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U2's Magnificent Tour Opener


09/14/2009
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(antiMusic) antiMusic's Anthony Kuzminski was on hand for U2's tour opener on Saturday, here is his report from the show! Four songs into U2's opening night of their US tour at Soldier Field in Chicago, the band's more prevailing side shined through as the "Magnificent" lifted off like a rocket ship into space. If a ship had appeared, I wouldn't have been surprised as the latest stage by U2 is the most mammoth, audacious, and insane playground ever designed for a rock show. With a moving bridge, an intense desire to bond with the crowd and a chorus that seemed to be sent from the heavens, the band took flight. "Magnificent" was the fourth song to be performed in a row from No Line on the Horizon. The previous three, the rippling "Breathe" led by a thunderous drum attack by Larry Mullen Jr, the distinctive "No Line on the Horizon" and the jagged "Get On Your Boots" were audacious yet failed to elicit much of a reaction from the crowd of 65,000. But with "Magnificent" the band spectacularly connected with each of the 65,000.

"Magnificent" is the type of song that lifts souls, embellishes them and turns your insides outward in a rare display of emotions. The overwhelming majority of people were there to see the hits, of which there were plenty but what U2 brought with them was more than a night of nostalgia, but the Willy Wonka factory of rock productions.

Lasting for two-hours and ten minutes, the twenty-three song set were full of stadium ready anthems and bold juxtapositions. The rhythm section of bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. held the line keeping the concert on track throughout the entire evening. These two forces of nature may not have the charisma of Bono or the flash of The Edge, but they are the foundation upon which U2 is built. Both poured their hearts out on the opener "Breathe", which for as great of a song as it is, doesn't quite achieve what it should as the evening's starter. In fact, it loses some of its impact due to the mid-tempo nature of the song. This is where "Magnificent" should be, as it would allow the band to achieve starlight status immediately with a song that elevates everyone and everything that comes in touch with it. Even though the new material was a tough sell to the crowd, I would be lying to you if U2 didn't fight for their lives in presenting this material to the masses. "Boots" was initially well received but the screams faded fast. However, the stage and screens elevated "Unknown Caller" to sing-along-status proving that U2 uses their glitzy production to their advantage. The biggest re-working of any song in the band's catalog came from "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" reworked in a disco dance beat version which found all four members scowling the entire stage. I was lost at first, but this is a song where the translucent energy of the crowd and the drive of the band worked. - more on this story



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