July 9, 2011 – Montréal

Seats: General Admission – Front Row Centre

Many of us were speculating guest performers to come out with U2 during the show – Arcade Fire or Danial Lanois were some of our preferred guests – but that didn’t materialize. No matter, U2’s performance was still top drawer. During Get On Your Boots, our friend Amp was invited up on stage by Bono. We watched with hilarity as Amp literally kicked in a speaker (or amp) in his attempt to get up on stage. His third time up on stage, Amp was rather entertaining to watch as he sung Boots with Bono with an aggression I usually don’t see in our friend. We were all proud at the front for Amp’s conquest of the 360° stage. He’s one of the few people I know who doesn’t have to wear make up to get up on stage with U2!

After One and before Where The Streets Have No Name, the snippet that Bono sings had become one of my favourite moments during the show. Classics like John Newton’s Amazing Grace or Carole King’s Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow occupied that interlude between those two U2 anthems. That evening, Bono innocently sung Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Cohen is from Montreal, which may explain why Bono chose this song to sing. I loved Hallelujah after hearing Jeff Buckley’s epic version. It is a heartbreaking song, littered with biblical references to Samson and Delilah, King David and Bathsheba. I was happy to be in the city where Hallelujah made its debut on the tour.

The last highlight of the show – yet another snippet – was the inclusion of the Shine Like Stars coda at the end of With Or Without You. My friend Cathal often wonders why most die-hard fans go bonkers after hearing this extra lyric. I think the best explanation is because of its rarity. It had only been sung 5 times up until that evening. I had heard it twice on the 360° Tour before in Dublin III and Zagreb II – so it is a treat to hear it again, “We’ll shine like stars in the summer night / We’ll shine like stars in the winter light / One heart, one hope, one love.” With Or Without You is paradoxically a song about a troubled romantic relationship. A paradox because some people associate it as a love song. But the inclusion of the shine like stars coda gives the song a gloss of hope in the troubled relationship – that the love is almost as eternal as the stars in the sky; that the unifying love can withstand the change in season for centuries on end. It is a beautiful lyric and I am unashamed to belt it out loud whenever it makes a rare appearance.

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