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It sometimes seems that as long as U2 keeps touring, the state of rock music can't be too bad.
Saturday night at the Delta Center, the long-running Irish quartet delivered the kind of inspirational, life-affirming set that only feels routine in this band's hands.
Touching on all eras of its career, U2's energetic performance was only surprising in that it came at the end of nearly a year straight of touring in support of the band's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" album.
Opening with "City of Blinding Lights" and "Vertigo," both from that album, U2 set the stage for an intense evening as glaring lights filled the venue with color and giant video screens projected the band's images to the far reaches of the upper deck.
Bono was in a frisky mood from the start, racing around an oval ramp on the Delta Center floor, pulling a "beautiful Santa" on stage from the crowd during "Beautiful Day" and boasting a bit after singing the praises of opening act Kanye West as a "great American voice."
"We're just a young band," Bono announced in an interlude between "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and a verse of "In a Little While." "We're still getting started. We're still hungry."
U2 paid tribute to its influences several times during the night, particularly The Beatles. "Vertigo" ended with a snippet of "She Loves You," while Bono picked up an acoustic guitar for "Norwegian Wood." "Beautiful Day" ended with a chorus of John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War is Over)."
The band's newest songs came to vivid life in the hands of guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr., much more enthralling than their recorded versions.
"Original of the Species" was an epic ballad, while "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" was a poignant dedication to Bono's father.
"Sunday Bloody Sunday" turned into a benediction of sorts, with Bono saying the song, originally about the civil war in Ireland, now belongs to America.
"Co-exist," Bono intoned, pulling a small child on stage. "Co-exist. A beautiful, simple thought that's getting harder and harder to hold on to."
The remainder of the show alternated between moments of power and bombast and moments of subtle intensity.
An explosive "Bullet the Blue Sky" made way for the gentler "Miss Sarajevo." The churning "Pride (In the Name of Love)" and "Where the Streets Have No Name" led to the stunning close, "One."
Among the encore songs that left the audience spent and satisfied were "Mysterious Ways," "Until the End of the World" and "With or Without You."
West had the unenviable task of opening the show, and he delivered an assured, high-energy performance in the face of monumental indifference on the part of U2's fans.
Backed by a DJ, a six-piece, all-female string section and a boom box, West confidently strode to the stage, offering bass-heavy versions of some of the biggest pop hits of the past two years.
From his set-opening take of "Diamonds from Sierra Leone," through the energetic "The New Workout Plan" and quick versions of "Addiction" and "All Falls Down," West worked the stage hard, mostly for the benefit of the general-admission crowd on the floor.
When he reached the monster hits "Gold Digger" and "Jesus Walks," though, more people in the seats were responding to the young rapper's music.
Playing 10 songs in just 35 minutes, Utah got only a taste of the hottest young artist on the planet.
U2's Bono says Kanye West, who gave a high-energy performance to open for U2, is a great American voice.
Opening act Kanye West delivers an assured, high-energy performance.
U2 and Kanye West
Where: The Delta Center.
When: Saturday night.
Bottom line: The legendary rock band and one of hip-hop's brightest stars combined for one high-energy evening.