May 2 2018
Tulsa, OK, US / BOK Center


Rich in spectacle and surprise…'

The band launched The eXPERIENCE & iNNOCENCE Tour Wednesday night with a visually and sonically stunning performance in front of a capacity crowd at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Cathleen Falsani was at the show for U2.com. 

It was an evening rich in spectacle and surprises with the live debut of songs from band's new album Songs of Experience, classics from the its epic oeuvre, and a few deep cuts that absolutely thrilled longtime fans.

The new tour continues a conversation they began with the world during the iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour, and at first blush the setting is familiar: the stage and “barricage”—the 100-foot-long, double-sided video screen that runs the length of the arena—used during the 2015 tour have returned. And yet, as Bono says, nothing has changed, everthing's changed.

From the first notes of 'Love Is All We Have Left'—the opening track of Songs of Experience and the song that opened the show—it was obvious we were in store for something entirely different when the new super-high-resolution LED screen (with nine times the resolution of the 2015 screen) came to life and an Augmented Reality version of Bono climbed out of it while the real Bono appeared motionless inside the barricage.

Audience members who had downloaded the U2 AR eXPERIENCE App before the show could see the spectral blue-crystal AR Bono singing and moving through the screen of their smartphones, while simultaneously watching the real singer inside the actual screen—one eye on reality, one on an augmented version of it. 

It was the first of many joyful disruptions of the traditional live-performance narrative. The AR experience concluded when the rest of the band joined Bono onstage for a fiery, raucous rendition of 'The Blackout', followed by 'Lights of Home': the screen ascends and the platform below (with video images of rain drops falling projected onto its sides) appears to rise and tilt as the singer stalks from one end of it to the other. 

Throughout the nearly two and a half hour show, the band is on the screen, inside the screen, beneath the screen—transcending both screen and stage, blurring the lines between video and live performance in ways an audience never before has experienced. It's a spectacle that's disorienting in the best of ways: Can we believe what we see?

'Beautiful Day' and 'All Because of You' came next, before the band took us back to their boyhood and Cedarwood Road on Dublin's north side—where their story and the music began. 'I Will Follow' and 'The Ocean' from 1980's Boy introduced the five-song Innocence portion of the evening, accompanied by stories, videos, photos, and even pieces of paper (pages torn from the biblical book of Psalms fell from the ceiling) from their formative years as teenagers: 'Iris (Hold Me Close)', 'Cedarwood Road', 'Song for Someone', 'Sunday Bloody Sunday', and 'Raised By Wolves.'

'Until the End of the World' closed the show's first act and Gavin Friday's haunting version of 'Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me' played over the PA as a semi-autobiographical comic-book-style video chronicling the band's rise to and through fame (complete with angels, strangers, heroes, and villains) appeared on the massive screen while the band themselves ducked off stage for a quick-change break.

They returned with explosive renditions of 'Vertigo', 'Desire', and the devilish ghost of tours past: Mr. MacPhisto from Zoo TV.  Wearing white make-up and Mad Hatter-esque top hat, he greeted the audience with a creepily familiar growl:

'I haven't seen this guy in quite a while,' Bono-as-MacPhisto said. 'I've been a busy little devil, oh yes. But you've made it all so much easier for me these days… The truth is dead and the KKK are out on the streets of Charlottesville without their silly costumes! Haha, who'd have thought? Tulsa, when you don't believe that I exist, that's when I do my best work.'

'Don't believe what you hear, don't believe what you see. If you just close your eyes you can feel the enemy!' he roared and the audience cheered in response when many realized the band were launching into 'Acrobat'—the only song from Achtung Baby they'd never performed in concert. It was a moment of delight and well worth the wait for persistent fans (including yours truly) who have lobbied them for years to play the deep cut live. 

A winsome nearly-acoustic version of 'You're The Best Thing About Me' (featuring Larry Mullen Jr. on bongos) was followed by a politically powerful suite of classic and brand-new songs—'Staring At The Sun', 'Pride (In The Name Of Love)', 'Get Out Of Your Own Way', 'American Soul', and 'City of Blinding Lights'—that drove the second act to an emotional and energetic crescendo.

Throughout the show, the multimedia visuals enthralled, disturbed, and inspired, whether they were images of neo-Nazis marching with tiki torches in North Carolina, Dr. King marching for Civil Rights in the 1960s, the sectarian murals of a divided Belfast, or a video of American children wearing Army green combat helmets as they go about their daily lives—brushing their teeth, catching the school bus, ballet class, saying grace at a meal. The band continues to explore medium and message, how one shapes the other and us.

They returned for an encore that began with another fan-favorite: 'Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses' (its first performance in a dozen years), followed by an elegiac rendition of 'One' that Bono dedicated to 'all families.'

Two songs from Experience closed the evening, the hopeful anthem 'Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way' and '13 (A Song For Someone)', as the same light bulb that launched the iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour three years ago rose from the open roof of a doll-house model of Bono's childhood home sat atop the B stage. 

It was a pitch perfect finale to an evening none of us wanted to end or ever will forget. 

If you were at the show in Tulsa tonight, add your own review and upload your photos below.


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    Moved to Tears
    It wasn't until 11:45 on May 2nd that I found out I was going to go see U2 for the fourth time before adulthood. My mom pulled me off to the side of the hallway at school, handed me a dismissal slip and said, "You need to catch a ride to Tulsa with your dad." We headed down to the BOK Center for something I never thought I would witness: the opening show of a world tour, and it just so happened to be the greatest band of all time too. We didn't know what to expect! When the lights went out and the heavy breathing was filling the arena, I knew that this was going to be real! When Bono started singing Love is All We Have Left, the tears started flowing. I was in the room, U2 was right in front of me! The whole first song I was balling and then the went into the Blackout, so there I was frantically wiping the tears off my face and got headbanging! I'd describe the whole show but that would be way too long. I'm glad they played Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild horses, I never thought I'd ever hear that song in person. Thank you, U2, for the great eXPERIENCE! Here's my perspective of the opening moments of this tour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ARr1rnDJqs On the Tulsa setlist, Elevation is supposed to be after Hold Me, Thrill me,... but it is missing.
    Tulsa, OK Opening Night
    Yá’át’ééh or Hello! My name is Sandra Anderson and I hail from the Navajo Nation from Fort Defiance, Arizona. I am a citizen of the Navajo Nation and shall introduce myself traditionally. I am from the Towering House clan and born for the Towering House clan. My maternal grandfather is from the Meadow People clan and my paternal grandfather is from the Bitter Water clan. This is who I am as a Navajo woman. I wanted to thank you for the chance of a lifetime and that was to see all you gifted gentlemen perform! I was sitting directly behind the band and I had my favorite red and black pacific northwest design shirt on (which I believe helped with good vibes all night) with my Girl - Geneva Horsechief from the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. I couldn't believe the ticket seats I had scored (thanking the Holy People to this day) and was simply honored to be seeing you so close! I work for a nonprofit called the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) and working for a nonprofit doesn't get you the big bucks but I sure felt like I had big bucks because of our seats! I wanted to share this image I captured and I am currently making a poster size to hang up in my bedroom. Holy People please bless U2 for all their travels! Thank you so much U2. You have saved my life! Ahéhee’, Sandra Anderson
    What a Rock Show
    Thanks U2 for rocking the BOK and blowing the lid off the place with The Blackout, Until the end of the World and Acrobat. Being a fan since 1983, it was an Awesome experience to share it with my 18 year old daughter who has grown up listening to U2. She knew most of the songs and the ones she didn't , she asked me before the show which songs might be played. The fan club event the night before followed with the best Rock quartet ever will be a forever memory for my daughter and I. Thanks U2 for being true to yourselves, your music, your faith and for doing what you feel led to do. U2 is more relevant than ever. With a grateful heart, thanks to Bono, The Edge, Adam and Larry. You're the BEST THING ABOUT MUSIC!!!!
    U2 Tulsa BOK
    Come on Bono!!! Love You Guys but not enough Old songs this concert. Play to Our Generations about my and your age, even my daughter and her friend thought your older songs is where it's at. They are 24 years young. Tulsa remaned the streets for you guys at BOK and didn't play it. I was really looking forward to BAD but no go. You need to come back and play nothing but old songs at The Cains Ballroom Tulsa versions of the Roxy Theatre. You do it for them. Come On Man!!!
    U2 + Tulsa = Amazing!
    I’ve been excited about this show since the date was announced. For the 30 days prior to the concert I’ve been posting song lyrics and videos to FB trying to expand my friend’s musical tastes as well as show them that U2’s music always has a universal message. I’d also stopped listening to anything else but U2 a month ago in preparation for the concert. This show exceeded my expectations which is a feat in itself! I still am so moved with emotion when I think about or listen to The Ocean and Iris and think about the band’s performance. You could hear the anguish and loss in Bono’s voice! Losing someone you love is so difficult but especially so when you are a child and don’t understand what happened or how to process those feelings. Iris acknowledges that loss as well as expresses living with the memories and the happiness they can bring to mind to help you move forward in life and find happiness despite the loss. I lost my brother when I was very young and this song reminds me of the time we had together. Splurging for VIP tickets had a huge payoff when the stage lifted to reveal Adam, The Edge, Larry and Bono standing in front of us so close that it felt like we made eye contact! I was overcome with surprise and excitement! Especially to look to my left later in the show and see Adam standing on a pedestal not more than 6 feet away from me! BEST DAY EVER, BEST SHOW EVER! The musical journey we took with the band was amazing and the message was something we all need to hear as a country. I also got a couple of pieces of the “confetti” that ended up being excerpts from Dante’s Inferno. The show had such a powerful message the world needs to hear and take to heart. U2’s music is the soundtrack to my life.
    Thanks for a great night.
    Best U2 Show for Me
    If you can get there, go. Best U2 show I have been to (number 9 for me) and this includes watching Bono walk/skip the length of the Cotton Bowl dressed like a boxer for the opening of PopMart. If you want to live in the good ole' days, don't go*. You can look up the set list from Tulsa if you are so inclined, but you might ruin at least one, maybe up to 3 or 4, surprises. And, I am really jealous of those who are going to get to hear stuff later on in this tour that I won't. *This does not apply to those who missed the JT 30 year tour and so might be disappointed, but there is nothing from JT in the setlist as of now.
    Best Ever!
    As a long-time U2 fan, I could write a book on why this was my favorite concert ever. I'll just sum it up by saying that God was still in the room, He just came in through a different door. And I loved it!
    I was not at the show...well I periscoped it. For opening night these guys were in mid-tour form. Loved the Innocence tour but this was something else altogether....well done boys!! See you in Nashvegas later this month...cannot wait!!
    My first time at an opening night show, and it was full of surprises! Thank you for playing the deep cuts for us longtime fans. I was so excited to be able to see this show and had a great time meeting and talking with fellow fans in the GA line. There’s just nothing like it!
    Stop hang in the early days fans
    Im counting the days to see them in london and dublin . I read here Now no songs of joshua tree .thats great they played last year
    great concert but..
    No Songs from Joshua Tree. I find that incredible !
    Set list - song left out
    I think Elevation was played right before Vertigo. I remember because I can't stay still through either one! Thank you U2 for coming to Tulsa! A great show.
    Weak set
    What's wrong with this picture? Songs from Pop and a bad Batman movie: 2 Songs from Joshua Tree: zero
    No Songs from Joshua Tree. I find that very sad
    The eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tulsa show is over. Whew! It was something else. The band were very loose considering it was opening night. Not a technical glitch in sight. I was surprised they played so many songs from Innocence and except for The Blackout, the new songs appeared late in the show. They finally played Acrobat live!! And I got to hear Wild Horses for the first time since 1992. Missing from my dream set - Bullet and Mysterious Ways. Bono was back in form, very happy throughout and it showed. Tulsa represented and the arena was virtually sold out. Larry in glasses takes some getting used to - now instead of James Dean, he looks like Clark Kent. Just kidding, Lawrence. For Pride, Edge and Adam got to switch sides of the arena from their normal positions. They were practically in the stands which was great. Edge really got a kick out of it. Not sure how they got there but a magician never shows his tricks.
    Finishing a thought
    That was pretty bold . The fans who already share the sentiment of tonight's message sacrificed the fun and the feel good joy that is a U2 concert, presumably, so that those who don't share the same beliefs might receive the message? I only hope they are capable of redefining that blessing . That was more than finishing a thought . That was a gut punch .
    Please come to Hamilton or TORONTO!
    We need unto please come to HAMILTON or TORONTO, Ontario! Please! Please! PLEASE!
    Inspired to experience U2 in Tulsa
    Blas and Sylvia enjoying a beautiful day in tU2lsa
    at office working on front of the ARENA
    12 hours to go and the fact that my office face the arena is not helping at all ;-) I CANT WAIT
    the excitement is building and an adventure awaits! In a few days i will be there for this opener! Have never seen an opening show and I made sure not to check on the spoilers so I will be so surprised and am so happy!!!!1
    Tulsa set list
    I have been checking out the band's rehearsal set lists from Laval and overall, I'm really excited. I don't feel, however, that the band has revealed the exact set list for the Tulsa show or any show for that matter on this tour. I am not in total panic mode, but I am somewhat concerned about 2 songs that haven't been played. I am hopeful that 2 songs get played on May 2nd and they are Streets and Little Things That Give you away. My reasoning for the band not practicing these tunes to date, might be because they have either played them in their sleep (Streets) or recently on tour and re recorded on Spotify (Little Things). Little Things is my favorite song on the album and think it would be a great way to end a main set before the 1st encore. Edge's guitar is epic and the concert would not be the same concert without it. As for Streets, Tulsa needs God to walk into the BOK center on May 2nd. God has already been taken out of our schools, don't take God out of our U2 Concert :). Hoping for a magical night at the concert, and hopefully the same the night before at McNellies pub in Tulsa. Bono and the Edge could show up downtown and play some acoustic stuff for about 300 hundred fans on the "Eve of Experience Larry and Adam could show up as well, but I know that's not their scene.
    Keep safe !
    Safe travels from Canada to Tulsa ! The count down is on for the fans , to be sure . Bubble wrap til th downbeat wouldn't be a bad idea ????
    Dig deep
    Please play songs from your first 4 records, There are many fans that have been fans for 40 years now, and would like to hear songs from Boy, October, War and The Unforgettable fire., T,hose records are phenomenal and deserve more recognition, Thank you so much, looking forward to the 2 Boston shows!
    So close, yet so far...
    We're missing U2 in Denver, Colorado. I+E tour came for two nights and it was a great show! We missed out on Joshua Tree. Hope you guys join us and bring E+I to the Mile High City!
    Dream U2 2018 Setlist
    Having seen multiple U2 concerts every tour for 30+ years, and putting a little thought into it, here's my dream setlist (in order!) for the upcoming Tour. Curious everyone's thoughts! Setlist: The Blackout / American Soul / Until the End of the World / Unknown Caller / Gone / Desire / Ordinary Love / Vertigo / Please / Electric Co / Angel of Harlem / Beautiful Day / Gloria / Bad / Elevation / Breathe / I Will Follow / Walk On. Encores: Get Out of Your Own Way / Where the Streets Have No Name / Kite / The Fly / Lights of Home / Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. Thought process: Five songs from the new album. Dust off two great songs each from NLOTH, Pop, and Rattle & Hum. Add in Gloria, Walk On, Kite, The Fly and Until the End of the World. I'd argue Until the End of The World competes with Streets for best live u2 song. When that song was the third song in the setlist in the All That You Can't Leave Behind Tour, the audience was in a frenzy the rest of the night every time. Only two Joshua Tree songs but the band is just coming off the tour playing the whole album. if the band wants to mix it up, they could substitute in Staring at the Sun for Please occasionally, or Mysterious Ways for The Fly, Out of Control for I Will Follow, One for Still Haven't Found, for example. Ready to rock in 2018!
    Tickets came today
    Could I be any more excited? Now the question is, do I get the belly dancing costumes back out...... Hmm........
    Love Is All We Have Left -..............
    Love Is All We Have Left Nothing to stop this being the best day ever Nothing to keep us from where we should be I wanted the world but you knew better And that all we have is immortality Don't close your eyes Love and love is all we have left A baby cries on a doorstep Love is all we have left Love and love is all we have left You argue because you can't accept Love is all we have left Now you're at the other end of the telescope Seven billion stars in her eyes So many stars So many ways of seeing Hey this is no time not to be alive Love and love is all we have left A baby cries on a doorstep Love is all we have left Love and love is all we have left The only thing that can be kept Love is all we have left
    Tulsa will be lit!!!
    Looking forward to seeing you guys in Tulsa. I've been a fan for over 35 years and this will be my only 2nd concert. Looking forward to many more!
    'The Blackout' has to be the opening song for the eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour. Would love to see a backing orchestra as well.
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