|U2’s eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour is coming to the Forum in Inglewood, CA on Tuesday, May 15|
and Wednesday, May 16. U2, from left, is The Edge, Bono, Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton.
Photo by Danny North
Exactly one year after seeing U2 perform the kick-off to their previous tour in British Columbia, I found myself in Las Vegas at the decidedly more intimate T-Mobile Arena catching the sixth show of their eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour on a beautiful Saturday night (May 12, 2018).
|Bono (pictured) and the other members of U2 will|
bring high-tech visuals to arenas this spring and
summer. Photo by Danny North
All of the planning, 21st century technology and great sound systems in the world wouldn't mean a thing if U2 couldn't deliver artistically. A long-time fan of U2 (I first caught the band at the US Festival in May 1983 and have seen them dozens of times since), the band delivered a powerful and deeply affecting 130-minute concert event on May 12. Those wanting a nostalgic-centered show of hits will only be partially satisfied; about a half of the songs offered up in Las Vegas came from the band's two most recent albums (2014's Songs of Innocence and 2017's Songs of Experience).
|Bono, left, and The Edge seen on the massive projection|
screen during the performance of the deep cut "Acrobat."
Photo by Robert Kinsler
The consequence of this calculated focus on deeper and newer cuts were long-time favorites such as "With or Without You," "Bullet the Blue Sky" and "Where the Streets Have No Name" were nowhere to be found. But there was such power in the set that such omissions didn't matter; in fact, they likely enhanced this night.
Special moments came early and continued through the fast-moving two-part concert. Bono opened the show, alone on the long ramp as he sang "Love Is All We Have Left," a foreshadowing of the wide-ranging themes of love, loss, family, faith and political turmoil that defined so much of the lyrical content to come.
The Edge's guitar playing continues to astound, especially when heard in an expansive concert setting; his first major solo during "Lights Of Home" bolstered that song to be sure. And even his driving rhythm work was a wonder, notably on early favorites such as "I Will Follow" and "Gloria," the latter featuring his use of both ringing harmonics and even pounding on the guitar body for effect before unleashing another otherworldly lead foray. And, never to be overlooked, the signature drive of Clayton's driving bass guitar and Mullen Jr.'s solid drumming provided for nuanced and potent versions of the material all night. The house lights up, the band roared through "Beautiful Day."
|U2 on the big screen. Photo by Robert Kinsler|
"Sunday Bloody Sunday" also benefited from the stage production. All four members performed, lined up on the ramp an equal distance apart. The subsequent performance of a newer song, "Raised By Wolves," got a huge unprompted boost when a good share of the audience would sing the "Raised By Wolves" refrain. And capping up the mighty run, U2 leveled the arena with a rocking version of "Until the End of the World."
The second half of the concert was just as awe-inspiring, featuring a high-octane opening punch with "Elevation" and "Vertigo." An acoustic-styled set presented on the second stage included "Desire," the aforementioned "Acrobat," lovely "You're The Best Thing About Me" and "Staring at the Sun."
|A view of the projection screen during U2's set on May 12.|
Photo by Robert Kinsler
U2's set list at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, May 12, 2018
Love Is All We Have Left, The Blackout, Lights Of Home, I Will Follow, Gloria / , Beautiful Day, The Ocean, Iris (Hold Me Close), Cedarwood Road, Sunday Bloody Sunday / , Raised By Wolves / , Until the End of the World, (Intermission - Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me), Elevation, Vertigo / , Desire, / Acrobat, You're The Best Thing About Me , Staring at the Sun , / Pride (In the Name of Love), Get Out Of Your Own Way, American Soul, City of Blinding Lights
Encore: One / , Love Is Bigger Than Anything in Its Way, 13 (There Is A Light)
(Click Here to read my post that originally ran in The Orange County Register looking at "6 things to know about U2's eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour that comes to the Forum this week")