Following four days of rehearsals inside Tulsa’s BOK Center, veteran Irish rockers U2 unveiled their Experience + Innocence World Tour in front of an enthusiastic audience in the heart of America.
The only disappointment, if there was one, would be if you expected to hear a majority of the band’s older tunes, such as “Where the Streets Have No Name” from their acclaimed album “The Joshua Tree.” There were no songs from that album included.
In their Tulsa show U2 chose to reach deep into their vast catalog to perform songs that haven’t been heard live in quite some time, if ever, such as “Acrobat” from 1991’s “Achtung Baby.”
Prior to kicking off the tour, fans were encouraged to download the band’s app to their cell phones for an augmented reality (AR) experience. When pointed at the massive screen that stretched 80 feet across the arena floor, AR Bono eerily appeared on the user’s phone screen as he was singing “Love Is All We Have Left” while alone on the narrow stage, which was located inside the two-sided screen or “barricage” as the band calls it.
Bono was joined by the rest of the band The Edge (guitar), Adam Clayton (bass) and drummer Larry Mullen Jr for “The Blackout,” also from their latest album.
The band effectively took full advantage of their state of the art screen, mixing videos and graphics with their music, showing images of Bono’s late mother Iris and other scenes from his childhood which included scenes of a terrorist bombing and unrest during the 1970’s. “tonight’s show is a personal story,” Bono said prior to performing “Iris (Hold Me Close).”
Images from Charlottesville, Virginia flashed on the screen during “Staring at the Sun,” showing swastikas, Confederate flags and white nationalists during last year’s rallies. The tone changed during “Pride (in the Name of Love” as images of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and scenes from post-inauguration protests for equal rights for women and minorities appeared on the screen. Just a little leftist propaganda, don’t ya know.
Closing their first Tulsa show in 35 years, the band performed “One,” “Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way” and the haunting “13 There Is a Light.”
For the first show of a brand new tour, it appeared U2 delivered a flawless performance, with the sellout crowd hoping it wouldn’t be another 35 years for a return engagement.