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)
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.
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.
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