This show, only a few hundred miles away from the Ukrainian border, is heavily tinged with the shadow of that war. Mike is once again masked up for the entire show. Ed gets into Sometimes, nearly screaming the final lines.…
Main Set: Sometimes, Porch, Do The Evolution, Quick Escape, Dissident, Buckle Up, Even Flow, Seven O’Clock, Immortality, Corduroy, Jeremy, Unthought Known, Once, Who Ever Said/((I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction), Hard To Imagine, Rearviewmirror
encore 1: Better Man/(Save It For Later), Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town, Smile, River Cross, Alive, Rockin’ In The Free World
This show, only a few hundred miles away from the Ukrainian border, is heavily tinged with the shadow of that war. Mike is once again masked up for the entire show. Ed gets into Sometimes, nearly screaming the final lines. Porch is a surprise early, away from its usual main set-ending slot. Ed takes a moment after to speak about what’s on his mind:
We will not play a place as important on the world stage as the place that we play tonight…to be invited to play a place, you know, the proximity to this conflict, it’s difficult to find words, except for the war in Ukraine is a gigantic fucking tragedy for the entire planet.
He continues, telling Putin to fuck off, before continuing on an incredible run of songs, some of their most powerful and impactful songs in the catalog, including Quick Escape, which keeps getting better and better. The breakdown at the end rivals anything they’ve done in the past, it’s mesmerizing. Paired with Dissident, they make for an “escape” themed duo, no doubt with Ukrainian refugees in mind. Ed asks the crowd to step back after Buckle Up, as there is no barricade in front of the crowd. Mike is searing on Even Flow, letting note after note wail as Ed walks behind the stage and greets the crowd there. Unthought Known transitions right into Once. Who Ever Said returns, for the first time in Europe, along with the Devo-style “Satisfaction” tag. Ed says they’re going to take a request, and they play a stellar version of Hard To Imagine, the first time it’s been played since the Third Man Records show in 2016! To end the main set, Rearviewmirror finally returns, the first time in 13 shows! Ed drops out on the “…once you…” lines, letting the crowd take the big scream, picking it back up in the middle of the last verse. After the break, Ed thanks the crowd, saying:
…especially, the last couple of years, we couldn’t even, you know, the dream that had been a reality for us for decades was no longer a reality, and we didn’t get to commune with other people, we didn’t get to gather in large groups, and as much as I thought I wouldn’t miss it, or we wouldn’t miss it…we’ve been so fortunate already, I wouldn’t want to be greedy about it, but man, as soon as we weren’t allowed to do it, it seemed like something so very important, and we’re so grateful to be in a room like this, in a place like this, country like this, all together…
He goes on to thank numerous local organizations and people who’ve been on the front lines in the Ukrainian relief effort, pointing out while reading names that they’re all women, and Better Man is introduced with the line “…can’t find a better woman.” Ed improvs some lines during the tag, “if you need me…if you need me…I will be there for you, I promise you…because someday I might need you too…” Small Town is played to the back of the arena. Prior to River Cross, Ed says “this is a song about borders…wishing there weren’t borders.” A Ukrainian flag makes its way on stage before RITFW and Ed drapes himself in it. The longest encore of the tour so far. After introducing the band (including himself as “the guy who drank the most wine on stage tonight”), Ed adds:
…alright, look…hopefully we’ll get to do this again very soon, but in the in-between, every day is critical, we’ll be thinking about you…this part of the country, this part of the planet, of course with this kind of memory in our hearts, in our minds, we’re gonna be thinking positive things, you’ll have our support as well…the planet is grateful. We love you.”
He lingers on stage for a few extra moments after the band leaves, waving and acknowledging people in the crowd, as a chant of “Ed-die, Ed-die…” begins, bringing the show to a close.