If you haven’t seen all the videos that @U2 has been putting on YouTube for the Innocence + Experience tour, go look at them now. They have had some great coverage of the entire show, it’s not quite like being there but it is near to it. Take a look at the video for City Of Blinding Lights, they have transformed it once again, this time with a Stephen Hawking intro and all the video you see on the screen. It’s amazing. And they used it as the regular opening song for the Vertigo tour, with the light curtains coming down, when Bono would appear out on the edge of the heart, another great scene to see. Seems like the song brings out the inspiration for showmanship in the band.
City Of Blinding Lights is one of the few songs I have loved since first hearing it. From the moment it starts with the high pitched guitar and piano, with their twinkling together point by point, until it accelerates into the rest of the song as the drums and bass join in, it grabs me and doesn’t let go. Those moments where Edge is playing into the long whine of the guitar just sound great. I love the “Oh. You. Look. So. Beautiful. Tonight.” sound of the words, the cadence Bono sings them at, it is a huge raising of the spirits.
So the point of the song appears to be about the big city, but it’s also about growing up. The city lit by fireflies, it could be the city that Zooropa was based on, it could be the stepping out into the world from wherever you come from. It actually fits nicely into the Innocence part of the current tour, because much of it is about the early days, about the band heading to the bright lights of the big city, “getting ready to leave the ground.” They’ve been using it on the tour as the opener for the encore, when really it could be the end of part one, or the beginning of part two of the show. Not that I should be telling U2 how to create their set of course (although I will, sometime later in the year).
“Blessings not just for the ones who kneel, luckily” is what Bono sings at the end, and this is his hint toward religion and the idea of God. See, there are people who say that if you’re not a true believer in their religion, if you don’t pray all the time, if you’re not “saved,” and most importantly if you don’t give them money on a regular basis, then you’re not going to heaven. But what Bono says here is far more religious than any of those people, his thought being that even if you don’t pray to him, God will forgive you and let you into heaven, because it is your actions and thoughts that make the decision, not that you were born in the right place or chose the right church to pray in.
My rating for City Of Blinding Lights: 8 / 10