Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Set List of Show:
- "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)"
- "Out of Control"
- "I Will Follow"
- "Iris (Hold Me Close)"
- "Cedarwood Road"
- "Song for Someone"
- "Sunday Bloody Sunday"
- "Raised by Wolves"
- "Until the End of the World"
- "Even Better Than the Real Thing"
- "Mysterious Ways"
- "Sweetest Thing"
- "Every Breaking Wave"
- "Bullet the Blue Sky"
- "Pride (In the Name of Love)"
- "The Troubles"
- "With or Without You"
- "City Of Blinding Lights"
- "Beautiful Day"
- "Where the Streets Have No Name"
- "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
Pre-Recorded Intro Song: "Beat on the Brat" (U2 Remix) - The Ramones
Pre-Recorded Exit Song: "Spiritual High Part II" - Moodswings ft. Chrissie Hynde
Snippets of Other Songs Performed by U2:
"Turn On Your Radio" (Harry Nilsson) /
"Radio Radio" (Elvis Costello and the Attractions) /
"Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?" (The Ramones) /
"God Save the Queen" (Sex Pistols) /
"Mofo" (U2) /
"Burning Down the House" (Talking Heads) /
"Young Americans" (David Bowie) /
"Not Fade Away" (Buddy Holly) /
"Love Me Do" (The Beatles) /
"Crocodile Rock" (Elton John) /
"19" (Paul Hardcastle) /
"The Hands that Built America" (U2) /
"I Remember You" (The Ramones) /
"Mother and Child Reunion" (Paul Simon) /
"California (There is no End to Love)" (U2) /
U2’s latest tour is the Innocence and Experience tour, and it’s kicking off in Vancouver with two shows. The last full U2 show was also in Canada four years earlier when the U2360 tour wrapped up in Moncton on the other side of the country. Tonight they return to arenas, and the stage features a long catwalk that bisects the general admission floor, terminating in a round stage at the other end of the arena. Bracelets given out to access the general admission area are marked North Side and South Side, and indeed at some points of the show will only grant you access to one side or the other. Red Zones are located near the front of the main stage, on either edge of the floor.
The catwalk down the middle of the stage is below a video wall which the band can enter at different parts of the show, or they can move from one end to the other via the walkway below. The screen is used during Cedarwood Road, while Bono moves inside of the screen, and the Edge moves below it. The entire contraption is called the “barricage” or “the rabbit hole” in show notes.
The last song played prior to U2 taking the stage is The Ramones’ “Beat on the Brat”. The song however is a special remix by U2, and features U2 songs in the mix including a brief instrumental from “Discotheque” and another from “Even Better Than the Real Thing”. In Bono’s memoir, Surrender, released in 2022, he writes about taking the stage in Vancouver to a Patti Smith song, but that would not start until later in the tour.
The U2 part of the show opens with “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)” and on stage, Bono has a giant lightbulb swinging overhead.
After the new single, the show kicks into overdrive, with three older songs in a row to get the audience pumped up. “Out of Control” is followed by “Vertigo” and then “I Will Follow”. Some surprises see “One” not played for the first time since it debuted on Zoo TV. “Bullet the Blue Sky” makes a scorching return to the set list after not being played on U2360. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” is played acoustically with all four members of U2 on the catwalk between stages. And no songs from the previous album No Line on the Horizon appeared tonight. “Every Breaking Wave” is performed by The Edge on piano and Bono on vocals, Larry and Adam are not part of the performance. “The Troubles” features Lykke Li on the video screen, doing a duet with Bono on the track.
Rather than a full set, and then an encore break, the band has mixed things up a bit tonight with 10 songs in the first act, then a brief intermission, then 10 additional songs in the second act before breaking for the encore. The intermission is accompanied by footage of punk music’s biggest names appearing on screen. It is listed as “Yellow / Punk Interviews / Yellow” on the set list. The song is a mix of audio clips and interview with artists including David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Joy Division, the Velvet Underground, The Damned, John Lennon, The Ramones, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Phil Lynott, Devo and Patti Smith. While the punk rock montage plays, confetti falls from the sky, which Bono later will tell the press was in memory of touring the shelled out remains of the library in Sarajevo and seeing book pages scattered everywhere. Willie Williams shared with Live Design, that Bono had asked “When they fire-bombed the library in Sarajevo, pages from books rained down on the city for days. Words, poems, sentences, all mixed up, fell into people’s hands. Do you think we could recreate that?” The pages tonight are from Alice in Wonderland, Dante’s Paradiso and The Psalms.
During the show Bono brings a fan on stage during “Sweetest Thing”, handing her a phone to film the band as they perform. The video feed shows on the screens down the center of the arena and is streamed to homes via the Meerkat platform. Bono will also later bring a young boy from Alberta onto the stage for “Beautiful Day”. The young fan was behind the “Bono I’ve Got Your Back” campaign on social media after Bono’s back injury on the U2360 tour.
During the encore as the band played “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and Edge started to transition from the catwalk to the smaller round stage, he missed his footing, and fell off of the stage. It looked to be quite a tumble, but both The Edge and the guitar he was carrying was ok. Later that night, the Edge shared on social media, “Didn’t see the edge, I’m OK!!” as well as a picture of his bruised arm. The Edge shared with CBS, “It was a moment of reverie where I just completely lost track of where I was on the stage,” he said. “Out of the corner of my eye I could see the curve of the round and I thought I was already there. I stepped off on what I thought was the stage and I had basically cut the corner. It was one of those things you do only once.” Larry Mullen shared that he worried the tour would “start and end in the same evening” and Adam Clayton shared he had been “sick in the pit of my stomach”
Of the show Francois Marchand in the Vancouver Sun shared, the show “was a conceptual, biographical journey experienced through U2’s music, a kind of The Wall-esque tale of innocence lost, rooted in punk rock and leading to pop rock stardom apotheosis (i.e. ‘experience’) in the second half of the show.” Paul Sexton in The Independent shared, “On the first night of the band’s tour, here was the belated, tangible proof that the new record really did hit the spot with fans”. And Neil McCormick shared in The Telegraph that “U2 are back, as big, absurd and thrilling as ever. There was some talk about the superstar quartet scaling down after their last record breaking, hi-tech stadium tour. Their new Innocence & Experience show has been created for arenas, the kind of venue a band this successful considers intimate. But the sight of a giant King Kong-sized LED Bono reaching out to encompass band mates performing inside a caged stage suspended from the ceiling might suggest that U2 no longer even know how to think small…”
The show was broadcast live on some iHeart Music stations in North America, complete with interviews with Bono and The Edge ahead of the show. The broadcast consisted of the first three songs, “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)”, “Out of Control”, “Vertigo” and the start of “I Will Follow” which the announcer speaks over. (One station airing the show was WAXQ, Q104.3) Live footage was released as well as part of an EPK after the show, including clips of “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)”, “Out of Control”, “Cedarwood Road”, and “Song for Someone”.
Ahead of the show in Vancouver, U2 practiced in the city where the show kicked off. Rehersals started at the PNE, and then moved to the Rogers Arena for the final three days of rehersal. Larry Mullen’s father passed away just prior to these shows in Vancouver, and Larry had to return to Ireland unexpectedly, and some of the show rehearsals were done with a substitute drummer while waiting for Larry to return.
With it being the opening of the tour, the show is filled with press from around the world reporting on the show (some are mentioned above). Filmmaker Lian Lunson is also spotted at the show.
The tour was announced on December 3, 2014, with tickets going on sale on Monday December 8. Presales for U2.com members started on December 4, 2014 with subscribers who joined prior to September 9 being part of the Experience group, and new subscribers, who joined after September 9 being part of the Innocence group. Both Vancouver shows were announced from the start, and both went on sale at the same time.
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