It was a night of good music and heartfelt wishes for a better world at the U2 concert on Sunday, Oct. 16, at the Wachovia Center.
Philadelphia was one of 30 lucky cities on the third leg of the band’s Vertigo tour. From “Vertigo” to “Sunday Bloody Sunday” to “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own,” the show was electrifying from beginning to end.
The band started things off with a lively rendition of “City of Blinding Lights,” from their latest album, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. The performance was literally highlighted by exquisite lighting from the circular stage and dangling beaded lights that displayed beautiful colors and moving images that added to the already powerful lyrics of U2’s song selections for the evening.
For the first portion of the program, Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. opted to perform the more popular tracks from their most recent albums, including “Atomic Bomb,” and the Grammy award-winning “All That You Can’t Leave Behind.”
The audience was on its feet and singing along during “Elevation,” but they managed to disappoint Bono by forgetting the words to “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” “That’s OK,” he told the audience with a smile. “It’s our song, anyway.”
Bono never ceased to promote his politics and optimism in the future of the human race. His enthusiasm for bringing about positive change was as lively and entertaining as his musical performances throughout the evening.
At one point, he wore a headband with the word “Coexist” written on it. Three of the letters were written as religious symbols, with the “x” shaped like the Star of David, and the “t” written as a Christian cross.
The most entertaining aspects, aside from the musical performances and the energy with which they were delivered, came from the audience itself. At three instances, Bono selected a member of the audience to aid him in performing a particular song.
The most memorable use of an audience member came during “Bullet the Blue Sky,” where Bono chose a young boy named Owen from the audience to lead him around the stage as the U2 frontman wore his “Coexist” headband as a blindfold. Owen successfully led him around the stage, and at the end of the song, Bono told him, “Thanks for getting me home safely.”
Twenty songs and three encores later, U2 called it a night, but not before Bono said, “Philadelphia, you’re a very handsome town,” much to the delight of the audience.
Marta Rusek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.