Steve Dunlap bought his tickets through the U2.Com presale back in April. With his friend Dan and their partners, they drove the three and a half hours from Riverside, California to Las Vegas and on Friday night all four got to watch the show from within the ellipse. That's because U2.Com asked Steve to review the show for us. Here's his take.
'One of the first things I noticed about the venue was how small it was in
comparison to the locations I had seen U2 in before. It had a very intimate
feeling, and seemed as if there was not a bad seat in the house. Eight o'clock rolls around and Damian Marley takes the stage - it was
a great performance, one of the best opening acts I have seen for a U2 show.
So here we are, minutes before the band goes on, and the Arcade Fire
is playing. The room was filled with anticipation, and then the lights go out.
Edge, Larry and Adam took the stage to begin 'City of Blinding Lights'. Bono
came out through the ellipse entrance right next to Dan, who was able to snap a quick shot and give Bono a pat on the back before taking the stage. The entire arena exploded during the chorus, and it was the beginning of a truly spectacular evening. The band was on their game that night - Vertigo came off without a hitch, into Elevation, Electric Co. and The Ocean. It was flawless.
Then came one of the highlights of the evening for me: I Still Haven't Found
What I'm Looking For. There was something about this song that stuck out to
me. Edge and Bono seemed to sing this song with such conviction and heart,
which in turn transferred to the audience. Like Dan said at the end of the
show, 'It felt as if we were all in church together.' It's amazing to me how a rock band can turn an arena into an intimate spiritual community. The truly magnificent moment in this song came at the end. Bono mouthed to Edge, 'follow me' and broke into a version of In a Little While with a new melody that both captivated and awed the crowd.
From this point on, the evening got better and better. We saw The King join Bono on stage for a rendition of Can't Help Falling in Love. We experienced the MGM Garden turn into the Milky Way, and Dallas Schoo saved the day during Wild Horses. Bono always talks about having to 'live in the songs' in order to hit the notes; and that night the entire band was living in the songs. We, the audience, were invited to share in that moment with them.
The evening closed appropriately with Yahweh and '40' and we left
the MGM feeling as if we had just experienced something special, something
that we would never experience in the same way again. I think we all took
something from that evening that was distinctively special to each one of us.
The uniqueness of U2 fans reminds me of what my wife had to say about the
evening. She made the comment that U2 is one of those bands that really brings together a wide and diverse audience. Each one of us in that arena was unique and different in our own way, but we found a common connection in U2 that evening. In a way, we 'coexisted', within those walls together that night.'