U2 finds renewed fire playing songs that defined the group

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Iconic Irish rock act U2 returned to Houston Wednesday night, r performing its landmark 1987 album “The Joshua Tree” in its entirety for a nostalgia-primed crowd at NRG Stadium.

The show was the band’s first stage appearance since Monday night’s deadly terror attack at a Manchester, England arena where 22 fans were killed by a suicide bomber after an Ariana Grande set.

Security at NRG Stadium was noticeably tighter than at past concerts held at the complex. On Tuesday, Police Chief Art Acevedo said: “We have taken out and dusted off our plans to make sure we are not missing anything We’re always looking at what’s going on at all special events in our city.” Acevedo said there are no known terrorist threats in the Houston area.

On Wednesday evening there were no noticeable delays, above and beyond those that come with sizable pop concerts. A few people compared the security measures to those experienced during the Super Bowl in February, but just an hour before U2 hit the stage going through security was a breeze.

For openers, The Lumineers displayed a playful primal indie stomp that wasn’t diminished inside the cavernous confines of the stadium. By the end of the Denver band’s set, the audience had been won over. Expect bigger crowds for them in Houston going forward.

U2 came out just after 8:30 p.m. and treated thousands of their fans t to a small handful of the band’s biggest hits, including the pulsing “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” before launching into presenting every stunning track off of “The Joshua Tree” in running order as each appeared on the album.

An audible wave of joy swept through the crowd as the signature chimes from opener “Where The Streets Have No Name” fired off from the fingers of The Edge, the band’s influential guitarist. From there, Houston saw one of the greatest rock albums of the past 50 years presented in deluxe wide screen.

“All our hearts are with Manchester,” Bono said from the stage halfway through the set before “One Tree Hill”, commenting on the band’s friends who dot the British city rocked terrorism.

The band seems to have found a new fire inside them performing the cuts that defined them at the end of the end of the 80’s as arena rock’s reigning intellectuals. Three decades later they seem to be rediscovering the mojo that made them so adored.

All it took was a trip back to the desert for some reflection.

NOTE: This review was submitted before the night’s concert was over. Visit Chron.com for a full review of the show and photos of fans and the band in action…

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Houston News & Search

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