Bold, Brilliant and Masterful

Talk to most people from Toronto the weather and its a snore subject. Most fans concerned when Rogers Centre’s retractable roof was to be opened, but last night Mother Nature gave a boost to the year’s biggest concert.

A bit breezy, clear October evening the rook open as U2 kicked off is 2 night concert event. The venue only sold out for the second time in its history proves the band has power to draw in audiences.

Bono and the boys arrived over the last couple days to taken the area and drop in referenences to TTC and Yonge St. into songs and patter last night.

Stuck as they were in the middle of a football field, the mammoth stage, which includes an expandable cylindrical video screen, worked to bring what some call the Biggest Band in the World a little closer to the 58,000 people.

The set always starts off with a recording of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” that welcomed the veteran Irish rockers to the stage.

Not resting on any 30-year laurels, they kicked off with four songs from their current and 12th album No Line on the Horizon – the title track, “Breathe,” “Get on Your Boots” and “Magnificent.” The latter hit home with the hope and realism that defines their best work – “Only love can leave such a mark/But only love can heal such a scar.” This pretty much follows the format that has been working for a couple of shows now. No real changes.

Then they delved into their bag of hits for “Beautiful Day” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” – for which the crowd sang the first two choruses as Bono mouthed words, resuming the singalong when he segued into Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.”

“We got old songs, we got new songs, we got songs we can hardly play,” Bono had joked. Never saw any signs of the latter.

This was the second city in the North American edition of the 360 Degree Tour that debuted in Europe this summer. (Live Nation reps say it’s on track to be the year’s top-grossing tour.)

It’s a satisfying spectacle, with enviable musicianship – Edge the most dominant, with his intense ringing sound on electric guitar (and a deft acoustic turn on “Stay (Faraway, So Close)” – fantastic sound and consistent energy and emotion. They made use of the stage, wandering its outer rim and running across the moving bridges. Even drummer Larry Mullen Jr. left his kit at one point to walk around playing portable congas.

Bono, as limber physically as he was vocally, was jumping, skipping, spinning with arms outstretched. And they made sure to hit the political marks – dedicating “Walk On” to Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi as fans walk the stage perimeter with paper masks, and running a video message of peace and unity from South Africa’s Bishop Desmond Tutu.

The encore remains the same, you can view the set list and photos already posted. Videos to be posted later today. What did you think of the show ? Do you have photos or video you would like to share. We want to hear from you.

Next up day 2 and then off to America again.