U2 returned to the stage in the US today after their short trip north of the border to Toronto. They are in Boston, a city with which they have a special relationship. It was the first North American city to fully embrace U2 back in December 1980 and in many respects their spiritual home on the continent. Before Iris, Bono reminisced about that 1980 concert and remarked that “it’s a lucky man who can consider more than one town his hometown”.
There are reports that during the soundcheck, U2 ran through Invisible and a song yet to be performed this tour: New Year’s Day. The only tour on which New Year’s Day was not played at all on the first (or second) leg since its live debut in December 1982 was Zoo TV. It was, however, not performed tonight.
Ordinary Love and 40 both returned to the set after missing two shows, and Elevation after missing one. The Electric Co. and One both stayed in the set, which means this is just the third time this tour that either of them have been played at consecutive shows. All previous performances of One this tour have been as the final song, but tonight it was followed by 40 (which was not on the printed setlist). Bono introduced 40 by saying that “it is imperative that we play it for you right now”; he told the story of U2’s recently deceased tour manager Dennis Sheehan and how he started the “how long” singalong tradition at Red Rocks on 5 June 1983.
Like at the previous show in Toronto, Bono included With Or Without You’s extra verse Shine Like Stars at the end. This is the first time Shine Like Stars, a fan favourite, has been sung at consecutive shows since the first three concerts of the Elevation Tour’s third leg in October 2001. Well done everybody who requested Shine Like Stars and took signs for it.
During Pride’s speech about peace, Bono spoke about the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. He asked the crowd to sing for the victims and the survivors, and in the lead-in to Beautiful Day he described Boston as “a city that refuses to hate because it knows that love will do a better job”. The hashtag #BostonStrong was displayed on screen (U2gigs.com).