Concert Review: U2 Innocence + Experience

Opening night of U2’s global Innocence + Experience tour, debuted tonight in Vancouver, was uniformly excellent and gets a solid B+. The band masterfully weaves in its plaintive new songs from its underappreciated iTunes album into a narrative journey with its early punk hits, a tribute to Bono’s mom (I Will Follow/Mofo/Iris) and allusions to take troubled Irish upbringing (Sunday Bloody Sunday/Raised by Wolves) morphing into a commentary on Ameriimagecan strife of late (Bullet the Blue Sky/The Troubles/Hands That Built America/Pride). Fans get heavy doses of Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby hits, with Until the End of the World from the latter album as one of the few unexpected songs. There was a patch of the show with videos about celebrity that I was sure would segue into a brief attempt to redeem the Pop album, but it inexplicably set up the isolated single Invisible instead. The band grooved its way beautifully through Desire and Mysterious Ways. The technology of the show was a triumph indeed, with Bono taking a literal walk down memory lane from the catwalk of a two-sided LED light board simulating an illustrated Cedarwood Road. Fan favorite songs missing from the show were One, Acrobat and Volcano – and there were definitely some clunkers that could have stepped aside for these. One inspired moment brought a volunteer from the audience to film a song on her phone, but both the impromptu projected video and the featured song (The Sweetest Thing) rated high on the “meh” meter. Bono, The Edge, Adam and Larry were all in terrific musical shape, and the staging was very democratic for everyone to enjoy the view. Often this felt like U2’s rock opera, with backstories, coming of age and even a Wall. It was a technical and sonic spectacular and a great shot out of the cannon that one of the world’s greatest band is still alive and kicking and quite relevant in demonstrating new tricks to show us what we’re looking for.

I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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