U2 and 80K Fans at Hippodrome

MONTREAL - “Secteur Decarie à Eviter – Concert Rock” read the illuminated highway sign over the 20 eastbound. So at least Transport Quebec got that one right.

It takes a special kind of ambition to actually build a venue in a sunstroked parking lot and completely paralyze a habitually thromboid traffic artery for a rock concert because the local 60,000-seater is too cramped, but the Irish band appeared to have bet on the right pony at the Hippodrome. Welcome to U2ville. Population: me.

And people like me, who’ve seen U2 … before. This was something of a surprise, and the radio call-in folks and Twitterati may disagree … but Friday night’s first of two U2 360 megashows under the light-green Spacecrab was proof that the Gen X/Boomer ticket dollar is the viable rock market. And that legacy carries an audience.

A year delayed, we ramped up for the show with a day or two of Montreal’s fave new summertime game, Where’s Bono? He got a haircut yesterday … he was in the Apple Store … saw him in this restaurant … There was talk of a Helipad on the site, perhaps the band’s way onto and off an unprecedentedly massive site. And a helicopter lazily circled 5 or 6 times – but the real question answered here was: Where were your parents last night?

Lead in with Bono ad libbing “Mister I ain’t a boy / no, I’m a man” in I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. Ottawa’s Darlene Levecque, 51, wore a custom Irish tricolour dress, designed by husband Joe Neil, 52. “Their music inspires and comforts me,” she said. “We’ve seen them 7 times – Dublin, Paris, Toronto, Montreal,” Neil added. “The dress was made for the Dublin show.” And all the teenagers, where are they, in an 80,000-strong crowd?

Set List

  1. Even Better Than The Real Thing
  2. The Fly
  3. Mysterious Ways / Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms Around The World (snippet)
  4. Until The End Of The World / Anthem (snippet) / Where Have All The Flowers Gone? (snippet)
  5. I Will Follow
  6. Get On Your Boots
  7. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For / The Promised Land (snippet)
  8. Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
  9. Beautiful Day / Space Oddity (snippet)
  10. Elevation
  11. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
  12. Miss Sarajevo
  13. Zooropa
  14. City Of Blinding Lights
  15. Vertigo
  16. Crazy Tonight / Discothèque (snippet) / Life During Wartime (snippet) / Psycho Killer (snippet)
  17. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  18. Scarlet
  19. Walk On / You’ll Never Walk Alone (snippet)

  20. Encore(s):
  21. One
  22. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (snippet) / Where The Streets Have No Name
  23. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
  24. With Or Without You
  25. Moment of Surrender / Rain (snippet)