, high-winds and tornadoes (lightning seemed to be a non-issue, mercifully). At least with an outdoor concert scheduled in July in Minnesota, a blizzard does not enter into the forecast.

I think the only way I can adequately review my Minneapolis U2 weekend is to break it down into three parts: the Friday night Interference.com fan club get-together, the concert itself and the overall TCF Bank Stadium experience.

Interferencers (Blue Craicers, whatever) are rabid fans. We have been chomping at the bit for almost two years to have our fan meet-up in Minneapolis. It is always exciting to meet people that you have connected with online, but there often is a little apprehension, too. The “What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t like them? What if no one shows up?” thoughts run through my head. As has been my experience for this tour, those thoughts are useless. The other Minnesota fans are cool, nice people, and as a huge bonus, many fans from around the country (and a few from around the world) came to Minneapolis for the meet-up.

The Leaning Tower of Pizza on campus could not have been better hosts. Great, friendly servers keep us in drinks and food. It also helps to have a gathering in a university bar because no one blinks twice when there are spontaneous sing-a-longs to the U2 blaring from the jukebox. It was wonderful to see familiar faces again and a joy to meet so many new people, whether they were new to Interference or new to me in a non-internet setting.

Our plans for the concert as fans spanned a broad range; Some were going to get in the General Admission (GA) line almost immediately after the Friday night meeting, many of us were going to get in the GA line sometime during the afternoon, a few were lucky to have gotten Red Zone tickets, and a few others were headed for seats.

Walking in to the stadium, it was hard not to just stare at U2’s “Claw” stage even if I had seen it 10 times previously. It filled the field more than I had seen at any other show. After my initial awe, my eyes kept looking up to the skies, even though I had made peace with the possibility of rain. The hiking jacket and multiple Ziploc bags I had helped to mollify that fear.

 

There is far too much time between when the gates are opened and when U2 finally takes the stage, but it’s nice to use that time to wait for your other friends to arrive and to meet those strangers standing near you. As has been my experience for all of the shows I have been to this summer, the people around us ranged from U2 virgins to U2 veterans. It’s great to meet everyone, and it reminds me why I like to attend so many shows.

U2 took the stage and played four songs from Achtung Baby. Mysterious Ways barely had finished before the rain began. Edge had some guitar issues during Until The End Of The World, presumably from the wetness. The band and crew obviously knew that it would rain, so while adjustments were made on stage, the U2 continued seamlessly.

I was glad that after Get On Your Boots, Bono acknowledged that Minneapolis at one point was intended to be the final stop to the 360 Tour. This would have been fantastic, but I understand that financial and other considerations led to the final show being in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. Final shows often are epic and slightly longer than a normal show. I am ecstatic that I will get to attend that concert as well.

Even without being the final tour stop, it is obvious that the guys hold Minneapolis in high regard. The Vertigo Tour show at Target Center was one of the few tour stops that was honored with a rare second performance of Vertigo as the final encore. I was wondering how they might show their love for my city this time and was glad when Bono combined this affection with a special recognition of our state’s large immigrant population from the Horn of Africa. (Minnesota is home to the largest population of Somalis outside of Somalia, as well as many Ethiopians and Eritreans.) Toronto performer and Somali native, K’naan joined the band on stage for wonderful performance of Ben E. King’s Stand By Me.

As the rain fell harder, the band played on. I had heard during the 360 Tour shows last fall in Europe that the band, especially Bono and Adam, like to play in the rain and get even more enthusiastic. I didn’t necessarily believe that until Saturday night. Bono was having fun despite an occasional glitch from his drenched microphone. And Adam, much to the delight of some fans, finally stripped off his wet shirt. The bare-chested 51-year-old showed off his ripped chest and stomach as he smiled and marched around with his bass guitar.

Sunday Bloody Sunday by Tim Newell (in the pouring rain)

^video link

Snippets of songs about rain were peppered throughout the balance of U2’s performance; The highlight being a crooning of Purple Rain by Bono surrounding Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah which led into an amazing Where The Streets Have No Name.

During his introduction of the band, Bono alluded to the type of force of nature he heard from each band member during the previous show in New Jersey. Concluding the introductions with himself, Bono said, “Then I heard the voice of God. He said, ‘If you think you’re having fun now, wait ‘til you get to Minneapolis.’” That was funny on many levels. Bono is well-aware of his detractors who dislike his seemingly messianic traits, but he doesn’t care. And also, he is so charming and silver-tongued that I cannot help but half-smile and half-smirk as he so blatantly plays to his current crowd. Bono’s personality certainly is a large part of why the band has had such longevity and appeal. He, Edge, Adam and Larry drank in the cheers and applause before leaving the stage after the final song, Moment Of Surrender.

I am pleased that I got to experience a U2 “wet” performance at least once in my fan history. I wish it had been somewhere other than my home city, but there is no doubt that the soaked TCF Bank Stadium crowd loved the show.

The lines into the stadium were handled well; the lines for the buses after the show looked very long and slightly confusing. Overall, I think too many GA tickets were sold. The field was very crowded and finding your way through it was difficult. I am glad there was a plan in place in case of severe weather, but it was hard to believe that there would have been anything other than chaos on the field had there been an emergency. Since this was the inaugural concert at TCF Bank Stadium, some forgiveness can be offered for a little poor planning. Hopefully, for future shows, the stadium management will realize that they need access points to the field from both ends, that some portable toilets are needed on the field itself rather than requiring a long trek to the outside of the stadium and that fewer GA tickets should be sold. These are not minor complaints. The extreme crowding distracted from the show, but given how great U2’s performance was, ultimately I can overlook the flaws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 July 2011, TCF Bank Stadium

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

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. Stand By Me (with Somali native K’naan)

9. Stuck In A Moment (And You Can’t Get Out Of It)

10. Beautiful Day

11. Elevation

12. Pride (In The Name Of Love)

13. Miss Sarajevo

14. Zooropa

15. City Of Blinding Lights

16. Vertigo

17. Crazy Tonight Remix

18. Sunday Bloody Sunday

19. Scarlet

20. Walk On

21. One

22. Where The Streets Have No Name (Hallelujah intro)

-Encore-

23. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

24. With Or Without You

25. Moment Of Surrender

 

Review and Photos by kramwest1.

Special thanks to Tim Newell for his valiant video efforts.

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