U2 – I Am Because We Are (Godfather Records G.R. 121/122)

I Am Because We Are (Godfather Records G.R. 121/122)

10/08/2005 Madison Square Garden New York

Disc 1: City Of Blinding Lights. Vertigo/Glad To See You Go. Elevation. I Will Follow/Happy Birthday Gavin. All I Want Is You. Beautiful Day/People Have The Power. Miracle Drug. Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own/Black Hills of Dakota. Love And Peace Or Else. Sunday Bloody Sunday. Bullet The Blue Sky/The Hands That Built America. Miss Sarajevo.

Disc 2: Pride (In The Name Of Love). Where The Streets Have No Name. One (with Mary J. Blighe). Encores: The First Time (Acoustic). Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses (Acoustic). With or Without You. All Because Of You. Fast Cars. Original Of The Species. 40. Bonus Tracks: Bad/The Maker/40 (with Daniel Lanois). Out of Control. Crumbs From Your Table.

Another show from the 3rd leg of the Vertigo tour, this time from Madison Square Garden in New York, and once again The Godfather Records has captured the event from an excellent sounding audience tape.

Some fans attending thought that the band were not on top form, even saying they were just going through the motions. To me though it seems like a decent performance with good energy from both the band and the audience.

Bono seemed a little grumpy though, especially during the first portion of the show. While he began the show at the tip of the ellipse, he quickly went back to the main stage. He came out partway during “Elevation” (a fantastic version–mostly sung by the audience), but that was it. It wasn’t until “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” that he really used the ellipse, walking around it during the song.

Other signs that Bono was not in a very good mood:

–Early in the show he took a cell phone from someone against the front rail in the ellipse. He snapped it shut, was kind of smiling about it, and pretended he was going to put it in his pocket, but he handed it back. It looked like he disconnected the call.

–During Sunday Bloody Sunday Bono was pacing center stage and he screamed, into the mic, “Get off the fucking phone! This is a fucking concert!” He put his hand up to his ear like a mock phone and said in an exaggerated American accent “Hey man, I’m at a U2 show! It’s really going off here!” and then he threw his hand down and said “It IS really going off here.

Other highlights:

–Speaking of phones, early in the show Bono said it was his friend’s birthday, and then asked one of the stage hands to bring him a phone. He called his friend, and then held out the receiver while the audience sang happy birthday. He was only able to reach his friend’s answering service however.

–“Love and Peace or Else”. This was amazing live, and the band really got into it. Bono was stomping around the ellipse, singing with a furious rage in his voice.

–“Bullet the Blue Sky”. I always love hearing them do this song. Bono sang a few lines from “The Hands That Built America” during it, as well as several lines from the Civil War tune “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” At the end he dedicated it to the American Armed Forces.

–“Miss Sarajevo”. Bono sang Pavoratti’s parts, and did an excellent job. Bono explained that the song was written about a beauty pageant that a woman organized and put on in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia during the civil war there in the 1990s. At the song’s end, the screens above the stage began to scroll the first 6 articles of the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights, and there was also footage of Aung San Kuu Kyi reading them.

–“The First Time”, “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses”. The two opening songs of the encore. “Zoo Station” and “The Fly” were on the set list but the band opted for these instead. I’d always thought “The First Time” was a so-so song until I heard this rendition, where Bono and the Edge did it acoustically and it was amazing. They seemed to decide right on stage to follow it with “Who’s Gonna Ride”, as the Edge had to re-tune his guitar. They started this song acoustically, and then the bass and drums joined it. A fantastic version.

–“Fast Cars”. A great song, a lively number. Not released in the US, so it was a thrill to hear it.

–“Original of the Species”. I love this tune.


–“One”. I could have done without Mary J. Blige.

The show closed with “40”. At the end of the song, Bono got the crowd singing the last line over and over: “How long to sing this song.” He left the stage, and slowly, one by one, the rest of the band left, until it was just the crowd singing. The crowd continued to sing for about 5 more minutes until the house lights came up

As I said off the top, this is an excellent sounding audience tape with everything nice and clear in the mix and a nice (but not distracting) atmosphere from the audience as well.

Godfather again gives us more bonus tracks on disc 2. This time from the Toronto show on September 14th, 2005 and from New York on October 11th, 2005.

Packaging is a trifold cardboard sleeve with very good photos of the concert on both the inner and outer sleeves.

Nothing really special about this concert so I’m not going to recommend it as a must have, except for of course the hardcore fans. But for a casual fan there are better performances from the Vertigo tour to be had for sure. That said though, the Godfather have done another excellent job on this production, and so even though the concert itself is merely average, I have a copy of this release in my collection.

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