After 40 years, U2 still delights.
U2 brought the Experience + Innocence tour to the Forum on Tuesday for a two-date run. Since U2 is not headlining the Joshua Tree Music Festival, alas, I ventured to Inglewood to experience evocations to U2’s decades past—and hope for the future.
The tour, in support of U2’s 2017 album Songs of Experience, is full of considerate and pertinent songs in this political age—but all the new material pushed out some of the hits, including, “Where The Streets Have No Name,” which started a riot of love when they filmed the video to the song in Los Angeles in 1987—a shoot which became famous when the LAPD shut down the filming.
U2 performed on two stages connected by a catwalk; that catwalk had two curtain-like screens that an audience member could partially see through, if the screens were not lit with video imagery. The U2 app also included an interactive augmented reality one could view on one’s phone while at the show. Maybe I am set in my ways, but why I would want to stare at my phone instead of watching a world-famous band?
Bono’s performed part of the show as MacPhisto, the character he created for the Zoo TV—tour complete with white face and a top hat. Bono, of course, used his celebrity platform to push social causes; prior to introducing “One,” he bungled the hashtag he was promoting (#womenoftheworldtakeover), saying, “So many hashtags in my life. Shit happens when people get organized.”
U2 did not shy away from political references, flashing images of tiki-torch mobs during “Staring at the Sun.”
Bono tugged at hearts as he talked about the band’s start in Dublin, playing “Raised by Wolves,” a song about the “troubles” in Ireland, and “Iris (Hold Me Close),” a song about his mother, who died when he was 14.
Bono was nostalgic during “Cedarwood Road,” a song about his youth named after the street on which he grew up. Visual magic on the video screen gave the appearance that Bono was in front of his childhood home.
The diverse 26-song set list included “Songs of Experience,” “Pride,” “City of Blinding Lights,” “Vertigo” and new-song “The Blackout,” which was perfectly loud. “Love Is All We Have Left,” another new song, showed that U2 still has heart and political bravado—and that in this world of fake news, we can still yearn for love.
As the show neared the end, Bono said, “This city has been so good to us.” Bono then added: “Edge is from the future, How is the future, Edge?”
Edge responded: “It’s better.” Better, indeed, as long as music connects us.