U2 came to Nashville July 2nd for the first time since 1981. Bono addressed this fact at the 100th 360 show by embarrassingly admitting the fact and introducing the band as four Irish lads.
What followed was a relatively intimate show. Because the Vanderbilt stadium could only accommodate the stage in such a close proximity to everyone it gave an overall sense of shared experience. I was located up on the right side of the stadium on one of the long benches that were supposedly “seats”. I don’t think I ever sat down for the entire show.
- Even Better Than The Real Thing
- The Fly
- Mysterious Ways / Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) (snippet)
- Until The End Of The World
- I Will Follow
- Get On Your Boots
- I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For / The Wanderer (snippet)
- Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
- Beautiful Day / Space Oddity (snippet)
- Pride (In The Name Of Love)
- Miss Sarajevo
- City Of Blinding Lights
- Miss You (snippet) / I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight / Discothèque (snippet) / Psycho Killer (snippet) / Life During Wartime (snippet)
- Sunday Bloody Sunday
- Walk On / You’ll Never Walk Alone (snippet)
- Amazing Grace (snippet) / Where The Streets Have No Name
- Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
- With Or Without You
- Moment of Surrender
- All I Want Is You
The band came out and leapt straight into Achtung Baby era classics that got the mood into the stratosphere. They’ve been rediscovering these tracks for this whole seventh leg. On one hand it could be the band rediscovering their mindsets from twenty years ago. On the other it is a brilliant marketing ploy to commemorate the upcoming 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Achtung Baby. By playing these songs it subconsciously gets the core audience re-interested in that era. Now Zooropa is being thrown in the reissue scheme. I have to say that I loved it’s inclusion in the setlist. (and judging from the rest of the audience’s reaction I was relatively alone in that.)
After the opening Achtung salvo, the momentum was kept up with “I Will Follow” (which was has been about the only survivor of the early days as far as live performances. Now I find that the next show had “Out of Control”. Argh!) Then began the ongoing “Rockers by the numbers” with a particularly uninspired run through of “Get On Your Boots”. This was the first sign of a show that was just passing on the name value. What eventually overcame this was the intimacy of the venue and the band’s reaction. “The Wanderer” was a surprise to all (although I kicked myself for not thinking about it due to the Nashville connection.) since the band has only played it once before.
Every major hit song was as if it was played because it had to be. Then on the more obscure tracks the performances came alive. It was rather obvious that the three songs from No Line on the Horizon had been designated No Line on the Restroom. The show was occasionally hit or miss but the band pulled it out in the end. You can tell that none of the guys really know what direction to head in, but the whole thing just feels more alive and organic than my experience on the Vertigo tour in 2005. (Part of that wasn’t the performance but due to the fact that I was seated behind the stage and had an obstructed view of everything but The Edge’s sea of effect pedals.)
Moment of Surrender was a fantastic closer. It was much more effective than I thought it would be at ending such a stadium show. But..contrary to what the audience, myself, and the band thought-there was one more song to play. Adam, Larry, and Edge had begun to walk off the stage while Bono pulled a guy out of the audience onstage. He then sang “All I Want Is You” while the lucky guy played guitar and dedicated it to his wife. The band did a simultaneous “what is Bono doing this time” look at each other and began to come in on the song. Edge on piano, Larry, and Adam had to even switch to the right bass. Finally, as the song ended Bono gave the man his guitar! Now that’s a concert moment.
I think that sums up the show pretty nicely. Now only eight shows remain of the largest selling tour in history. Hah! U2 finally beat the Stones!
Highlights: Achtung Baby tracks, I Will Follow, The Wanderer, Stay, Zooropa, Discotheque, Scarlet, Hold Me Thrill Me, Moment of Surrender, All I Want Is You
Even though I still hope for a setlist devoted entirely to the Steve Lilywhite days (we got Scarlet this time and that was a major shock) I still can’t believe the band played “Hold Me Thrill Me”! That has got to be one of if not the great lost U2 song. Definitely a candidate for the “Great Lost Song” series. I’ve even made a outspoken U2 hater like the band because of that one track. A great could have been for a Zooropa follow-up. Freaking brilliant rock song. Still magic.
And that is the Larry Mullen Band.
And they’ve never left us. Their heart is still on their sleeve.