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U2 thrills Key Arena audience with colorful, memorable two hour plus performance
by Albert Rodriguez SGN A&E Writer



U2 • April 24 @ Key Arena

Bono is a huge rock star. He knows it. He flaunts it. He wears it well.

The lead singer of Irish supergroup U2 was in mega-celeb mode Sunday night for the first of two sold out performances at Seattle’s Key Arena. When he wasn’t parading around a U-shaped catwalk with sunglasses and a leather coat, he was using his global image to draw attention to world issues, like poverty and individual acceptance.

To the frenzy of wild and chanting fans, over 20,000 in attendance, the four-piece unit walked on stage with strobe lights in hand, waving them out to the crowd. Seconds later, they launched into “Love and Peace or Else” and followed with “Vertigo,” the group’s Grammy-winning track from last year. That song didn’t do anything for me on radio or CD. But in concert, it had a different kind of energy. Throughout the arena, fans punched their fists in the air and accompanied Bono in screaming out the lyrics.

The stage decor was colorful and exciting. Huge beaded drapes hung over the premier stage, positioned inside the catwalk and in front of a few hundred lucky ticketholders. Three giant TV screens beamed footage from the stage to concertgoers in the upper seating sections, and those with an obstructed view behind the stage. One banner-size screen sat atop the stage and occasionally beamed messages to the audience.

As expected, U2 played several cuts from their newest release How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Besides the two opening numbers, they performed “City of Blinding Lights,” “Yahweh,” “All Because of You” and “Miracle Drug,” a sentimental song that Bono dedicated to a friend undergoing medical treatment. Another Bomb entry on the set list was the so-perfect “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own.”

Bono may have been the prince of the ball, but his longtime cohorts were equally deserving of strong praise. The Edge did double-duty on “New Year’s Day,” blistering a guitar solo and pacing the song’s verses with a dramatic keyboard background. Bassist Adam Clayton sounded terrific on the slower tunes, as on the medley “An Cat Dubh/Into the Heart.” Larry Mullen Jr. exploded on drums, pounding hard on the oldie but goodie “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Collectively, the foursome played brilliantly, proving that age is definitely nothing but a number.

The crowd went crazy for one of U2’s most acclaimed classics, “(Pride) In the Name of Love.” Throughout, fans jumped up and down, waved Irish flags, danced obnoxiously and yelled out the words. That was the song I most wanted to hear, and in three times I’ve witnessed U2 in concert, this was the best delivery of it I can remember.

Bono did get a bit preachy. His push for the One Campaign, aimed at raising awareness to poverty and disease prevention in Third World countries took up seven to ten minutes of the show. Not that I’m cold hearted and don’t want to help mankind, but I’d rather rock out during a concert, instead of being asked to dial in my support, via cell phone, to a global cause. That’s just me. I do, however, respect Bono and U2’s humanitarian efforts. I just like my concerts free of speeches.

Bono’s plug for the One Campaign, which he founded, set up the night’s most glorious moment, a sensitive and powerful performance of “One.” It gave me goose bumps.

“Where the Streets Have No Name” began with bright images of flags representing world nations cascading down the beaded drapes. It was a riveting version that again erupted cheers from the thousands of fans standing up in their seats and the ones jammed on the main floor.

U2 completed their two hour-plus performance with a six-song encore that included “Zoo Station,” “40” and a fired up rendition of “Mysterious Ways.”

It’s impossible to capture the excitement and thrill of seeing U2 in concert. One word sums it up. Unforgettable.

GENERAL GAYETY
Leslie Robinson

NOT THINKING
STRAIGHT
Madelyn Arnold

LESBIAN NOTIONS
Paula Martinac