U2 played their first of eight shows at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. This will be their final stop on the American continent until future dates are announced.
Rumours were rampant before the show began, ranging from the band being joined on stage by Bruce Springsteen, to US President Barack Obama being in attendance. Also rumoured was the inclusion of October being on the setlist. One of the three rumours, at least, proved to be true, as October made its first appearance in a U2 setlist in 25 years, 8 months, and 7 days (or 9,380 days). It was last played on 11 November 1989 on the Lovetown Tour. The only original U2 song to go longer between performances is Scarlet, at 10,675 days. Since Gloria has also been played recently, this means that the current tour is the first tour to feature more than one October song since Lovetown.
It is very rare for October to be performed without seguing into New Year’s Day. On the first leg of the War Tour, and on the second leg through to 5 May 1983, October segued into Tomorrow, with New Year’s Day normally played earlier in the main set. At a small handful of Joshua Tree Tour shows – including the six between 4 April and 12 April 1987 (the second to seventh shows of tour) as well as 3 November 1987 – October led into With Or Without You. The last time a show featuring October did not have New Year’s Day anywhere in the setlist was before the latter was even written: 14 May 1982.
The Electric Co. made its return to the first rotating spot today after missing one show, and was later joined by Elevation and Ordinary Love (the latter in honour of the late Nelson Mandela’s birthday). Ordinary Love was back after a three-show absence, and Elevation after one.
The band frequently made reference to their punk roots; their connection to the city; and the myriad celebrities, political figures, activists and (RED) Campaign contributors in the show’s attendance throughout the evening (U2gigs.com).