So the question that begs to be answered is, how does i+e compare to the band’s previous tours? Can anything be as great as 360°?
I can confidently and emphatically say yes. They are as magnificent as ever. Even though this time around they’re playing in arenas, nothing is lost in the production. The show still excites the senses like an electrical storm (pun partially intended).
But how could that be, compared to the enormity and spectacle of their last tour? I remember thinking how could they ever be as good as this?
First and foremost, they perform better now. Bono sings better than before. He’s always had a great voice, but ever since his father’s passing, he’s said that he can sing in a higher register. He’s said that his father had given him this great gift.
However, it’s not just Bono; the rest of the band also plays better. Edge, Adam and Larry have also become great musicians. Together, they sound better than now than even fifteen years ago. Most bands get better with time, some don’t, and U2 definitely has. This is a direct result of their commitment to the music.
When they kicked off the show with The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) it was joyful and choir-like in the way they harmonized only then to feel a kick to the soul as Edge’s guitar pounded our eardrums. That set the tone for what kind of show we were going to experience.
As with many of their shows, it was structured with two sets and an encore. In the first, there were four two five songs from their new album Songs of Innocence. This something they have done for a long time. After years in the studio writing and recording it comes time to test-drive their songs on the road. Like a high-performance sports car, each song screams.
Bono still throws himself out there like it was his last night on earth (pun definitely intended) and we all can see he hasn’t lost a single step, even if he isn’t playing the guitar. There is something very satisfying in seeing him strut and gyrate with his Billy Idol-like hair and reckless abandon. He still is, after all, a rock star.
By the second set, the crowd seems to have converged into a single entity. We all are in tune with them and they know it. The songs in this set are the ones we have known for years: Beautiful Day, Pride (In The Name of Love), Where The Streets Have No Name, One. We sing along because we know every song, every chorus and every stanza by heart. We sing along we because these are the songs we grew up with, these are the songs that touch us so deeply, but most of all we sing along because that’s what they have invited us to do. For those few hours we have come together with the band to collectively share in something that can only be experienced live. We feel it with every note and drumbeat. We are all smiling and cheering and high-fiving each other. And we all know, like in the chorus of Invisible, there is no them, only us.
By the end of the show, we all know we have witnessed something special.
As the tour winds its way through North America and then to Europe, it is guaranteed that there will be many, many more memories made and moments cherished.
I invite you share your experiences with me. I hope to add them to these posts. Thanks for reading!