U2 @ The HP Pavilion, San Jose CA 04/09/05
Made the trip to San Jose to see U2 for the fourth and final time this tour and it was the best sounding yet. Bono’s voice was stronger this night, giving more energy to older songs and leaving more room for improv work. It was cool talking with people and just being friendly. I was amazed by the diversity in ages at this show. Life long fans in their 40s and 50s were there. Younger fans in their 20s and 30s. And a large percentage of teens and younger kiddos as well. We were at the merch table and a mom was taking her time selecting and sizing a shirt for her little boy, he must have been around 6 years old. The line didn’t move for a while. Someone behind me said “come on lady this isn’t Target.” She shot over an ugly glance, paid for the shirt and moved her ass along. The Kings of Leon hadn’t even taken the stage yet and already there was tension in the venue 🙂
The show was well received, but the San Jose crowd was relaxed. We sat the entire time, and there didn’t seem to be as many boisterous die-hards in the arena. Older tracks like “Electric Co,” “The Ocean” and “40” were politely received. The San Diego crowds went apeshit on the other hand, standing the entire show and joyously singing their lungs out to those older treasures. That night we even sang the new tunes word for word, and filled in nicely on the call and response sections. It could very well be that the San Diego crowds were so exuberant because it was opening night/second night, history in the making.
The Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” (which I love by the way) began playing and the crowd knew it was almost showtime. The cheering and screaming began well before the first track began. “City of Blinding Lights” opened the show, “Vertigo” adorned by a brief “Stories for Boys” followed, giving the arena a jolt of energy. The momentum was great…flowing into “Elevation” which was played without drums for the first 2 verses. The place went crazy when Larry’s thumping groove crashed in, and the momentum continued with “The Cry/The Electric Co.”
Before ripping into “Electric Co,” Bono referred to San Jose by saying U2 played this great college town in 1980 “I think KSJO were playing us on the radio (roar from the crowd), and we felt…so cool.”
“The Ocean” was played, much to my surprise and disbelief. One of the guys next to me kept saying “Oh my God…Oh my God…Oh my God” as Adam’s delicate, yet rumbling bass lines echoed throughout the venue. I felt very fortunate to hear it, and it sounded just as compelling as it does on the BOY album.
“New Years Day” and “Beautful Day” followed, continuing a string of rocking, uplifting classics. Standard live versions, however “Beautful Day” featured a snippet of the Beatles’ “Blackbird” as the outro.
The show slowed down a bit at this point, easing into a couple new tracks, most notably “Miracle Drug.” Edge gently picked out the main melody to “Miracle Drug,” while Bono spoke about the Pope, and I’ve transcribed the dedication here, word for word.
“You get used to being pontificated. No self respecting rock star is missing a little bit of a pope complex, know what i’m sayin? What you might not know is that this Pope, John Paul…well, he had a little bit of a rock star complex. I know because I stood in front of him, I didn’t agree with everything he stood for, but he stood for something…and I was proud to be in his company. I saw that he had these true piercing eyes, and they just kept staring …at me…just kept staring at me with those true piercing eyes…cuz im half Catholic I thought maybe I’d done something wrong (crowd chuckles). Theres a lot to choose from. He just kept staring…so I spoke up. I just said “Holy Father…do you want a pair of fly shades?” And he said…”ya” (The Audience shared the light hearted moment and chuckled and clapped heartily). So i took them off and gave him my fly shades and he put them on..and he made a kind of wicked little face like this (Bono gestures by grinning from ear to ear with the shades on, and cocks his head to the side much to the crowd’s delight)…im not kidding! And then he gave me these…(Bono pulls out a set of Rosary Beads). This is called a crooked cross, and its a miniature one that he used to carry it around and Michelangelo designed it for him, it’s pretty isn’t it? I wear it around my neck all the time, except when I’m at a rock show, then I put it in my pocked cuz I know what you guys are like . Anyway, this great man, this great showman, this great friend to the world’s poor, and I want to kiss his crooked cross and say goodbye to him tonight. So for anyone who’s sick, this is for you. Doctors and nurses, keep us all alive…sorry for buggin.’ “I wanna trip inside your head, spend the day there…”
“Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own” completed the string of softer selections. The one-two-three punch of Love and Peace/Sunday Bloody Sunday/Bullet the Blue Sky got the crowd rocking again, the first selection featuring Larry, then Bono banging away on a tom-tom out on the runway. “Bullet” featured a brief “Hands That Built America” which replaced the “and I can see those figher planes” section of the song. Very cool little change-up.
A tender “Running to Stand Still” followed, played as it was during the Joshua Tree/LoveTown concerts. I smiled to myself as I watched an older couple two rows in front of me, standing, and holding onto each other. The crowd began to clap in time to the song, Bono said “please don’t clap, but you can sing for me…sing A La La Laa Dee Daaaay.”
The ZooTV section went down in awesome fashion, as “Mysterious Ways” closed the trio of Achtung Baby songs. Classic anthems “Pride in the Name of Love,” “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “One” concluded the main set. It’s been great following my favorite group of all-time up and down California. I attended 4 shows within the last week and a half and it’s been awesome. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do this again…
The following photos were taken by fans the night of 04/09/12 and submitted to the u2tours website.