Elevation 2001, Providence, 30 October 2001
What They Played:
By Michael Prager, Globe Staff, 10/31/2001
PROVIDENCE - The typical U2 concert, if such events could ever be called typical, is made up of equal parts of love and politics, showmanship and musicianship, Bono and the Edge.
At the Big Donut in Providence last night, the band added a heavy helping of good old American patriotism, egged on by the lead singer's numerous allusions to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.
During a lull in "Sunday Bloody Sunday," for example, Bono reached into the crowd from the tip of the heart-shaped stage extension for an American flag. He cradled it, and then went back into one of the song's signature lyrics: "Wipe your tears away."
He dedicated "Kite," from the most recent album "All That You Can't Leave Behind," to anyone who has to let go of someone.
"This is for you, America," he said. And when he returned to the stage for the band's first encore, he came dressed in a New York City Fire Department T-shirt, covered, of course, by his usual, heart-adorned leather jacket, albeit lined with more fabric of the American flag.
He even suggested that Osama bin Laden could kiss his royal Irish posterior.
Beyond the current-events references, though, the show featured many of the same sights and songs the band offered up during a four-spot at the FleetCenter in June. They opened with "Elevation," which was marred by a slight problem with Bono's microphone, and "Beautiful Day" before hitting their first peak with "New Year's Day," which featured the Edge not only on his unparalleled guitar, but also on keyboards.
The band hit another high note with "Staring at the Sun," the only song it played from its lightly regarded "Pop" album. Bono and the Edge played it acoustic, again back out at the tip of the heart. Bono played up its politics in the introduction, railing against religious nuts.
It's a song about fundamentalists, how they remake God in their own image: "Tiny, pathetic, self-obsessed. We've had a few of those at home in Ireland," he said.
Then came the anthem home stretch: "Bad," "Where the Streets Have No Name," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," and "Pride (In the Name of Love)," accompanied by visages of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and snippets of King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
Then came the first encore, with its finale of New York, replete with images of high-rises dancing across vast vertical screens and an improvised lyric: "Even Boston loves New York."
It was perhaps the only
time all evening when Bono was slightly off-key.