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U2 - Vertigo Tour 1st leg: North America

2005-05-21: Madison Square Garden, New York - New York

( venue website | other U2 shows at this location )

<<< 2005-05-19 - New York | 2005-05-22 - Philadelphia >>>


Review

2005-05-25 - New York, New York submitted by ZOOTVTOURist

Here we are now in the Madison Square Garden: After the splendid and more than fitting opening with "City Of Blinding Lights" (see also my review on 05/17/05) it's time for the excellent rocking "Vertigo" - as the night before with a snippet by Bono, but a different one: The singer shouts out "Rockaway Beach" and so pays tribute to one of U2's early heroes, "The Ramones" - a punk band having tragically lost now nearly all of their members, but forever on our minds. Another staple highlight in the current setlist follows: The interaction between Bono, Larry and the crowd singing along only the Edge's guitar to "Elevation", until the whole band joins in and gets the groove. As in East Rutherford's 1st night a whole bunch of tunes from BOY follows, that hasn't been played for decades: "The Cry", "The Electric Co." and "An Cat Dubh" with its coda "Into The Heart". Having said that, it is not the same performance: Bono talks about the early gigs of U2 in town to intrduce this brilliant stuff - and he can explain that way, why the band has decided to chose this material, they feel so conected with. And this emotional relation shows in the way, the band plays the tunes: an even superior version than in the Meadowlands. Highlights are the snippets "Send In The Clowns" and "I Can See For Miles" in one of the best versions of "The Electric Co." ever and a great "Into the Heart". Then - as the two nights before - Bono decides to link the rousing "Beautiful Day" with The Beatles' "Blackbird" showing the singer's deep feelings and concerns for the rights of coloured people. The very impressive bunch of "Miracle Drug", "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own", "Love And Peace Or Else" follows. Being in great mood the oncoming track, "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is another musical triumph: The crowd sings as loud as possible, letting Bono and Edge be soulful and improvising the words in other melodies, enriching the often heard and played tune enormously. "Bullet The Blue Sky" sees apart from the "usual" snippets "The Hands That Built America" and "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" a reference to the city itself: "New York, New York". The following "Running To Stand Still" and its "Hallelujah" coda has the finest and longest harp intro of the gigs in the NYC area - and a beautiful audience's choir, that could bring to tears. After the "Human Rights" interference, the three topic songs "Pride (In The Name Of Love)", "Where The Streets Have No Name" and "One" follow - tunes, that are played very inspired, with Bono talking about his current engagement for Africa and against extreme poverty. Then ACHTUNG BABY goes on: The ex-tour opener "Zoo Station" returning to U2's setlists, "The Fly" with a great band jam in the outro, a short full band cover version of "Jean Genie" as a tribute to David Bowie being in the house tonight and one of the Greatest Hits, "Mysterious Ways". Then Bono requests for the new "Original Of The Species" - and this time U2 deliver a really wonderful, intense version of this song. The last encore sees the return of the rocking, tambourine driven "All Because Of You" followed by the prayer like "Yahweh", its chorus sung by everybody in the audience. And then? Neither '40' nor "Bad", but a hard rocking, cut short and nailed "Vertigo" - wow!

A very personal note at the end: These three shows in East Rutherford and New York City belong to the very best, I've ever heard U2 play. It's so great to see the band interacting so close, having fun being onstage - and playing songs, they haven't performed for decades, Greatest Hits and the excellent new tracks. Enjoy and thank you, U2!

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