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2005-05-16 10:08 AM
What can I say? I spent much of last week listening to an Indigo Girl up close and personal, and "eavesdropping" as she and her dad talked with one another about the spirituality of music and the power of song to transform the world, and it was wonderful; but two and a half hours of U2, even from a distance, left all that in the dust. Well, you might say that U2 embodied much of what they were talking about, and they did so with the energy of a, well, an Atomic Bomb, I guess.
The trip went very smoothly. After a lazy morning, we bummed around Philadelphia all day Saturday, mainly walking around the Reading Terminal Market, which is a huge warehouse with stalls crammed full of foodie delights—ziplock bags of fresh ground spices; refrigerator cases filled with seafood; bin after bin of sumptuous, exotic produce; candy, preserves, pastries. One of these days we will actually live in a city that has one of those public markets, but in the meantime, we will visit and covet.
After a quick dinner we arrived at the Wachovia Center ridiculously early. The opening band went on at 7:30, U2 went on around 9 and wrapped up by 11:30, and we were home by 3 a.m. I was bleary-eyed but happy at worship the next day, and regaled my Sunday School class with tales of the concert (smoke and mirrors for my not exactly knowing my lesson cold, having planned it days before).
There are and will be plenty of reviews of the concert. Here are my highlights:
The opening act was Kings of Leon, and they were bad, and not like the U2 song of that name, which is to say, good. They were loud and monotonous. Opening acts have a thankless job, but still. At the end of their set, the lead singer knocked over his microphone stand and stalked off the stage. Wow, petulant and clichéd! Score!
By contrast, U2 closed their show with “40,” that is, psalm 40. As the audience sang the final line, “How long to sing this song?” again and again and again, Bono shined a hand-held spotlight on the crowd, and the light swept around the arena like a slow wave. Then he placed the spot on the stage next to his microphone, creating a beam of light that shined up to the rafters. Then he reached into his shirt, took off a set of black rosary beads, gently hung them on his microphone, and exited.
Now that’s how to end a concert.
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