'At the Very Creative Heart of Rock'

30 Mar 2005
Pretty hot reaction to the first night show from around the world. Here's a shapshot.

'Challenging personal themes and enduring energy keep U2 relevant,' reported the LA Times, whose reviewer Robert Hilburn said that the band brought the spirit of the new album to the stage in a two-hour set that was 'as warm and eloquent as the songs'.

It's such a cool review, we can't resist offering you another couple of snatches.
'For a band that made its mark with soaring guitar-driven anthems that commanded you to march along, these new songs are all the more touching because they rely on the superb subtlety and restraint of U2 as musicians.
'Rock'n'roll has been built mostly on edgy elements, including rebellion, irreverence and exuberance. The Beatles became the first great rock band by both reflecting each of them and by introducing a strain of social optimism through tunes such as 'All You Need is Love'
'While thousands of bands have experimented with the rebellion and irreverence, U2 has explored the idealism with a dedication and conviction that would not only have impressed the Beatles but that has earned it a place alongside that band at the very creative heart of rock.'

Check the entire review here

'U2's Vertigo tour is a whirl of rock 'n' roll passion,' said Edna Gundersen at USA Today. 'On a stage mirroring the target from its Vertigo video, U2 aims high, serving monster hits with vintage rarities and a heavy dose of untested tunes from the current How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb album.'
Giving the show four stars out of four, the writer says that 'The two-hour show underscored the band's currency, longevity and 25 years of sustained relevancy, a remarkable accomplishment in this music-industry era of fickle fans and declining fortunes.

'At the peak of its powers, U2 is no nostalgia act mining the oldies circuit for boomer bucks. Fresh tunes stirred as much enthusiasm and singalong fervor as the classics (and may prove more durable).'
Complete review here.

'U2,' writes David Sinclair in The Times in the UK, 'Is now the only superpower left in the pop world. And they came together with the world's last superpower on Monday for the opening night of the 110-date Vertigo//2005world tour... by the time that they had finished the event felt more like a date with destiny than anything so mundane as a concert.

'Conjuring the illusion of intimacy with a natural grandiloquence, U2 have maintained their implacable sense of purpose while all those around them have faltered or to some extent fallen by the wayside.'
Full review here

Interesting take on the set design in another rave notice from Kelefa Sanneh in The New York Times: 'This is a band that has lasted for a remarkably long time without exploding, and the set design echoed the unsplit atom in the album's title. The Edge, Mr Clayton and the drummer, Larry Mullen Jr., were the nucleus, standing mainly still on the main stage. And Bono of course, was the electron, orbiting his bandmates on a circular catwalk that extended into the crowd; every time he returned to the stage it seemed like a joyful reunion.'

'You know it was a powerful show,' said Corey Moss at VH1, 'When the band is done, the house lights are up and every single seat in the arena is still occupied by fans singing at the top of their lungs.
'That was the scene Monday at the San Diego Sports Arena, where U2 kicked off their Vertigo Tour with a two-hour celebration of the new and the old and a few favourites in between, including a grand finale of "40" that felt more like the end of an Easter service than a rock concert the night after.'

Finally, for now, Steve Baltin at Rolling Stone, who concluded his review like this: 'The band saved the night's biggest revelation for last, as Mullen began the repetitive drumbeat to "40," the biblical sing-along that used to close U2 shows. In a nod to the early days, at the song's conclusion, Bono walked off the stage first, followed by Clayton and the Edge, while Mullen provided the beat to the crowd's chanting of the chorus "How long to sing this song." When the lights came on, most in the San Diego Sports Arena were still singing.'
More here


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