Give me one more chance, and you'll be satisfied.
Give me two more chances, you won't be denied.
Well my heart is where it's always been
My head is somewhere in between
Give me one more chance, let me be your lover tonight...'
With that, U2 started their longest set on their U2360 tour in front of a rabid, adoring crowd on a hot summer night in Jersey! The words from “Even Better than the Real Thing” were an act of contrition for fans disappointed by Bono’s back injury and denied the pleasure of U2’s company for the past two years and judging by the response of the sold-out stadium, we were all willing to give the band one more chance!
“If you’re Irish, it’s hot tonight. Just sayin’,” joked Bono as he addressed the crowd for the first time in the new Meadowlands Stadium. “It’s our first time playing here but we’ve played East Rutherford (site of the new stadium and the old Giants Stadium) a total of 24 times.
“Even Better than the Real Thing” was followed by an extraordinary run of Achtung Baby chestnuts: “The Fly,” “Mysterious Ways,” and “Till the End of the World.” Ever the brilliant marketers, the lads front-loaded the set list to whet everyone’s whistle for the deluxe box-set version of that classic album later this year.
No review of U2360 review would be complete without mentioning the stage, which is such a part of the show experience that it deserves to be a fifth member of the band. The four thin legs support a larger space ship structure that pulses with light as the speakers embedded within it bathe the fans in a wave of sound. Like a space ship, the combustible stuff is at the bottom and the band uses a deceptively small playing area to shoot sparks into the humid night air.
Even though this stage is a monstrosity as tall as the stadium itself, the small footprint of the stage on the floor of the stadium allows the band to pack in an extra few thousand fans per show and contributed to them crushing attendance records previously set in the Rolling Stones’ stadium shows. Fans in the standing room only section near the stage pumped their fists, screamed, and energized the band into overdrive.
'New Jersey, hot summer night, where you gonna take us?' asked Bono. Jumping aboard the U2360 spaceship, you never know where you'll be taken just that you'll never come back the same.''Where we gonna go, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey.'
The band took the crowd through an eclectic mix of songs from three decades. Yes, obvious crowd pleasers like “Elevation,” “Vertigo,” “Pride,” and “I Will Follow.” “Still Haven’t Found what I’m Looking For” had Springsteen’s “Promised Land” stitched into it tonight as a tip o’ the hat to The Boss, who was reportedly in the house. “Thank you, Father Bruce, for tonight’s altar and many other things.”
There were songs included in tonight’s set list that represents a massive re-haul from the set list played 2 years ago. “Miss Sarajevo” makes her debut onstage before a slinky, sexy read of “Zooropa.” “Stay,” a track from Zooropa that is one of the most soulful things the band have ever produced in this humble reviewer’s opinion (and Bono’s), was stripped to just an acoustic guitar, producing a rare quiet moment that brought the most goose bumps.
Maybe it was The Boss or maybe it was the hot weather, but Bono’s mind was on the Jersey Shore tonight! He told a story about how thirty years ago they were playing the Fast Lane in Asbury Park.
So much has changed, so much hasn't', mused Bono. 'Four Irish boys, out of control...' It led to a read later that night of 'Out of Control', in the set in 1981 that Bono says included “The Ocean,”11 O'Clock Tick Tock,” “I Will Follow,” “An Cat Dubh.” Imagine being at that show!
Bono prowled the stage with a large green guitar before gently strumming Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” a spine-tingling start to a goosebump-inducing “Where the Streets with No Name.” It produces one of those magical moments that makes pushing through the stadium traffic so worthwhile.
The band tipped the hat to Clarence Clemons with “Moment of Surrender,” a sentimental track from the newer No Line on the Horizon. “Clarence was a beautiful man and a symphonic personality,” Bono said.
Bono described himself as a man of simple tastes: “200 tons and an army of trucks to put on this show.” Thirty years and 23 appearances after their Asbury show, they still remain the greatest show on earth.
Full set list:
Until the End of the World
I will Follow
Get on Your Boots
City of Blinding Lights
Go Crazy Disco montage
Discotheque medley (with Psycho Killer dropped in)
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
Where the Streets have no Name
Hold Me Kiss Me Thrill Me Kill Me
With or Without You
Moment of Surrender
Out of Control