On the sixth of June with Farnaz as my witness, I “heard a song that made sense out of the world." U2’s music has always meant a great deal to me and seeing them live further reaffirmed this. Keeping in touch with their roots while remaining lively as ever, U2 put on a show for the ages at the Pepsi Center. Kicking things off with “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)” the band brought their latest album to center stage before traveling back in time with an equally rousing performance of “The Electric Co.”
With the main stage resembling a giant letter “I” and a smaller sub-stage in the shape of a lowercase “e”, a giant screen dangling from the ceiling provided the centerpiece from which visuals were displayed that complemented the songs while also providing a location for the band to play from for a few songs.
Besides releasing many successful albums, U2 is known for taking a stand on issues that matter. Expressing their solidarity with Baltimore and Ferguson, “Bullet the Blue Sky” was particularly powerful as it was prefaced with the haunting echo of “ni-ni-ni 19,” from Paul Hardcastle’s song “19” to call attention to many young African American men who have died as a result of police brutality. Seamlessly transitioning into “Pride (In the Name of Love)”, the band further reflected on the state of race relations. Growing up on the north side of Dublin the band bore witness to The Troubles, which parallel today in America as illustrated by the visceral energy of “Raised by Wolves”. Along with “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, these songs showcased the dynamic between Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. that has flourished over the years anchoring the band, making the pathos associated with each song all the more palpable.
Tugging at the audience’s heartstrings’ in a different way, “Song for Someone” imagined in young Bono’s bedroom on the video screen for his wife, Alison, evoked the tender sweetness of first love. An equally emotional performance from Bono came during “Iris (Hold Me Close)” dedicated to his late mother while family videos of the titular Iris were projected on the screen interspersed with an animated night sky with constellations outlined to the crescendo of Larry’s impassioned drumming. Showcasing his talent on the piano, The Edge's performance made the acoustic version of "Every Breaking Wave" all the more poignant. Bringing out “With Or Without You” to wrap things up before the lull between the main-set and the encore left me emotionally compromised.
Say what you will about Songs of Innocence automatically syncing to your iPhone or other Apple device via the Cloud however, U2 manage to set the standard for stadium shows, leaving fans like me eager for more.