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Buffalo experiences 'Vertigo'

U2 paid a visit to HSBC Arena on Friday, heating up the snowy night with a powerful show. The long-awaited concert was well received by the sold-out house.

The band took the stage to the tune of the Arcade Fire's "Wake Up," prompting rapturous applause from thousands of fans. As confetti poured onto the excited concertgoers, U2 began to play.

U2 opened the show with "City of Blinding Lights," a selection from its latest album "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb." The catchy single "Vertigo" followed, in the typically grand fashion of a U2 concert. Fantastic lighting bathed the arena in a rainbow of color.

The diverse crowd, teeming with fans young and old, didn't have to wait long to hear U2's older material. A stunning rendition of "Gloria" was a highlight of the evening. Though the band is often criticized for its commercial undertakings, the song retained incredible strength and passion.

Emotions ran high during the evening's show. "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" showed front man Bono at his most personal. He dedicated the song to his late father. John Lennon was in the hearts and minds of the band and crowd during the show, as well. He had been killed 25 years before.

Scattered throughout the show were Bono's famous anti-war statements. An incredible "Sunday Bloody Sunday" was among the night's most memorable moments. A reading from the Declaration of Human Rights followed "Miss Sarajevo."

The first of two fabulous encores included two selections from "Achtung Baby," as well as the famous song "With or Without You." The crowd cheered loudly for more. With The Edge's guitar skills and Larry Mullen Jr.'s impressive percussion work, it isn't difficult to see why.

The band played four more songs, including "Yahweh." The show ended on a high note, with "40" pleasing the arena of enthralled fans.

The band members finally exited the stage one by one, leaving the crowd in a state of awe. Only when the lights came on did the concertgoers begin to comment, debating the set list as they left the arena.

Institute, which opened the show, paled in comparison to the strength and scope of U2's performance. Gavin Rossdale, formerly of Bush, holds the position of lead singer. Tired, heavy guitar work plagued the band's mainstream sound.

Institute's forced stage antics lacked the originality necessary to capture the attention of fans. The band played selections from its first album, "Distort Yourself," to lukewarm response. A performance of the Bush song "Machine Head" was among the set's most exciting moments.

U2 had played their biggest hits, proving to be an incredibly strong, unified group of musicians. An appreciative crowd sang along. According to U2.com, the band reached the arena only an hour before it took the stage. The flawless performance was a testament to their talent as a group.

Pauline Muto is a sophomore at Buffalo Seminary.

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