How do you begin to download one of the best concerts you’ve ever been to? The night was a double-header. Most opening acts I skip, but thanks to Mark Nelson, we showed up in time to catch aobut 10 songs by Keane. An English band, not new and incorrectly compared to Coldplay, opened for U2. Suprisingly, they possess some of the stuff of U2, not in musical similarity but in raw, emotive displays of musical talent and power. Yeah, they are excellent live. Whats crazy is they are a trio, with no guitar (keyboard, drums and vocals)! If you dont have a cd, get Hopes and Fears and sit back and chill, meditate, enjoy. Sample them at http://www.keanemusic.com/
Opening with “City of Blinding Lights,” a song I didnt care for until I heard it live in May, U2 cranked the Garden in a way that Keane probably dreams of. Bono set the tone for the night saying, “Let’s turn this Tuesday night into a Saturday night and Sunday morning.” Although there was less Sunday morning than I would have liked, it was a party from beginning to end.
Bono’s vocals were stronger than any of the five U2 shows I’ve seen. Hitting the high notes of “Still Havent Found” with ease and digging deep to belt out Pavarotti’s italian opera in “Miss Sarajevo,” which stole the night, you thought you were listening to a much younger Bono. The unexpected and inaugural acoustic “Stuck in a Moment” left you, well, stuck in a moment that you didnt want to get out of.
The typical human rights and political activism formed the center of the night with a interesting seguy out of Sunday Bloody Sunday and into Miss Sarajevo. Bono pleaded for coexistence between Muslims, Christians and Jews, a noble and rather Christian thing to do. He claimed that Sarajevo was an beautiful example of this coexistence, accounting for why evil men destroyed it.
What drives Bono’s activism is the Justice he sees in Scripture: “Holding the children to ransom for the debts of thier grandparents, that’s a justice issue. Or not lettting the poorest of te poor put thier products on our shelves whilst advertsing the free market, that’s a justice issue to me. These things are rooted in my study of the Scriptures.” (Bono in Conversation, 123)
The night ended on a spiritual note with the ancient psalm 40. How long must we sing this song? Probably for eternity.