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by Zory

NEW YORK

U2 "Vertigo World Tour"--Madison Square Garden, May 21, 2005

Before I begin my "review" of the show I would like to say that, after being a devoted U2 fan for 15 years, I still could not believe I was going to my first U2 show. Literally a dream come true!!

I thought that my trip to Dublin in 2003 and visiting the HQ Studios at the docklands, Bono's house gates at Killiney and seeing U2-related landmarks in Dublin (such as the "Pride Towers", the "East Link Bridge", the "Point Depot", "Dockers Pub", the "Grand Canal Docks" and even staying at The Clarence Hotel)---was the best it could get. Boy was I wrong!! The show was amazing and my time in New York, though only four days was excellent.

So I flew from San Juan, PR to New York's JFK on Thursday at about 12 noon. I arrived at the hotel at around 6:30PM ---got settled and decided to take a short walk around Times Square, just a few blocks from my hotel. Like if I was on auto-pilot or on radar (LOL) I quickly spotted the Virgin Megastore and walked in. They had an entire U2 display once you walked in (all CDs, books, DVDs, singles...), I only bought the "Q" June issue (Coldplay on Cover) because there was a article on U2. I walked around the store, did not buy much else.

After that I just headed to the hotel and rested. The next day (Friday) I woke up early to watch U2 on Good Morning America--they played three songs from the Chicago Performance----now I was getting extremely anxious about the show! LOL

After that, I decided to take on some local sites. Because it was raining, I decided to go to the Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, pretty cool place, but I wondered why they didn't have U2 figures in the pop culture section of the museum. Not even a Bono figure. I remember the last time I was in London they had closed the "Rock Circus" Museum (sponsored by Madame Tussaud's) and they did have a Bono wax figure--of course, I never had a chance to see it.

Anyway, then I headed to the Empire State Building and went to the observatory at the 87th floor (or was it 86th?--not sure) anyway, those elevators are quick and it was very chilly there. The rain had stopped and the view was beautiful! But I was looking for one particular landmark while up there---yes, you guessed it----Madison Square Garden. When I found it I could see the "Vertigo" Red Cargo/MAC trucks aligned in the front. About 3 of them to be exact! That was another "pinch me I'm dreaming moment"---those trucks were unloading all the equipment and the stage for the show the next day!! I was officially getting the "U2 chills"!

After leaving the Empire State Building, I took some pictures of some "poster bills"/announcements for the show on Saturday--very cool! I headed to the Madison Square Garden to take a closer look at the trucks (took some pictures as well). One of the trucks had a white dog barking inside! I thought---"animal cruelty!!"---Bono would not approve---but he looked very healthy, and the driver (his owner I pressume) was also there so I just smiled. Maybe the dog detected me "a U2 fan" and began barking. LOL

So after all that I headed to a Record Store at Bleecker Street, near Greenwich Village and found many U2 goodies such as: ZooTV/ Zooropa live shows on CD and a DVD of the documentary "Outside is America". Also found the LP (Vinyl) of the new album and the 12 in. LP of the "Vertigo Remixes". Very cool store!!!

After that I just headed back to the hotel to rest and get ready for the show the next day. I decided I was going to wear black jeans, a black jacket and my HTDAAB Cover shirt I had bought at U2.com last November. Everything was set for the next day: ticket, cash for merchandise, a snack and water. I was ready for U2!!

On Saturday (day of the show) I woke up early to watch part two of the Good Morning America Summer Concert Series with U2 again. I would be seeing them live in just hours!! I headed to an Internet Cafe at Times Square and checked out my e-mails and my favorite site www.poplemon.com ;) Seeing that all was fine, I headed to have an early lunch. I walked by Times Square again for a while then decided to head back to the hotel. My plans were to leave for the Madison Square Garden around 6:30 PM.

It was not raining, contrary to what the weather man said in the morning (why do they bother) and I finally arrived at the Madison S. G. I saw the lighted billboard that said "U2 Vertigo 2005" and took a pic of it with my cellphone. I saw this big line/cue outside and thought that was the line to go into the arena. It turned out it was the line/cue for fans trying to get tickets at the last moment (??? but weren't the shows supposed to be SOLD OUT ??? that puzzled me). Anyway, while in the "wrong line" I met two fans from Turkey who live in New York--we exchanged e-mails and I shamelessly promoted our beloved www.poplemon.com (I am learning too much from Bono!). We all had tickets so we figured out were the entrance for ticketholders was and proceeded to go in. To my surprise there were no security checks! Once inside I bought some U2 merchandise: a poster with date and MSG written on it, 4 pins, 2 shirts, a hat, a program and 3 "One" campaign bracelets, one for me and one for each of my two new friends from Turkey. I also signed the One Campaign Petition.

After that I had to go to the "Tower C" line and my new friends to the "plain numbered gates" line. We took pictures and said bye with many wishes for each one to enjoy the concert---it was the first for all three of us. While in line, I felt such a welcoming, friendly atmosphere. I thought, so this is what they always say about U2 shows---they are different in their own special way---that fact was becoming clearer by the minute. I was amazed to see so many generations wanting to enjoy the "U2 Experience", children, grandmas (yes you read right) I saw three ladies who must have been in their late 60s, proudly holding their Vertigo tickets in one hand and their U2 "V" Deluxe Swag bags in the other! I just smiled!! Moms and dads with their kids--dads wearing their shirts from the War or UF tours! It was great!!

It was about 7:50 PM and I finally got to go to my seat. It was a great seat--Section 222 on the right side of the ellipse if you were looking from the front. On the left if looking from the side (Adam's side of the stage). I had a complete view of the stage and then it hit me--I am in the same building with U2!! OH MY!! LOL At about 8PM Kings of Leon began playing their set--I could not understand a word the singer was saying. They were not good--did not like them at all. I think the singer noticed that they weren't doing well that night because before he left, he pushed the microphone stand to the floor. Anyway, that was done. Next up---U2!!! WOO HOO!

The intro song for this tour began playing at about 9:20 PM (show began a bit later that usual). From that moment on, I stood up and did not sit down again for the entire show! While the intro song is finishing, you see the four silhouettes of the band members going onstage and the place just went wild. Fists and arms in the air, 20,000 people screaming in unison!! Amazing!!! The sound, light effects, visuals and performances were unbelievable and full of energy!!!

So here is what happened song by song:

"City of Blinding Lights" the light effects and the "ball" curtains (rolled up and down) were amazing!! Very cool!! Bono and Edge walked through them a couple times during the show--(very 70s). The highlights for the song was the fans fists pumping up in the air during the "Oh, you look so beauuuutiful, tonight..." Bono was being the usual showman---giving equal time to everyone in the arena. I couldn't believe it when he walked towards the side of the ellipse that was closest to me!! WOW!!! It was a great song---much better in a live setting!!

"Vertigo" now here is were the arena when nuts!!! After Bono does the countdown and just as Edge begins playing the guitar the light effects on the stage were amazing--many red lines and some circling the stage---it was just undescribable! From the countdown on----IT WAS GREAT!! Lots of Energy!! I could see Adam smiling and Edge was also having a great time. Larry was drumming away--cool as always!! Bono sang different lyrics (from the Ramone's Rockaway Beach) into the melody for "Stories for boys" and then they continued with Vertigo!! U2 was rocking!! I couldn't believe I was there---it was such a great feeling!!

"Elevation" when the guitar chords began for this one I just started jumping right away ( a la "Boston Elevation DVD" ) I was ready!! LOL But you know that for this tour they usually do the first verses without drums.....everyone was singing the "woo hoo's" right along with BONO (AMAZING) and then Bono asks Larry to join in and sing (a MOLE, digging in a HOLE.....) then on the E-LE-VA-TION! that followed, the song begins as its supposed to be (drums...) everyone is jumping up and down!! CRAZY!!! Then Edge's solo along with his trademark foot stomping!! It was all live baby!! No DVD here!! It was really happening in front of me!! Bono was asking everyone to jump (Bono-aerobics anyone) so much fun!!! A true highlight---and this was just the third song!!!!

"The Cry/Electric Co." Bono introduces the song as one that they played when they were very young. What I really love about this song is the Chorus! Bono and Edge did a great job. The Electric Co.s were brilliant!! I love the drumming in this song as well--so Larry--kisses to you!! Adam stood on his designated side of the stage--not much action.

"An Cat Dubh"--my favorite EARLY U2 song. Now it was either this one or "Gloria". But when I heard Adam's bass and Edge's guitar on this along with Larry's drums I could not believe it!!! THIS WAS WAY TOO GOOD!! The chorus on this one is fun as well. Bono let's the crowd sing the "she-cats". Then for "Into the heart" Bono walks to the left side of the ellipse (MY SIDE) and lays himself down on the floor (THIS WAS TOO MUCH) I just screamed: "BONO!!!!" LOL Then he sat down on the edge of the ellipse towards the audience in the smaller circle of the ellipse and began to make some hand signals---then a girl (teen) is brought up to the ellipse and Bono and the girl start walking to the front of the ellipse--Bono is holding the girl's hand and then whispers something in her ear---which must have been "wave to the crowd" because the girl starts waving to the crowd on cue (hey if Bono tells you to wave, you wave!!) LOL Then he kisses her hand and the girl is taken back to the crowd.

"Beautiful Day" another crowd pleaser!! The light effects were amazing (lots of green, and blue) on this one and I starred alot at Larry on this one--I love his drumming on this song. He was a bit serious--really concentrating!! I couldn't keep my eyes away (except on some of the choruses) had to see those Bono jumps!! I love those Bono jumps!! Adam moved closer to the front of the stage on this one, he was grinning as always!! Another great one!!

"Miracle Drug" Bono made a speech about doctors, nurses, science....the light effects on the ellipse were so cool here--many different colors! When Bono sang "I am you and you are mine, love makes nonsense of space and tiiiiiiiime, will disappear" I just closed my eyes and raised my hands in the air ( a trully spiritual experience)-- that's my favorite line of the song. It was magic!! Edge sang him verse perfectly!

"Sometimes you can't make it on your own" Bono dedicates it to Bob (his dad) and goes on to say something like "he was a tough guy" Projected on the "ball curtain" was a figure of a man walking (brought back memories of Popmart Tour). Bono was very emotional on this one---HE TOOK HIS SUNGLASSES OFF---the best part was when he sang the line "Can you hear me when I siiiing..." (I was thinking: "C'mon Bono sing this line like you've never sung it before" ) HE DID! Once again I closed my eyes as he sang----amazing song!! At the end Bono sang the "no regrets, no tears goodbye, don't want you back, we will only cry again, say goodbye---goodbye" part.

"Love & Peace, or Else" Now during this song alot was going on! But first I must say, this song's place is in a live setting...much better than on the CD. Bono put on a leather jacket and his "COEXIST" headband. Larry went to the front of the ellipse (via the left side--MY SIDE) to a single drum that was set there. He was waving to fans on the way--those quick Larry waves. Larry and Bono sang the "release, release, release" parts together and at the end---Larry headed back to his drums (waving again) and Bono stayed up front with the drum that was there---he proceeded to play a drum solo with the energy that IS Bono--OH MY IT WAS SO RAW, SO BRUTAL---it was great! Bono not only wants to play the guitar, he wants to play drums now!! LOL Two thumbs up for this song!!!

"Sunday Bloody Sunday" The place went crazy!! Specially when Edge began playing the intro guitar. I watched Larry alot on this one--his drumming in this song is another favorite of mine! Then the crowd began singing the "oh oh ohs.." and then Bono joined in (not the other way around :) ) ---I was singing right along! Bono did a "coexist" speech and the "No more" No war" chant was there as well. The light effects here were brilliant!! CLASSIC SONG!! It was great to finally see it being played live!!

"Bullet the Blue Sky" I couldn't believe I was listening to this song live---in my opinion its a U2 song that must be heard live to truly appreciate it ...until now I had only done so from Live MP3s or old VHS concerts. Edge did great on the guitar and Adam's basslines were classic. At one point Bono covers his eyes with the "coexist" headband/bandanna and kneels down on the stage while raising his arms. Classic moment!! Then he stood up to the mic with his hands up and began singing the chorus to "Hands That Built America" . Great songs!!!

"Running to stand still" Another favorite from JT days! Like "Bullet" it must be heard live to really appreciate the power of this song. Bono dedicates it to the US armed forces in Iraq. Bono has his Green Guitar and plays the harmonica at the beginning of the song (once again, I couldn't believe I was witnessing this live----the other time I had was while watching the Zoo TV Sydney concert on TV). The crowd helped Bono sing the "La, la, la ,la, la di days"..... 20, 000 people singing to you for a change--you deserved it BONO! No "still running...." part at the end was sung. It was good anyway! Band left the stage...

Then a Civil rights Message (Declaration of Human Rights) appeared and were read at the TV screens on top of the stage. When it was over a few seconds silence and then I almost died when I heard the beginning guitar chords and drumbeats for "Pride"---MY FAVORITE U2 SONG EVER!!! This was one of the moments I was waiting for---listening to this song live! My heart was beating so fast, I was so happy!! Bono did that "I throw my heart to you, fans" while saying "love! repeatedly" well I did the same "throwing my heart to the band" I felt the connection--fan/band!! Bono gave a small speech telling fans to sing the "oh oh oh ohs" ( <---- HIGHLIGHT HIGHLIGHT!) for MLK's America and for Nelson Mandela's Africa... I WAS IN HEAVEN!! I think here the "ball" curtains were projecting African flags on the background not sure (it could have been during "Streets").

"Where the street have no name" ---from "Pride" they go straight to "streets" Once the crowd recognizes it--you can hear a roar!! The entire arena was lit and you could see everyone with their hands up in the air or jumping----UNBELIEVABLE SIGHT!!!! Bono gave an equality speech (the journey of equality moves on, because everyone is equal under the eyes of God) Bono jumps, runs, does all the crazy stuff he does (AND I LOVE) I couldn't believe it!! WOO HOO!!! GREAT SONG, GREAT PERFORMANCE!!

Then we come to the "Zoo TV" / "Acthung Baby" part of the show. On the front screen you can see three pics of the "Zoobaby" on the screen--like a slot machine on a casino---then the zoobaby appears along with some politician's faces...until you can see all three babies again. I know some words were being displayed on the screen (but from were I was sitting I could not read them---did see pics afterwards that do show the words. Then the arena goes pitch black.

"One"--during this song (BIG HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT) Bono asks fans to Text UNITE on their cellphones and gives a speech about unity. Bono is playing guitar and sings the song beautifully. By the end of the song ( The "making looove" parts) the arena lights are turned down and fans turn their cellphones on and were waving them from side to side...Bono says: "that's right turn them on and thank you" This moment was undescribable--YOU HAD TO BE THERE to really experience it!! THIS IS U2 AT ITS BEST--the band really did great on this one! THE SONG THAT SAVED THE BAND!

"Zoostation"- the beginning of this song, it's like no other!! Lucky we had this part of the show because I never got to see them for the Zoo TV tour! Bono steps out doing the "military marching" and wearing a policeman cap. Very cool!! He is acting all "Fly-ie" which was great to see that live. He raises his left arm and then makes it go down with right arm. He did that repeatedly. The song turn's out great. The guitar sound on this one was amazing!


"The Fly" with its great "new" arrangement for the beginning of the song, it was pure ENERGY--great chorus, BONO was incredible...those crazy convulsions, and faces he makes---like nothing else! Edges guitar part and the drums and bass were really great!! THE CHORUS is always great here!! ("Love, you shine like a burning star, falling from the sky, toooonight!!) Just raised my arms and enjoyed the moment! WOO HOO!

"Mysterious Ways" Another favorite of mine, great live version. At one point Bono pulled a girl from the audience (front of ellipse) and started dancing with her--she danced right along with Bono (who wouldn't). I was dancing along with the song from start to finish---a wasn't in my living room this time ;) !!

"Original of the Species" Then a funny thing happened, I assume this was unplanned because when "Mysterious ways" ends and Dallas is taking Edge's guitar away, Bono goes to him and whispers something in his ear--Edge justs starts smiling and laughing. And goes to the back of the ellipse to play piano. Then Bono goes to Adam and tells him to stay on stage and then looks at Larry and gives him a sign of some sort. Avery spontaneous moment! Bono then says: "We are going to try a new song here...this was not on the list" This song is a unique song, an instant fave the first time I heard the new album. My favorite line: "Everywhere you go you shout it, you don't have to be shy about it..." I never expected to hear this song live, because they haven't played it much...but I am so happy I got the chance to listen to it. The band says goodnight again and leave the stage.

"All Because of you"--After a couple of minutes of the crowd chanting, the band comes out again and begins this great song. I love the guitar on this one-love ya Edge! Another instant fave when I heard the new album for the first time! Fave part: when Bono sings the "oh oh ohhhh, oh oh ohhhh, yeeeahhh eee yeahhhhh....." before the final chorus.

"Yahweh" all the band walks to the front of the ellipse, Larry is playing a small keyboard that has been set up front. Bono says :"Here's Larry with his new Christmas present"--or something of the sort. Very spiritual moment. The song gets a great crowd reaction and when its over, Larry "runs" back to his drumkit and Edge and Adam go to the main stage again. Bono stays at the front of the ellipse.

"Vertigo" Bono begins to give a speech about the italian word for encore and uses the opera as an example---saying that when the word was used it meant "you play the song again." They begin playing Vertigo again with the same energy as if it was the first song of the show. GREAT ENDING TO A GREAT SHOW. They left the stage and many of the fans wondered if they'd come back and play "40". But the lights went on and that was it, no "40" tonight!

Although as the fans were exiting the Garden a fan began singing "how long, to sing this song" and many of us joined in...the U2 procession was leaving the "U2 church" it was definitely a spiritual, soulful, freeing experience. I did feel the fan-band connection--like I've read so many times before on U2 show reviews.

As I exited the Madison Square Garden, I walked towards the back of the building and the trucks were already being loaded. There were about 150 fans waiting by the backdoor to catch a glimpse of any of the guys in the band. The three black SUVs were parked there. I waited until 1:45 am. It was cold and late and I decided to leave. About 30 mins later, so I hear, Bono and Edge came out to say a quick hello (not signing autographs). I'll get another chance to say hi, I know it!

So that's what happened! I hope I didn't bore you with all the adjectives!! LOL I know there were many! I had such a great time! Hope you do to when you get the chance to go to a U2 show!

Zory :)
*POPLEMON*

Note: Songs not played that I wished they had played: "Gloria", "40", "New Year's Day", "I Will Follow", "Bad", "With Or Without You", "Desire"

PS: I forgot to add that after Kings of Leon were finished and the roadies were setting up some equipment for U2---I had another I can't believe I am here "U2 moment"----and that was when Bono's microphone stand was set at the middle front of the stage---he has used the same mic stand since the beginning---and I don't see many other performers using the same one...so that was so cool to see that!! I tell you it was one great experience!!

Zory

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