I made to GM place to see U2 last night with Lauren, a show I’d really been looking forward to, having decided to allow myself to get wrapped up in the excitement of a large stadium show, something I normally avoid. But it’s U2, a band I’ve been a fan of for ages, and a band nearing (if not already passed) the end of their “creative” career. I don’t want to see U2 simply touring on past glories like the Rolling Stones do.
The show was everything it should have been: loud, flashy, energetic, colorful. Bono, the supreme king of stadium rock, with his exaggerated gestures, manages to seemingly effortlessly dominate the arena. It never felt he was singing to an anonymous arena, it felt he was singing to us, the audience (a minor distinction, but, having seen a few stadium shows, an important one). The band played a good mixture of new and old tunes, although they played slightly too many songs from Achtung Baby, given that the only time I’ve seen them before was for the ZooTV tour, in support of that album. Somewhat disapointingly, those songs don’t translate from their techno-fuelled origins to new-U2-style rockers that well (the masterful “One” an obvious and explicable exception)
And of course Bono pulled out all the regular tricks, changing the lyrics of “Beautiful Day” to read “see Vancouver right in front of you”, then rambling on mid-show about memories of old buildings no longer here. He also got political, taking time to first take Paul Martin to task for not getting in on the 0.7% project (0.7% of GDP to end poverty), including flashing a number on screen for the crowd to call Paul Martin. He then gave Paul Martin some support, telling the crowd he thought that Paul Martin was the person to get this done for Canada (of course, could you image Stephen Harper getting behind this project?). The cynic in me immediately asks “So, Bono, is even 0.7% of the revenues from this tour going to Make Poverty History?” If they’re serious about make us (ok, me at least), take them more seriously, why not flash things like “Your ticket purchases raised X-thousand dollars to end poverty” or some such. Some indication that the band is participating in this aim as well, at the very least. I suppose selling little white MakePovertyHistory.ca bracelets is something, if only creating a new fad that does good despite the complete lack of intention on the part of the buyers.