This past Saturday was an evening of celebration. Not only did Windsor gather at the Chrysler Theatre to listen to the music of pop legends U2, it also gathered there to celebrate the youth and young adults of Roots 2 Wings. The annual We Will Rock Blue concert for Roots 2 Wings featured Canadian U2 tribute band Desire, who not only sounded like the iconic band, but it also mimicked a U2 concert in almost every way.
The last time I actually saw U2 was on the 360° Tour in 2009 at BC Place in Vancouver. That was a packed show of about 40,000 and from my seat, the band looked like inch worms on a giant stage. Even though it still remains one of my fonder memories, the show suffered greatly from being so large. Not only was the band visually too small, but the sound was horrid as it bounced off the roof and into the upper seats.
This is where Desire shined through. Not only could we see the band members up close, but the sound carried perfectly in our stunning Chrysler Theatre. The band performed those legacy songs with the skill and accuracy of the original U2, with as much passion as they must have had when they originally performed each song on various tours for the first time.
Opening with a very soft and subtle mix of Milk and October featuring a single blue light, shed on guitarist David “The Edge” Dellavalle, the stage was set for a dramatic beginning to an evening filled with love and passion. Bassist Justin “Adam Clayton” Faragher and drummer Gord “Larry Mullen Jr.” Sobota drove the rhythms at all the right moments and vocalist Tim “Bono” Shaughnessy sounded and moved like the real deal. Tim also felt his own “desire” to help the Roots 2 Wings because his daughter struggles with Asperger’s Disease, a syndrome the organization would assist with had she lived here in Windsor – luckily, she has her own program to help her transition to employment.
Once the band kicked into New Year’s Day, they started to dive deeper into delivering the U2 experience. Dressed to look like the accompanying U2 member, Desire delivered on every promise. They played all the hits you’d expect, like Sweetest Thing, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, With or Without You, Sunday Bloody Sunday, One and Where The Streets Have No Name, spread over a vast two-set show. Emcee duo Kara Ro from AM 800 and Joe McParland from Biz X provided a lively introduction bringing out the organizers and clients from Roots 2 Wings just before the show started.
Most of the audience there at the Chrysler Theatre would never get as close to the real U2 as they were with Desire on Saturday – the theatre small enough for an intimate show, yet large enough for a great visual presentation loaded with plenty of dry ice and a flashy light spectacle. The band members themselves even took the time to sing and play right there in the audience.
No matter how good Desire was, the main reason for the show was to help raise greatly needed funds for Roots 2 Wings and their programs. The organization provides youth and young adults living with a disability the opportunities to grow and develop skills to enhance their independence, social skills, and quality of life.
Even the real Bono would have called it a Beautiful Day.
For more on Roots 2 Wings, visit roots2wings.ca.