Last night the spaceship - as Bono called the in-the-round stage setup - landed at Gillette Stadium and four Irish aliens emerged as the biggest rock stars in the world. That’s what happens when you project yourself on a 360-degree, 14,000-square-foot video screen.
Those who despise Bono, Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. for growing up (and up and up) to be a parody of the furious, little new wave punks they began as would have hated U2’s latest, greatest show on earth. But for 60,000 fans last night (and for thousands more tonight), it was a mothership - a 150-foot tall, pastel green and orange-spotted, claw-shaped mothership buzzing with a million points of light - come to take them to planet U2.
Bono’s king, but Edge is the prime minster, the genius who fearlessly leads his ace rhythm section. His complex-and-simple, full-frontal, buzzing, reverbed, shimmering guitar drove “Get on Your Boots” and “Elevation,” “Vertigo” and “Where the Streets Have No Name.” Even Bono’s bigness was overcome by Edge’s intimate acoustic guitar and delicate high harmonies on “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of.”
Taken in total it was a typical U2 show, which means it was unlike anything else. Bono championed peace and political awareness - “Sunday Bloody Sunday” was recast an anthem for a free IRAN, “MLK” and “Walk On” were dedicated to Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi. Edge was, as Bono said, a test-tube baby born of Jimmy Page and Stephen Hawking. Mullin and Clayton provided the brilliant heartbeat for hits from “One” to “With or Without You.”
Not the flash of Zoo TV or the earnestness of the Joshua Tree Tour, but a middle ground that topped neither. But not bad for a band that played the Somerville Theatre six-months ago.