Monday, October 31, 2005

The Edge

The Edge
Originally uploaded by ultraviolet1975.
Nothing like a Saturday night concert to welcome U2 back to Dallas. The Dallas Vertigo Tour stop was their 2nd consecutive evening & final stop through Texas. Here's a nice shot of Edge strutting along a plank. (A very nice photo set of the show from the GA section posted on flickr by Crystal from Arlington - thanks, Crystal.)

The setlist offered something for everyone - from new fans to cranky, old fans that long to stay anchored somewhere in 1982. The photo here is of Edge struttin' his stuff (maybe during "Electric Co."?) on the ellipsis stage plank- U2's contribution to arena-rock advancement & evolution. At any given time during the concert - you could be front-row center for the moment of the show. The show displayed a combination of soul, musicianship, sonic power & energy. During "Vertigo", Bono channeled the Ramones & it appeared that somewhere along the elliptical catwalk he stumbled on a live-wire as he belted notes from Patti Smith's "Rock & Roll Nigger" a moment doused in electricity. (Hadn't heard that song since the seventies & was racking my memory to remember the artist!) A highlight early in the show - "Miracle Drug" from the new album How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb . It felt then & there like the band managed to make this basketball & hockey arena lift off the ground & soar. Edge sang a verse all by himself! He's got a fantastic voice, that one.

Bono recalled U2's first stop here in Dallas 25 years ago and thanked the fans for giving them the privileged life they have (very kind of him to say). We were situated in section 124 row W behind the stage. (I think you can make us out a little to the left of Larry Mullen Jr. in one of the Flickr photos.) The rear-of-the-stage vantage point allowed a chance to see Adam Clayton & Larry anchor the band - but they also strutted out a couple of times (albeit a bit tentatively) on the elliptical stage ramp. It must be weird for a drummer to amble out there off his seat into the audience - off the safety of his little drumkit and feel what it's like for the lead singer out there. That's when it occurred to me that I'd never really witnessed anything like that - at a number of points in the show, the band members were equally spread out on the arena floor- rocking the house, yes, but also shrinking the arena considerably from the vantage point of the fans - quite the little magic trick upon reflection - 4 points holding together the music from 50+ yards away of each other. Brilliant!

They played "Miss Sarajevo" & Bono sang Luciano Pavarotti's Italian part beautifully (this, by the way, might be the only way I like to experience opera - in short , minute-long quotations in the middle of a 2+ hour rock show.) But it goes to point out that these guys really do walk the plank - opera during a rock show?! "Dici che il fiume trova la via al mare..." And during "Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own" - he again stepped out on the vocal high-wire - "Can you hear me when I SING, you're the reason I sing, you're the reason why the opera is in me." These moments were exhilarating in the musical sense, but you're also thinking performance-wise - gosh, if he doesn't hit that note - he's screwed. Yes - he hits the note - but you're breathless until he does so successfully because it's a very steep precipice from which to jump. And yes - we ate it up - just like the pasta that Bono said he'd been at!

Other highlights - the kid they pulled up onstage to play guitar with them during "Angel of Harlem". The show is so carefully orchestrated technically that it was really something to see this kid so nonchalantly get up with them & play & not be completely petrified. We were all up there with him.

Also - we got to kick the soccer ball around outside in the AAC parking lot before & after the show. That was way more fun than it should have been considering it was on concrete & while cars are entering and exiting hastily. But it was a great way to channel some of the pre & post-show energy on a beautiful late-October night in North Texas. (Apologies to the guy with the fancy white Lexus next to us. The dent should pop right out.)

Can't wait to hear what everyone else thought of the concert.