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


As the World Trade Centre towers crumbled in a vision of surreal horror on Sept 11th, I was in a plane over the Pacific Ocean having just flown out of New York to return home to Australia. It didn't take long to decide that I had to return to this city I have grown to love, to share these terrible times with my friends here, and to see what would most likely be an emotional evening on the U2 Elevation tour. Having arrived for the weekend to see this specific show, I was humbled with an unforgettable experience.

Its completely futile to try to describe the feeling at last night's U2 concert at Madison Square Garden to anyone who wasn't present, but without a shadow of doubt or exaggeration this must have been one of the greatest rock shows in the history of musical tours (unanimous decision of everyone in attendence, including a lot of fairly neutral fans). I suspect even for U2, there can be no improvement on the special final New York show after all that's happened since Sept 11. Bono stated with feeling that "the best nights of our life have been on this very stage" and it was obvious that the band really lifted for their final show in the Big Apple.

As usual the music, sound and lighting were flawless, with a sensational set list. The place was absolutely pumping even before U2 hit the stage after the Stereophonics had done their set and everyone was singing along to a medley of Beatles tracks, then "Elevation" kicked in and the atmosphere went off the dial, never to come down.

Song after song seemed to register with new appropriateness or sensational emotional uplift. The climax came with the entry on stage during "Walk On" of 20 or so NYC Fire Dept workers who literally took over the show with spontaneous tributes to their dead co-workers. This, after the names of all the dead airline passengers and rescue workers had scrolled up the background screens during "One". After Bono finally regained the microphone from the fired up FDNY lads, the fans were treated to a spontaneous performance of "Out of Control", (the band members' faces clearly witness to the unprecedented feeling of the occasion). No one left as the firemen, police and EMS workers continued to speak, one by one, with surprising articulation; Bono, Edge, Larry and Adam having quietly disappeared off stage. Tears were evident everywhere in the audience, strangely mixed with an air of pure electric joy.

A truly Beautiful Day, and another small step towards the emotional recovery that we all seek.

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