: The set opened with four of the most uptempo radio hits from the album, including "Even Better Than the Real Thing" and "Mysterious Ways." The stage set of the 360° Tour is a bizarre, massive claw-shaped structure looming over a circular array of catwalks and bridges surrounding the stage. It's very large and expensive, but in effect kind of a halfway point between the multimedia bells and whistles of the band's '90s tours and some of the band's simpler later performing setups, built to keep the focus on the four men onstage during songs and mostly dazzling with visual effects in between. Archbishop Desmond Tutu popped up on the jumbo screen between "Walk On" and "One," talking about aid to Africa. A recording of astronaut Mark Kelly aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour introduced "Beautiful Day," dedicating the song to his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a spectacle that was just impossible not to be a little moved by. That is what U2 ultimately excel at: a slightly off-putting but mostly irresistible mixture of bombast and sentimentality. Only the most hardened Bono hater wouldn't feel anything when the familiar chiming intro of "Where the Streets Have No Name" rises up, or when the chorus of "Pride (In the Name of Love)" kicks in. Whether or not you think U2 is anywhere near the best band in the world, the scale of what it does, whether in terms of sound or emotion or technical ambition, makes itjustifiably the biggest band in the world. Bono projected his usual blend of self-aggrandizing charisma and self-deprecating humor and still reached falsetto high notes admirably for a man now in his 50s, and the band's rhythm section, though not the most versatile, has a knack for crisp, danceable grooves that in some ways fill a stadium better than a frantic hard rock band ever would. But the reason a U2 show is about sound as much as spectacle is the Edge, who still has one of the most inimitable guitar sounds in rock music. Throughout the night, it was always possible to close your eyes, ignore the special effects, and just drink in the echoing tones of his instrument as it kept taking on new textures and subtleties for each song.