I keep trying to post this where it says "submit your reviews here" but it never works. So I'm just gonna put this here. You've all probably seen the show on youtube by now. I think I'm finally recovered from Monday night's high. Looking forward to the MSG shows!
I’m on the train back to Jersey after the Apollo show. Speechless. Drained. Happy and sweaty. Did that all really just happen? I was too busy jumping up and down to take pictures so here’s a vivid description.
So many ecstatic people packed in. The Apollo is even smaller than I thought. Stage is right there. Mic and drums await. They put The Stump on stage briefly. (Google it.) Suddenly Larry’s just there, like you’re out seeing your friend’s band. No announcement. No elaborate plan. The band takes the stage and grab their instruments like it’s 1980 and they’re not the biggest tock band in the world. Then they light up I Will Follow and of course they are. Then holy shit - Electric Co. people are bouncing off the walls. I forgot to mention they took the seats out of the orchestra section of the Apollo (have they ever done that?) so it’s regular GA and the floor is bouncing more than my decrepit off-campus house on college, during a kegger, blasting Fishbone. You seriously had to time your pogo with everyone else or some weird, reverse bounce force would mess with your trajectory. And it’s so hot.
The band tears into Out Of Control as if it’s commentary. Bono is throwing water on everybody which is good because it’s even hotter. Edge looks like he’s trying to stop his guitar from flying away like a quidditch broom.
Okay, I’m thinking, they’re reviving us up for the start, now it’s gonna plateau. Nope. Red Flag Day! OMG. Today we can’t afford to be afraid of what we fear. Like the floor collapsing. At some point in all this Bono announced its a punk rock show. Yeah. We noticed. Beforehand I was on the lookout for risers (which would mean a choir) or a piano (which might mean October or something) But after All Because of You leads to Vertigo which leads to Elevation it’s clear the boys are just aiming to burn this place down, floorboards be damned.
Beautiful Day gives a bit of a breather. (Yeah, I know that’s not a downtempo song but that’s how up everything’s been.) Bono is trying to crawl off a floor monitor into the crowd. There’s not the usual DMZ separating the stage. There’s a lot of hand grabbing going on. Bono ends it with an almost tantric breathing exercise. Is Edge gonna have to put him back in is body later?
The Edge is emitting some particularly Unforgettable Fire-like sounds while Bono is searching for more water, because did I mention it’s hot like Hotlanta in here? Then it’s Pride, with a spoken tribute to MLK here on Martin Luther King Blvd. is this where he name checks black poets who’ve graced this stage? James Brown. Aretha Franklin. Billie Holiday. Is this where he calls out Harry Belefonte in the audience? Not sure, but it all happened. I’ve never thought of this as a rowdy song, but with all the fist raising and HEY! chants I feel like someone might add Ole ole ole.
Get Out of Your Own Way bounces through. There’s a bit of a bobble in the hand off to American Soul, but nothing that can’t be fixed with a megaphone. Bono’s back to trying to nearly stand on people. Who steadies him when he jumps back on the monitor? Is he gonna fall? He’s got his feet back under him and you and I are rock n roll. Don’t shoot!
“Thanks! Goodnight!” What? It’s been so ridiculously hot and unrelentingly intense you could almost forgive them, but is it really over?
Nope. Crowd’s chanting. House lights stay down. After a quick break the boys are back. They gotta play Angel of Harlem, right? Bono can’t recall exactly when they played it here last for Rattle and Hum but the guy next to me does (“88!”) Edge starts strumming the intro and I suddenly feel like I’m shrinking. Am I gonna faint? No - it’s just the scrim behind the stage rising up like a curtain. (The one that says “Nothing to stop this being the best day ever” Ya think?) Are they going to project something? No, there are feet. And horns. There’s a wall of horns. And not just any horns…it’s the Sun Ra Arkestra horn section! What????? (I didn’t know Sex Mob but I’m gonna check em out.) The inevitable and expected song has become the surprise of the evening. Hats off. Amazing. Desire sounds like it’s been reformulated in a baritone sax blender. Funky stings. Steaming solos. Bo Diddley beat. The fever gets higher. Love Comes to Town rolls through like a slow train. But after, the locomotive grinds to a steaming halt and Bono’s serious. It’s been a terrible and unsettling string of days leading up to this party, especially in New York. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were both New Yorkers who seemed to have everything, and yet there was the date of death swiftly entered already on their Wikipedia pages. I thought it was going to be One Tree Hill but of course Stuck in a Moment is the perfect song to play. And Goodnight.
It really seemed over this time. Hopefully stomping, gradually encouraged by a lack of house lights and some scurrying techs. Then just Bono and Edge are back out. Hadn’t noticed the piano, and we get the beautiful stripped down Every Breaking Wave. Good thing it’s not Amateur Night because Bono forgets the words. Guy behind me is laughing way too loud about it and I tell him to shush it. Bono laughs at himself and they start over. I imagine he’s thinking of all the legends who’ve belted it out right there before him - Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye. It’s his turn in the spotlight centerstage. He regroups and nails it.
Full band is back and as if we couldn’t get any luckier it’s Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses. And we know it’s really the end with the tour closer Love is Bigger, and it’s just one big sing a-longing, arms a-swaying love fest. When the instruments drop out and it’s just the audience singing, the band members look out at that jewel box of a theater with faces you can clearly read - remember this. Everyone files out to find cars or trains or the complimentary buses back home. Man, I wish I got to ride on the open top deck of the double-decker, down 5th Ave, along the whole length of Central Park. We passed the Met all lit up and it was magical.
But here’s the real magic trick of the night - have you noticed? They didn’t play Sunday Bloody Sunday and nobody has even mentioned it. Didn’t even occur to me until the next day. Didn’t miss it. What a crazy, beautiful, full-tilt show. And yes, it all really happened. Thank you U2! Thank you Sirius XM!
(note: Finished this up the next day. Also, sorry if it’s Bono centric, but he was my main sightline.)
Here's some Ra for Ya!