It’s a Beautiful Night: U2 Play San Diego

The Irish arena rockers U2 proved again on Friday night why they're one of the best live bands in the world.

13 photos
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Tim Fears
The Irish arena rockers U2 proved again on Friday night why they're one of the best live bands in the world.
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Tim Fears
U2 played at the newly renamed SDCCU Stadium, a privilege for which the San Diego County Credit Union paid $500,000 this week (good through the end of 2018, anyway).
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Tim Fears
The stadium was packed to its recently shorn rafters -- it was odd to visit the house the Chargers built, now devoid of any reference to the NFL team, though more than one ticket-holder on Friday night was sporting Bolts gear.
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Tim Fears
After an opening set by the psychedelic Southern California troubadour Beck, the Joshua Tree Tour made itself at home on the giant stage. If the size of the stage didn't impress, then the enormous LED screen behind the band certainly did.
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Tim Fears
U2 made a simple yet dramatic entrance at about 9:30, when the drummer Larry Mullen Jr. made his way across the main stage and down a runway built a third of the way out onto the stadium floor.
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Tim Fears
After Mullen got behind the kit and kicked off the show, The Edge strolled down the runway and started picking out the beginning of "Sunday Bloody Sunday," thrilling the roaring crowd.
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Tim Fears
It wasn't long before the band tore "Pride (In the Name of Love)," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and a slew of other hits.
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Tim Fears
The brightly lit band played the intimate stage within the crowd for a handful of songs before dropping back to the main stage with its giant video backdrop.
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Tim Fears
U2, ever the ambassadors of love, used the giant screen to full effect during "Pride (In the Name of Love)," singling out in giant type such words as "dream," "truth" and "equal," as well as featuring inspirational quotes from such sources as Martin Luther King's "I have a dream ..." speech and the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident ...."
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Tim Fears
Bono took the opportunity at one point to acknowledge San Diego's international location, telling fans that everyone was welcome at their shows "whether you're across the street, across the state or across the border."
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Tim Fears
Southern Californians had a special connection with the show -- to the jangly opening guitar notes of "Where the Streets Have No Name," the giant screen became a silhouetted Joshua tree before transforming into a powerful black-and-white video of a road in the middle of a landscape evocative of the "Joshua Tree" album cover.
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Tim Fears
"With or Without You" obviously moved the crowd, with fans reaching out for loved ones -- and, as with virtually all the songs the band played, they sang along to every word.
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Tim Fears
Bono seemed very familiar with one of San Diego County's area codes, dropping references to "619" on multiple occasions; sadly there was no love for residents of the 858 or the 760. The show was a return trip for U2, who, twenty years ago, played the arena, which back then was known as Jack Murphy Stadium.
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