U2 in Dallas. Special Report by U2.Com Subscriber Dave Nailing. 'I'm sure it's been said before but the camera phone is the new disposable lighter.
Even before U2 so much as set foot onstage at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, the crowd was speckled by hundreds of bright blue LCD screens.
Whether held aloft by amateur photographers or by those simply attempting to broadcast the set's opener to a loved one, these tiny electronic devices were set to record a momentous live set by Dublin's finest.
The group could not have picked a stronger opener than City of Blinding Lights, a song that is capable of demonstrating both the sonic strength of the group itself and the visual strength of Vertigo '05. The song's coda soared, backed by the thousands of little tennis ball-sized LEDs strung at the stage's rear.
Vertigo and Electric Co were played with the intensity of men half the band's age. The AA Center could have been momentarily transformed into Larry Mullen's kitchen and we all would've been none the wiser. This sensation was only strengthened by the band's decision to tag a portion of Patti Smith's Rock'n'Roll Nigger onto the end of a raucous Vertigo.
The majority of the set found U2 in vintage form. Newer songs such as Miracle Drug and Love and Peace (or Else) sat warmly between old standards like I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For and Where the Streets Have No Name.
Camera phones were again held aloft (this time at Bono's insistence) prior to the group's rendition of One. Once again, those same LCDs dotted the mass of onlookers at the AA Center.
'Turn this place into a Christmas tree,' remarked Bono. 'Look what's under the Christmas tree... It's Dallas, Texas.'
Those immediately inside and outside of the stage's ellipse were treated to scaled-down Bono & Edge-only versions of The First Time and Stuck in a Moment.
As Larry and Adam once again appeared onstage, so too did a new member of the band. Brandising a 'Me + Guitar = Angel of Harlem' sign, one concertgoer was invited onstage for what could only become one of the most memorable experiences of his life. Luckily for all those in attendance, this fan was no slouch. He handled the song perfectly on one of Edge's spare acoustics. His singing, on the other hand...
The band's second and final encore consisted of beautiful renditions of Yahweh and 40, the former exhibiting the strongest visuals of any song in the set. '40' was the perfect bookend to the evening, as the AA Center stood as one singing 'How long to sing this song...'
All in all, it was an unforgettable night of music... but that's only half the story. As I was selected to provide U2.Com with an 'audience review' I was treated to all sorts of things that I never thought I would experience.
Having never been backstage at ANY show, no matter how large or how small, it was odd to be given the opportunity to see some of the inner workings of the biggest band on the planets road show. I don't want to gush, but at times like this, it's damn-near impossible.
DISCLAIMER: Being a bonafide guitar geek, I apologize in advance for the sections that follow. I could only stand in awe while being introduced to Edge's guitar tech, Dallas Schoo. Here, right in front of me, was a man that I had read volumes about in an attempt to determine just what was going on with that mission control-sized rig he's in charge of keeping up-and-running on a nightly basis. I stood only feet away from Edge's AC-30s: amplifiers that have been responsible for producing some of the most inspiring sounds that I have ever heard. The Edge's Korg SDD-3000's...the ages-old Boss boxes... the Lovetone Meatball!
Again. I apologize. I was asked to write about my experience, and sadly enough, these are the things that truly stick out. These are the things that I will remember years from now...and I have no problem with that, whatsoever.'