Bono and Adam Clayton
Kings of Leon
The Edge and Bono
Review and Photos by Phil BonyataHow ironic that the world's most successful band (sorry Rolling Stones) named itself after a supersecret American spy plane from the 1950s. Not since the Beatles has a band been so oversaturated. Spinning all of their hits from your iPod to invading the halls of Congress and the U.N., the "u" in ubiquitous resides exclusively with the four mates from Dublin. After 25 years - U2 have come full circle. From the sparse and anthemic beginnings with Boy and War to the spirituality of The Joshua Tree to the underrated electronica experimentation of Achtung Baby, Zooropa and Pop and back home again with All That You Can't Leave Behind and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Is their evolution complete? It's very doubtful, as these talented artists don't stay content for very long.
Opening a four night soldout stint at the United Center in Chicago last night, U2 has staked its claim as a formidable musical and social voice. The four bandmates, with spotlights in hand, strutted down the oval shaped "ellipse" (a catwalk that is very close to their last tour's heart-shaped catwalk) in total darkness. With excited anticipation properly put in place - the band charged into spirited versions of "Vertigo," "Elevation" and "Beautiful Day." Bono, carrying a few more pounds then a few years ago, still exudes rock stardom with his tight black jeans, black denim jacket and wrap-around sunglasses. You can't fake charisma - the man drips from head-to-toe with it. On "New Year's Day" the Edge crashed cascading chords over Bono's wailing cries for peace. The now famous martial drumbeat that opens "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" still bleeds with the lost souls of Ireland's "troubles." It's a majestic statement with the Edge's scratchy and rhythmically choppy guitar work overlapping the rock-solid foundation of drummer Larry Mullen and bassist Adam Clayton. U2 has been accused of being self-righteous in their protests for peace and combatting hunger and disease - especially in the war torn and poverty stricken continent of Africa. Many believe rock stars shouldn't preach - just rock ' n roll. U2 sees it differently. With the enormous fame and wealth that they have amassed over the years, they now have the pulpit to exact real change in the world. They have a powerful voice to influence change from the common man to the President himself. Theirs is a message of hope and change rather than one of blame. Bono is always searching for the soul and truth of his spirituality through his poetic and intensely personal lyrics.
On "Bullet the Blue Sky" off of 1988's Rattle and Hum Bono turned his headband into a blindfold and dropped to his knees while crying out the chorus as the Edge's blistering chords helped to reach climax together. "Running To Stand Still," "Bad," "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" and "Where The Streets Have No Name" were admirably performed as well. "One" (arguably the greatest song thet U2 has written to date) had Bono passionatley sing of sorrow, compassion and pleading for hope at the same time.
The encores consisted of "Zoo Station," "The Fly," "Mysterious Ways," "All Because Of You." "Yahweh" amd "40." All were delivered with a renewed energy. U2 has taken a seat among the rock giants and it so happens that their reservation is at the head of the table.
Openers Kings of Leon performance fell mostly on deaf ears (except for the first few rows of younger general admission fans) as the older crowd wasn't in the mood for their special brand of southern-fried garage rock. Opening with "Molly Chambers" lead singer Caleb Followill's alluring, yet discordant voice helped set the song's stucture while the bands rotating tempos climaxed with a bombshell. The three brothers and one cousin have a bright future ahead of them with their unique flavor of backwater and gin soaked garage rock. Give U2 credit as they always try to find talented up-and-coming bands to open for them on tour.
Kings of Leon
Kings of Leon
Larry Mullen and Bono
Bono on drums
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