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I thought I'd write a real brief review of last night's U2 concert before going down to breakfast. We arrived in Phoenix a little past 3:00pm yesterday afternoon.  After checking in to the Best Western, we traveled a little further west to the Glendale Arena, which was recently named America's best new major concert arena by Pollstar. The entire area around the arena is under major construction and will be a huge retail & residential area known as Westgate. I'm sure it will look really nice when it's finished.  When it's not playing host to concerts, the arena is the home of the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team and the Arizona Sting lacrosse team.

We did arrive in time to hear part of U2's soundcheck through the arena's walls.   We heard a bit of "Vertigo" and most of "Sunday Bloody Sunday". We had general admission floor tickets; there were two lines -- one for members of U2's fan club, one for non-members.  The doors were opened a little after 6:30 and your ticket was scanned upon entrance.  The scanner randomly selected people to be "upgraded" to the area enclosed by a elliptical track extending from the stage.  Alas, none of the three of us were selected for the elipse but we did secure a position about 5 feet from it's tip, center stage -- a prime taping spot.

I won't go into too many details (I'm getting hungry), but will mention the opening is great: there's a backdrop to the stage consisting of strands of multi-colored lights reminiscent of the New York skyline at night. After a pre-recorded intro. of different voices saying, "everybody" over and over, the band takes the stage for the opening song -- "City Of Blinding Lights." Other highlights included "The Ocean," from their 1980 debut album Boy (odd to hear it but not "11 O'Clock Tick-Tock" which it was linked to during many early live performances) and the first performance of 1984's "Bad" on this tour (one of my all-time favorite U2 songs). "Beautiful Day" featured a short tease of "In God's Country" from The Joshua Tree. The songs from the new album also sounded great -- I knew that "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" would be a live classic from the first time I heard it last November; "Love And Peace Or Else" is a powerful song which led right into the one-two punch of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Bullet The Blue Sky" (which included part of "The Hands That Built America" at the end before leading into "Running To Stand Still" and "Bad").

But perhaps my favorite part of the entire show was the final encore of "40" from 1983's War album. The song takes it's lyrics from the 40th psalm and they hadn't performed it during the past three or four tours. At the end of the song, each member stops playing his instrument one-by-one and leaves the stage while the audience continues singing "How long to sing this song." The drummer, Larry Mullin Jr., is the last to leave the stage -- beating one last fill on the kit and cymbals -- and the lights come on while the audience is still singing. Indeed, walking through the parking lot after the show you could still hearing large pockets of people singing, "How long to sing this song." That experience gave me goosebumps after my first U2 concert -- October 26, 1987, at Kansas City's Kemper Arena -- and gave me goosbumps this time around as well.

City Of Blinding Lights - Beautiful Day/In God's Country - Vertigo - Elevation - Gloria - The Ocean - New Year's Day - Miracle Drug - Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own - Love And Peace Or Else - Sunday Bloody Sunday - Bullet The Blue Sky/The Hands That Built America - Running To Stand Still - Bad - Pride (In The Name Of Love) - Where The Streets Have No Name - One
The Fly - Mysterious Ways - All Because Of You - Yahweh - '40'

I'm eagerly awaiting my next U2 concert -- it probably won't be until December, however (there are strong rumors of a Kansas City show on December 12; I think that would be a good 40th birthday present to myself!).