Having seen the Irish superstars four times this year, writes Jane Stevenson of the Toronto Sun, I'm happy to report the force is still very much with them.
Having now seen the Irish rock superstars four times this year -- at their tour launch in March in Fort Lauderdale followed by two sold-out shows at Toronto's Air Canada Centre in May and now last night's Copps Coliseum date -- I'm happy to report the force is still very much with them. As part of the fall leg of their first arena tour in 10 years, the Dublin foursome visited Steel Town for the first time ever to the delight of 18,000 fans, who snapped up tickets in just over half an hour. Black leather-clad frontman Bono even scored extra points with the audience, who were waving Canadian, American and Irish flags, by mentioning the group's frequent producer, Hamilton-born Daniel Lanois. "I'd like to say hello to the Lanois family tonight," said the singer before launching into Kite, from the group's 10-times platinum latest album, All That You Can't Leave Behind. It was actually an emotional moment as Bono mentioned he wrote Kite for his children although his father -- who passed away from cancer two months ago -- really inspired it. "I still think about him everyday," he said. That was only eclipsed by Bono grabbing the American flag out of someone's outstretched arms and burying his head in it -- presumably in remembrance of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks -- after belting out U2's signature political song, Sunday Bloody Sunday with major crowd participation. Speaking of which, a young, aspiring musician with a placard that read "Me+Guitar, People Get Ready," was plucked out of the audience by Bono and fitted with an acoustic guitar. As it turned out, he had to be shown the chords but Bono wouldn't let him give up, even as he struggled with the fingering: "I believe in you!" the singer shouted. The two of them eventually traded duties, with the young man singing the cover of Curtis Mayfield's People Get Ready while Bono played the guitar. It was those moments of spontaneity that have helped to make U2 -- rounded by expert guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. -- arguably the biggest rock band in the world right now.