You really have to wonder what kind of death stare it takes from The Edge or Adam Clayton or Larry Mullen Jr. to get Bono to shut up.
Whatever it was, the U2 frontman certainly got it last night at New Meadowlands Stadium before the encore “Moment of Surrender,” as he excitedly started naming various dignitaries at the show.
“I know,” he said, after realizing that he was going on a bit much and sounded like he was going to encourage the capacity crowd to not forget about bingo and the next church social. “I do feel like a parish priest at this moment.”
Of course, with Bono, a little speechifying can be forgiven – especially after the performance he gave last night. While so much of the U2 360 Tour is about the spectacle of the massive stage, without Bono's constant interaction with the crowd it would all fall flat.
The show's most memorable moment came early, when Bono climbed onto one of the set's bridges and pretended to be desperate enough to jump during “Until the End of the World.” Then, to match the song's overall theme of celebrating life, he embodied the song's catharsis by tossing flowers into the crowd.
It's that personal connection that the band has rekindled in the year-long delay of the tour. (U2 360 was supposed to play New Meadowlands Stadium last July, but that show was postponed after Bono injured his back until last night.) The delay took the focus off of pushing the band's sluggish “No Line on the Horizon” album and moved it to pleasing the crowd, making it a far more successful evening.
Bono later confided that he “felt a little faint” at the start of the show, when he uncharacteristically excused himself twice from the stage. “It's hot here,” he explained.
A true showman, there was little evidence of that, though he didn't do his usual running laps of the massive stage. By the time he felt better at the end of the show, it was clear because he started talking a lot.
Bono's heartfelt tribute to the late Clarence Clemons, also in the run-up to “Moment of Surrender,” reinvigorated the crowd after his lengthy “parish priest” lapse. That's a sign of a true master, which is exactly what Bono is at this stage of U2's career.
SETLIST: Even Better Than The Real Thing / The Fly / Mysterious Ways / Until The End Of The World / I Will Follow / Get On Your Boots / Magnificent / I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For/The Promised Land (snippet) / Stay (Faraway, So Close!) / Beautiful Day/Space Oddity (snippet) / Elevation / Pride (In The Name Of Love) / Miss Sarajevo / Zooropa / City Of Blinding Lights / Vertigo / I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight/Discothèque (snippet)/Life During Wartime (snippet) / Sunday Bloody Sunday / Scarlet / Walk On // ENCORE: One / Hallelujah (snippet)/Where The Streets Have No Name / Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me / With Or Without You / Moment of Surrender / Out of Control