It's been the opening music right before U2 arrive on stage in show after show, but tonight Wake Up was played twice. Why ? Simply because the wonderful Arcade Fire are supporting U2 on shows in Ottawa and Montreal and this great song is their great song.
Here at the Corel Centre in Ottawa, Arcade Fire opened their first set for U2 with Wake Up - what else could they have played ? - and Tim from the band tells us this is the first time the band have played in an arena and they loved the club-like intimacy of the stage design. In their native country their set went down a storm.. and when the song next rang around the arena there was that extra special feeling of anticipation knowing that it signalled the arrival of the main attraction.
Blinding Lights kicked things off and then we got Vertigo, with a snatch of the great Patti Smith with whom the band had such a great time earlier this week at the shows in New York. Elevation and I Will Follow sped into Still Haven't Found before Beautiful Day brought us to Original of the Species. (Anyone checked the new video for this yet ? It has to be amongst the most startling the band have ever made and on the U2.Com discussion boards, there's some great chat about it.) Bono drops some Rock The Casbah into Sunday Bloody Sunday before pulling some fine vocal assistance for the 'No More's' from a little boy who climbs on stage.
'For the sake of this man, for the sake of this boy' adds Bono, as he leads a new star off the stage. 'May you learn to co exist.'
Miss Sarajevo, he explains, is a song 'we recorded with the big man - Luciano Pavarotti. I will endeavour to take his part.'
Part filled amply. It was very cool to see a big sign being held high at the end of 'Streets', after Bono had talked about the 'dream of equality' being a Canadian dream. The sign read: 'Zootopians united against poverty.' (Good to see U2.Commers on the case!)
'Things do not have to be the way they are,' explained Bono. 'If any of you have got cell phones you can take them out now..
Lets turn this place into a Christmas tree!
Yes I do believe in Santa Claus
But I believe in Canada
And I believe in what makes Canada strong
Looking out for the weak
Big idea, Canadian idea...'
Politicians, he added, continuing a political debate he had entered earlier
'can ignore this wave... but the next wave will carry them away.'
'It's exciting stuff
It's in our grasp
Within our reach to provide clean water to woman so that a child doesn't die every 13 seconds
Within our reach to provide trade
We can't do it without Canada...
This is the Canada of big ideas
And inclusive big dreams
Today I did the rounds of the right and the left
We need you both
We are more powerful when we work together as one
And Prime Minister Martin
I write songs
You write history
Write us a chapter we can be proud of
Finish with .7 %
It is a huge ovation that greets One and a huge cheer when Bono also adds, 'Thanks to the extraordinary Arcade Fire - what a thrill!'
Returning for the first of two encores, Until The End of the World is in tonight's set, along with Mysterious Ways and With or Without You. Bono is dancing right around the stage, front and back, stage left and right, wandering around the ellipse stage in Mysterious Ways, Adam wandering down the other side. The First Time leads into Stuck In A Moment performed at the end of the ramp and dedicated to Michael Hutchence, 'who left us about 8 years ago this week'.
Yahweh and 40 bring a beautiful close to a beautiful night.