09 November 2001
U2's Return Concert Compelling, Hopeful
The most successful tour of 2001 returned to the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night writes G. Brown of the Denver Post.
The most successful tour of 2001 returned to the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night - and for a moment, it appeared U2's show was going to feature the same collage of hits offered up at the venue in April.
Once again, the band opened with the stripped-down, punchy "Elevation" and "Beautiful Day," the debut track from the most recent album, "All That You Can't Leave Behind."
But with the sellout crowd singing along, the song rang out with new meaning - "It's a beautiful day," Bono sang as he pranced around the heart-shaped catwalk bordering the stage, "don't let it get away. "
It was the first helping of American patriotism that U2 served up over the course of the evening.
In the wake of Sept. 11, several acts canceled shows or postponed tours. But U2 stayed out on the road providing a form of healing for sorrow and mourning, the old earnest, righteous rock anthems addressing our fear and uncertainty in the new climate of terrorist hijackings and anthrax threats.
And so "Out of Control" from the band's first album, 1980's "Boy," sounded more potent than ever, as did "Sunday Bloody Sunday," an eloquent expression of grief and anger.
Bono, clad in black leather, grabbed an American flag from the audience and bowed his head - and when the crowd started a chant of "USA! USA!," he went into the song's signature lyric, "Wipe your tears away."
The lilting R&B of "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of" resonated with its opening lines of resolve and indomitable spirit.
The Irish band hit another high note with "Please" - a tune, Bono said, that "we wrote a few years ago about what's going on in our country that could have been written three months ago about what's going on in your country." He railed against religious fundamentalists "and how they re-create God in their own image."
The encore of the elegiac "One" provided a flood of emotions as the names of all the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks rolled behind the band on screens. The show then closed with the uplifting "Walk On."
Earlier in the performance, there was a reference to another current event that was more personal - Bono dedicated "Kite" to his father, whom he lost several months ago.