September 18, 2009
U2 - Toronto September 17, 2009
Well, that was something. The biggest production I’ve ever seen.
Junior Pup and I got there first after walking completely around “The Dome”. I’ve lived here 26 years and I didn’t know that Gate 14 was next to Gate 1. I'll have to remember that next time.
We emerged from our entrance on Level 5- just about as high as one could get. We were practically vertical. I felt like a limpet on the side of a spaceship and staring us down was this Kling-on octopus thing that was to be U2’s stage. Everything was huge.
Snow Patrol opened while the sun was still out. The Irish band was good and they looked like nice young men. I can say that now because I’m pushing 50. My husband arrived right on time, ready to rock (sort of) and saw most of the opening act.
The only other time in history that The Dome’s (sorry, Rogers Centre's) roof’s been open for a concert was for Bruce Springsteen in ‘03. It was open again tonight and what a sight. The CN tower loomed directly over us, putting on a light show of it’s own, changing colours - whoop, whoop - every 10 seconds or so.
Some well-kempt but extremely drunk middle-aged women (even older than me) and their adult daughters arrived late and the worst of them was destined to rub elbows with me. As she kept drifting off I knew she was in trouble. “Don’t throw up on me- don’t throw up on me,” I muttered to myself. Thankfully, she lasted until “Vertigo” and then she had to leave. Suburbanites!
U2 started at 9:00 and played 23 songs. We were directly in line with the stage but about half a mile away. Their video screen took care of that and at times I had to remind myself that it was real men down there as I was constantly drawn to the live video images and accompanying effects on the screen.
I’m not that familiar with the material from “No Line on the Horizon”. The band opened with that and quickly moved on to the things I’m most familiar with. I’ve appended a set list below.
Bono was an excellent ring leader and amused us with lots of banter about Toronto. The crowd sang the balance of the vocals for "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" witnessed in one of the Youtube vids below. Twice I felt as thought I was participating in an experiment from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Once was the call and response mentioned above and the second - when the people in front of me did a weird hand-clap to the song "Moment of Surrender".
Out of the ordinary was the 30 or 40 youth that “Walked On” the stage all wearing Aung San Suu Kyi masks in tribute of the Burmese activist who cannot “Walk On” as she is under house arrest.
Bono also pulled a boy named Lucas out of the crowd to accompany him on “City of Blinding Lights.” Jogging around the outer rim of the stage, he did an admirable job. I kind of cringe at this thing but Lucas will remember it all his life.
Lights seemed to shoot up to a point in the sky. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see the “Bat Insignia”. At one point light from a huge disco ball dotted the crowd, the CN Tower and the surrounding condos. More that once Bono implored the condo dwellers to flick their lights if they were listening. How could they not be?
Towards the end of the show, the mercurial Bishop Desmond Tutu spoke to us on the video screen, and in his own way introduced the song “One”.
Then the limos arrived and I thought the show was over but Bono reappeared for the second encore in a suit trimmed with red neon lights. He sang into a dangling neon microphone reminiscent of those used in old radio shows. With a life of its own I thought that Bono would have to perform a Cirque du Soleil move to keep it in place.
It was a great evening. I’m sure it was the biggest and the best spectacle I’ve ever seen. The best $32 plus handling I've spent in a long time.
No Line On The Horizon
Get On Your Boots
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
New Year's Day
Stuck In A Moment
The Unforgettable Fire
City Of Blinding Lights
Sunday Bloody Sunday / Rock The Casbah (snippet)
One / Amazing Grace (snippet)
Where the Streets Have no Name
Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
With Or Without You
Moment of Surrender
Thanks to backpackdave09
Thanks to Sobriquet77
I've been borrowing pictures willnilly off Flickr. Thanks to Onion for the top image and Kmaraj for the 2nd image and the shot of the Tower. Kmaraj must have been sitting close as we seem to have had the same sightlines.