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by rage against the soapbox

The good: 'Love & Peace...' is by far the most fun song of the set. The impromptu 'Original of the Species' was a terrific change of pace given the highly choreographed nature of these shows. Throwing additional curve balls into the set would be great. Thought Adam was particularly good tonight. Had really never noticed him in previous shows but his bass really thundered last night.

The not-so-good: Should have known I was in for a long night when some typical looking post-collegiate white kid holding a clipboard approached me pre-concert as I was waiting on the beer line: "Sir, would you like to add your signature to Bono's blah, blah, blah...". I'm waiting on line to pay $7 for a 20 oz. Miller Lite and this guy solicits me to help save Africa. The irony was rich.

The show begins. Through 'L&P or Else' it was a solid show. Then it all came crashing down. With a sloppy 'Sunday Bloody Sunday', U2's on-again/off-again unofficial 5th member appeared...

Enter the soapbox! Let the proselytizing begin!

It was all one big blur of incredibly patronizing mantras through the end of the 1st set. Even the Achtung encore couldn't redeem this sequence. Bono's 'coexist' gimmick w/ the white bandana is about as inspiring as Rodney King's 'Can't we all just get along' speech and 3 times as insulting. But it gets better (worse). At the end of one of the songs, 'RTSS' I think, the house lights go out, the music stops and they scroll the Universal Declaration of Human Rights word for word on the big screen. Then a small child (female) appears on the screen - you know the kind - obviously very poor/dirty, from a 3rd world nation and proceeds to recite, in broken English, each article of the document (to add just that perfect dramatic effect). As if that wasn't insulting enough, Bono then solicits everyone to whip out their cell phones and text their names to some do-gooder organization.

The sanctimony at this show was unbearable. Bono's bulletpoints:

(1) human rights are essential
(2) Africa needs help
(3) religion and science aren't mutually exclusive and they need each other
(4) religious tolerance is really important

Thanks for the newsflash, Paul. The only other bullet points you left out were: (5) grass is green, and (6) the sky is blue.

They redeemed themselves somewhat w/ nice performances of 'Original of the Species' (the only improvised part of the show), 'All B/c..." and 'Yahweh' but it wasn't enough.

I have no doubt that Bono's a good guy but it's disappointing to see the person who cleverly parodied himself as MacPhisto in the early '90's morph into the character in real life 15 years later. It's the tunes that inspire the fans, arouse emotions and provoke action. That's why we buy the cd's and tickets. When he goes off on his pet rants he undermines the inspiration and emotion of the songs. Let the music do the talking, please!

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