U2’s Tour Launch in San Diego

U2 launched their much-awaited 2005 tour Monday night (3/28), treating an adoring opening-night crowd to a set that comfortably straddled their 25-year recording career and still managed to include some surprises.

When U2 released “How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” in November of 2004, tour plans became an immediate topic of discussion, with a year-long routing sequence laid out by the band’s manager and a new, improved pre-sale system touted by the band’s revamped fan club. Then the whims of fate stepped in.

The tour’s original Miami launch was scuttled, owing to either illness affecting a band member’s family or tour routing issues, depending on the source. And the first round of fan club pre-sales were dogged by technological and logistics problems, which touched off a brief and rare period of tension between some longtime fans and the band. In the end, the tour plan was fixed, the ticketing problems were fixed and the band regained the goodwill of their long-loyal followers.

Against that backdrop, Monday’s opening-night show held a distinct sense of relief and celebration for both those holding instruments and those holding tickets in the arena.

Stepping to the microphone to the opening strains of “City of Blinding Lights,” with glitter confetti raining down on the general-admission crowd on the floor, Bono seized on the song’s chorus, “Oh, you look so beautiful tonight,” as a gracious welcome to the packed house. Perhaps more telling, though, was the tone set by the song’s first verse, the words of someone feeling their best days may be behind them:
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Kathleen Edwards at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood

In an intimate Hollywood performance Tuesday (3/22), Kathleen Edwards brought her band through a rotation of strong roots-rock numbers, but ultimately made her biggest impact with her quieter songs.

Taking the stage at the Knitting Factory, Edwards quietly eased into the disarming “Pink Emerson Radio,” a dream-like assessment of mementos and memories glimpsed in the moment before rushing from a burning house.

Loss is a major focus of Edwards’ current repertoire. Much of her latest release, “Back To Me,” deals with it, but never passively. Rather, the protagonists in her songs are fighting to keep from losing companions, realizing they’ve lost a fight and walking away to fight another day, or just digesting the fact that things have changed.
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