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U2 Tours (formerly part of AtU2): A Comprehensive Guide To U2’s Live Performance History
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by Richard

After 16 years of waiting, after listening to my U2 CDs endlessly, after watching them on TV so many times, Sunday August 19th 2001 was the night I finally got to see "THE GREATEST ROCK BAND IN THE WORLD". This gig was an unforgettable experience and in this review I will attempt to lay the experience down in words (If that is possible!!!!!)

Upon entering Earls Court Arena which for me was for the first time, I was a bit concerned about how the accoustics would come across in such a cavernous setting. After sitting through the terrible PJ Harvey which had possibly the worst sound I have heard in a live arena my fears were justified, but hey I was about to see U2 and I sure as hell wasn't gonna let a few sound problems spoil my night.

The Beatles "Sergeant Pepper" got the crowd going and before you knew it, the teasing intro music to "ELEVATION" started. The band simply walked on stage to a rapturous welcome, ignoring the flashy entrance sequences of their previous 2 tours and hit us with the aforementioned ELEVATION and BEAUTIFUL DAY. Bono made his first of many journeys on to the catwalk at this stage as the house lights dimmed and the real light show started. For a man who was undoubtedly suffering such a great deal of emotional turmoil, Bono was as ever the consumate professional. He stalked the catwalk like a preying mantis, teasing the crowd and even getting in there himself during "UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD". A touching tribute to his father Bob was followed by a poignant version of "KITE", Bono even injected a little humour into his anecdote.

It was fantastic to hear old classics like "OUT OF CONTROL" and "SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY" and also heartening to see the reaction they got from the crowd, indeed Bono was drowned out during the chorus of the latter. The hits just kept flowing, old and new it didn't matter what they played as everything was special. Edge joined Bono at the tip of the heart for their tribute to a "great punk rocker called Salman Rushdie" whish was THE GROUND BENEATH HER FEET. A very welcome version of ALL I WANT IS YOU was next with Bono seemingly singing exclusively to the people in the heart.

This cleared the way for the awesome WHERE THE STREETS HAVE NO NAME which got a stunning reaction from the crowd, the band looked stunned at the reaction, indeed Bono seemed to be looking out in admiration at the crowd. MYSTERIOUS WAYS was up next with an impressive visual sequence and that paved teh way for the ultimate U2 song PRIDE. This one brought the house down and built it back up again. I must confess that I sang as loud as I ever have. Then they were off leaving us hungry for more.

A video of Charlton Heston preceded BULLET THE BLUE SKY which had a stunning Edge solo and a chilling Mark Chapman/John Lennon speech by Bono. WITH OR WITHOUT YOU was next and left me with a lump in my throat, I rate it as my fav song of all time and it didn't dissapoint both musically and visually. A surprise version of ANGEL OF HARLEM gave way to the magnificent ONE before a triumphant WALK ON concluded the show. We were left wanting more but that was it.

As i write this 3 days later, the experience is still etched in my memory where it will stay for a long time. It is something special when you get to see your heroes and they live up to what you want them to be. On Sunday night U2 were everything I wanted them to be and they left me ELEVATED AS HIGH AS A KITE (just had to say that last bit).

KEEP ROCKING GUYS, NOBODY DOES IT BETTER.





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