The distinct guitar riff of “Even Better Than The Real Thing” ignited the audience and quickly brought everyone to their feet. While some stadium shows can be dicey in terms of sound, U2 know how to rock stadiums and each instrument sounded pristine for a rollicking version of “I Will Follow”.
“Get On Your Boots” had The Edge and Adam Clayton utilize the moving catwalks to maneuver around the perimeter of the stage to engage the enthusiastic fans who held up personalized U2 license plates. The Edge employed a healthy dose of envelop filter on his guitar for the wobbly intro to “Mysterious Ways”.
U2 did manage to play “Happy Birthday” to their manager Paul McGuinness before playing a moving version of “All I Want is You”. Bono earned some bonus points by addressing the crowd as “Orange County!” instead of saying “Los Angeles!” like Lenny Kravitz while working through a pristine acoustic “Stay (Faraway, So Close!).
The heartbeat bass drum kick of “Beautiful Day” was marvelous and strategically paired with a video of astronaut Mark Kelly who dedicated the song to his wife Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was tragically shot in Arizona. Another dedication was made to Maria Shriver for “Pride (In The Name of Love)” as I could feel the thump of Adam Clayton's bass.
A giant cone of lighted LCD screens formed a cone around the band and shrouded them in darkness for “Zooropa”. The Spanish countdown in “Vertigo” was enormous as Bono managed to grab a flag of Mexico from the audience. Larry Mullen Jr. strapped on a bongo and worked the catwalk for “I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight”.
Arabic writing scrolled across the screens for “Sunday Bloody Sunday” showing images of the recent uprisings in the Middle East making the song just as poignant as when it was written. Lighted candles adorned the stage for “Walk On” as Bono used the song as a platform to promote Amnesty International.
Bono grabbed his gorgeous green Gretsch Falcon guitar to strum the chords of “One” for the first song of the encore. The Edge's delayed guitars ricocheted around Angel Stadium for “Where The Streets Have No Name” while old footage of the band flickered on the screens.
Donning a jacket adorned with red lights, Bono swung from an illuminated microphone during “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me”. “With or Without You” and “Moment of Surrender” capped the evening and had Bono thank the audience for giving them great lives.
Opening for U2 is a tough proposition. Lenny Kravitz kept the chatter to a minimum and maxed out his hits entertaining the audience with “Let Love Rule”, “Fly Away” and “Are You Gonna Go My Way?”.
Personal Bias: I blame my extensive collection of delay guitar pedals on The Edge.
Crowd: Just about everyone in Orange County.
Random Notebook Dump: I heard “The Fly”, “Ultraviolet (Light My Way)” and “Even Better Than The Real Thing” during soundcheck since I showed up super early.
“Even Better Than The Real Thing”
“I Will Follow”
“Get On Your Boots”
“Until The End of The World”
“All I Want Is You”
“Stay (Faraway, So Close)
“Pride (In The Name of Love)”
“City of Blinding Lights”
“I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight”
“Sunday Bloody Sunday”
“Where The Streets Have No Name”
“Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me”
“With or Without You”
“Moment of Surrender”