I saw the Vertigo tour live twice, both times in Texas. These were the days when I’d see the Texas shows and nothing else through a lack of money and time. Now I have time and money, which is why I was able to see them four times in Chicago this year (and hopefully more next year). I dream of following them around the world someday, although that would mean more time and money that I have.
From the opening of City Of Blinding Lights, one of my favorite songs off How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, we were in for a treat. Bono showing up at the edge of the circle as the music took off. Then into Vertigo, and there was definitely a sense of things happening everywhere. It wasn’t the sensory overload of Zoo TV, but there was a feeling that if you were looking in one direction you’d probably be missing something in the other direction.
I do remember thinking at some point that they had begun turning into a greatest hits band, and not liking the feeling. Sure, there are certain standards the band must play every night, although to be fair that list can probably be counted on one hand. Streets and Sunday for sure. Probably With Or Without You and One. The thing I like about the Innocence + Experience tour is how it really is about the new album, and bringing back old songs related to the theme of the new. That’s the big difference, that you’re hearing those songs they may not have played in 20 years or more, or at least that haven’t been regular parts of the set in so long. They’re not being the juke box, playing that top 20 and the crowd being happy. No, they’re playing the random stuff, the bits and pieces, and the crowd is ecstatic. And that’s a difference to Vertigo, which like I said definitely appeared to be a greatest hits show, nothing much new, nothing that wasn’t in that top ten. Much better these days.
Love And Peace Or Else is one of those songs that are good, but so much better live. The way they played that on this tour was great, with Bono and Larry out at the end, singing together, then it ending with Larry leaving, and Bono drumming out the finish. I remember my wife loving that part, with Bono drumming. Then it segued into Sunday Bloody Sunday, and it did it so well, it was fantastic. Not necessarily going to say it was the best ever Sunday, but certainly the best Love and Peace (although not too much competition there). And of course by then Bono had donned the Coexist headband, one of those things I also loved.
So the whole thing about the Vertigo tour is that it was a point in time for the band, it was what they were doing back then but it isn’t necessarily what they are doing now. It’s almost like it was the last of the greatest hits tours - 360 was in some ways, but despite all the hype there was more there than you think - and perhaps a bit of a new dawning for the band. The comments like the one Adam gave, saying that they’re okay playing for their fans now, rather than trying to get new fans, that gives me a lot of hope. If they produce more I+E stuff, versus Vertigo stuff, I will be very happy with the future of U2.
My rating for Vertigo tour: 10 / 10