Review and Photography by John Hardin

How does a show become innovative, expansive, bombastic and revolutionary while at the same time bringing the band back to their roots and re-capture a level of intimacy rarely seen in an arena rock show? It sounds impossible, but with their new Innocence + Experience tour, U2 has done just that.

Beginning the show under a single enlarged lightbulb, the band attempts to take you back to a time when they were just teens in London.  A single bulb to light their way, they sprang from working-class beginnings to become the biggest band in the world. On this sparse stage, the band works through some old (Electric Co., I Will Follow) and some very new (The Miracle (of Joey Ramone.) This empty setting allows the band to focus on what made them so popular. Expert musicianship and charisma, not hiding behind spectacle and splash, just one light and four guys doing what they do. It’s a great way to begin a show that contains multiple magic acts to follow.

As the show continues the stage evolves with each new song, a long runway extends from the main stage out into the audience. Above that runway hang enormous LED screens that run the length of walk. At first, the LEDs are used only for visuals while Bono & Co. move underneath them while performing, but as the show moves on, the screens become a stage themselves. Stairs descend, allowing the band to perform within them. At various times, members of the band, and also the entire band, perform inside the elevated LED stage. New songs such as Cedarwood Road and Iris take new life with the addition of this new stage. Although a completely new experience, the visuals work at times with and against the band. While I applaud the innovative thinking and technology at work here, the screens sometime obscure the band too much. No one is paying top dollar to watch animation. U2 has been known to experiment and tinker with set lists and set pieces as a tour marches on. I would imagine, the LED’s are not done yet.

The runway extends out to a circular stage in the middle of the arena. While used mostly by Bono, in the middle of the set, the entire band makes their way to the small stage to perform a handful of songs. It’s in this way, that the band turns a large arena into a very small experience. Not content with setting up a stage and speakers at one end, the band moves constantly bringing the show to the people.


In addition to the visuals, the band is also bringing out a revolutionary sound system to the road. Spread throughout the arena are speakers, making the audible experience as fantastic as the visual. The sound is clear and clean. Hopefully other acts follow suit. It’s probably the best sound I’ve heard at a live show.

In all, the Innocence + Experience tour is an excellent showcase for a band pushing towards 40 years on the road. Although heavy with songs from their latest album, it’s also filled with hit that every member of the audience knows by heart. It’s not to be missed.


*We hope you enjoyed this Live Review of U2 at The Forum.  We would like to thank John Hardin for the photography and review. Be sure to check back for more reviews.

Mayhem Music Magazine U2 John Hardin Photo 3



Main Set

  • The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)
  • The Electric Co., Send In The Clowns (snippet), I Can See For Miles (snippet)
  • Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio? (snippet), Vertigo
  • I Will Follow
  • Iris (Hold Me Close)
  • Cedarwood Road
  • Song For Someone
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday
  • Raised By Wolves
  • Until The End Of The World


Second Set

  • Invisible
  • Even Better Than The Real Thing
  • Mysterious Ways, Burning Down The House (snippet), Young Americans (snippet)
  • California (There Is No End To Love), God Only Knows (snippet)
  • Sweetest Thing (fan sings some vocals)
  • Every Breaking Wave
  • Bullet The Blue Sky, 19 (snippet)
  • The Hands That Built America (snippet), Pride
  • Beautiful Day, I Remember You (snippet)
  • With Or Without You



  • City Of Blinding Lights
  • Mother And Child Reunion (snippet), Where The Streets Have No Name, California (There Is No End To Love) (snippet)

One, Invisible (snippet)

(setlist via atU2.com)


Mayhem Music Magazine U2 John Hardin Photo 4


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