Cloaca Melodia

My life in concerts, by Mike Sauter.


U2/The Pixies

Continental Airlines Arena, E. Rutherford, NJ

Coming hot on the heels of an amazing new album, Achtung Baby, and with much advance chatter about the over-the-top multimedia design of the "Zoo TV" concerts, there was a lot of anticipation for this tour.

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This was my first time seeing U2 since the Hartford Civic Center in 1985, so I was greatly looking forward to the show. However, it was a Wednesday night, which sucked--I was doing the WHTG morning show, so I had to get up no later than 5am the following morning.

But sleep issues notwithstanding, this show was unbelievable. The band performed at their usual inspirational level, and the multitude of video screens around the set provided an intriguing running commentary on and interaction with the music.

Bono's preening before the onstage cameras when he came out dressed in his silver lame outfit was almost shocking--here was a guy who had built his reputation on earnestness, and he was suddenly playing the part of a rockstar to the nines.

As Bono told Rolling Stone magazine that year,
Rock & roll is ridiculous... It's absurd. In the past, U2 was trying to duck that. Now we're wrapping our arms around it and giving it a great big kiss. It's like I say onstage, "Some of this bullshit is pretty cool."
Unfortunately, a combination of my early wake-up the following morning plus my girlfriend Christine's contact lenses drying out during the show led to an early departure before the encore was over. But the slushy drive back to the Jersey Shore (it had just snowed) was buoyed by the experience.

I talked to a friend a few days later who had also attended the concert, and remarked that concerts like Zoo TV almost seemed to become like a psychedelic drug experience of their own. It seemed to me to make irrelevant the cliche of the concertgoer timing their drugs for maximum effect while attending a concert. "I don't know about that," he replied, "I was pretty fucked up at the show."

Okay, so U2 didn't change the world. But it sure felt like it at the time.

U2 setlist: "Zoo Station," "The Fly," "Even Better Than The Real Thing," "Mysterious Ways," "One," "Until The End Of The World," "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses," "Trying to Throw Your Arms Around the World," "Angel Of Harlem," "Satellite of Love," "Bad/All I Want Is You/Bullet The Blue Sky," "Running to Stand Still," "Where the Streets Have No Name," "Pride," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"//"Desire," "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)," "With or Without You," "Love Is Blindness" (source)

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