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

I don't even know where to begin...so I guess I should just start from the very beginning.

We arrived at the First Union Center around 4:30pm to find the GA line-up shorter than I had thought it would be by that time of day. I had figured there was no way I was going to be able to get into the heart because it was so late in the day by the time I was going to be able to get there, but I got really excited again when I saw how short the line was. At 6pm they finally started letting people in. The security at the First Union Center handled the whole GA situation perfectly. There was no line jumping, no running, and no pushing or shoving.

So we got in and made our way to the floor, only to find that people had started to line-up along the raling right on the outside of the heart already. I went over to the entrance of the haert on Edge's side and the guy told me they were filled in there already. No problem though...because there was still plenty of room at the tip of the heart, and me and my friends secured spots right up against the railing at the tip of the heart, just off of center on Edge's side. Woo-hoo! I really have to question whether or not they were "full" in the heart at that point though, because after a few minutes my friends and I noticed the people who were right in front of us AND behind us in line were in the heart. Go figure.

So 7:30pm rolls around, and PJ Harvey comes out to do her thing. I really wasn't looking forward to seeing her, but she was actually pretty good I thought. I was impressed that U2 let her use the lights and the video screens.

So at about 8:15pm, PJ Harvey finished up and things kicked in to high gear. I watched Dallas Schoo come out and unveil Edge's guitar set up, and begin tinkering with things. He disappeared for a few seconds, and then re-appeared with Edge's Gibson Explorer ES300 (I think that's what it is...you know, the "Beautiful Day" guitar) and I got chills when I saw it. He started playing a bunch of riffs from many songs on it, and walked around the heart a few times with some of Edge's other guitars, just making sure that the wireless transmitters were working. Suddenly, I heard The Beatle's "Sgt. Pepper and the Lonely Hearts Club Band" come over the PA, and I knew it was showtime.

The Elevation remix started, and the crowd started going wild. I have never heard such a loud audience before. All of a sudden Adam, Larry, The Edge (wearing his #3 shirt), and Bono just appeared on stage with the house lights still up (of course). Bono walked around for a bit and looked at the crowd, and right before they started playing "Elevation" he said something like "Philadelphia is gonna win this week," referring to the 76ers. That must have sent everyone into a frenzy because the crowd got even louder at that point. So loud in fact, I could not hear U2 actually start playing "Elevation" at all.

The energy of the band and the audience was amazing. I have been a fan for a while, and I have about 200 U2 shows on CD-R, and it just seemed a bit unreal that these 4 guys from Dublin who a lot of my free time has been devoted to with trading and stuff, were standing 3 feet in front of me. Words can not describe it.

I thought all of the versions of all the songs were very strong. The Edge played his solo during "Until the End of the World" right in front of me, and Bono layed down and was kicking his guitar also right in front of me. Bono sang the entire last verse of "Kite" again all by himself and his acoustic guitar when the song finished. "Gone" just completely rocked, and it had an extended ending to it I had never heard before, with The Edge playing something WAY up the fret board on his guitar. "I Will Follow" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" brought the house down. Bono picked out a girl from the audience who was about 5 feet to right of me up on stage during "In a Little While." She had been holding up a Ramones t-shirt, and Bono told her to put it on and he said something like "You will get a lot of places with a shirt like that." He also let her sing the very last line of the song. Adam and Larry even came out to the tip of the heart to play "Desire." Larry was right in front of me, and it sounded a bit weird because I was hearing him hit his drum beats and the sound from them before the sound came out the PA, so it sounded a bit strange. I am 6 feet, 2 inches tall, and I put my hands in the air at one point when they were all there, and Adam saw me. I made eye contact with him and he smiled and nodded at me. "Bad" included a portion of "40" at the end, and the crowd was really siniging the "How long to sing this song" bit pretty well.

Nothing matched what came next though. "Where the Streets Have No Name" has always been my favorite live song, and tonight was no exception. Everyone in the arena was moving to this one, and the screen being lit up red behind the band and only seeing their sillouettes (just like all previous tours) is an image I will never forget. The Edge broke a string during the second verse though, and he had to change guitars mid way through the song.

"Bullet the Blue Sky" just totally rocked. The Edge's solo was classic, and very loud. The other highlight of the show for me had to be "The Fly." I had heard the new version several times already from other shows I have on CD-R, but it just totally ROCKED. Bono was at the tip of the heart towards the middle of the song and took someone's camera from the audience and starting taking pictures of himself with it, and then gave it right back. He then ran two laps at full speed around the heart and planted himself against the video screen behind the band at the end, like a fly that had been splattered on someone's windsheild. Very cool:-)

They came back for two more songs after that. Bono gave a speech about Jubillee 2000 before "One," and "Walk On" was really good.

All in all, it was an amazing show, except that they didn't play "The Sweetest Thing." Certainly the best I have ever been to. I think that Popmart was just as good, but being SO CLOSE to the band made it all the better. My ears are still ringinig, and it's been nearly 12 hours since the show ended, but I don't mind:-)

And Paul McGuinnes...if you read this for some reason, PLEASE have U2 come back to my area in the Fall!!!!!:-)

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