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

I first posted this on Wire, but I thought I would put it here as well since not evry U2 fan is a Wireling. Warning: this is not a all a complete and objective review, it's just my personnal feelings, and it's quiet long.

OK, now that it's the day after, I think I can say that it was a totally awesome show, but it was not at all like I had expected. I'm still a bit confused I must say, it was such an intense experience, I can't totally realize that I got to see U2 live a few feet from me, for their opening night on top of that.

It was something else, I mean, very different form ZooTv and PopMart, as we were expecting. When I got into the arena, I just couldn't believe that U2 we're going to play in such a small place on such a small stage. It was REALLY intimate, they totally succeeded on that side. I was very close to the stage on top of that, just a few row from The Edge, and from Bono when he was wandering on our side. It was so real, they were so close, and so natural. No alter-egos, no change of costumes, no big props, and most of all... NO SUNGLASSES !!! Yep, Bono had his sunglasses when he got on stage but got rid of them right after Elevation. This means everything to me, I got to think he was sleeping with those damn glasses... But not last night. Last night, he was looking at us in the eyes.

Please understand me, I'm not one of those nostalgic fans that think that it was so much better in the eighties when they were keeping things real and pure. I think ZooTv was the most amazing show in rock history, and I love The Fly and MacPhisto. But last night, they really didn't need any of the extra stuff. They looked so human and so close to the audience that I think I don't even see them as rock stars anymore. I forgot about the biggest band in the world yesterday, I just had the time of my life, and I think I was not the only one in the room.

Anyway, this is all very personnal to me, maybe other people had different impressions. Here are my hightlights of the night (not necessarely in order):

*the entrance of the band, totally unexpected, they just suddenly came on stage, and started playing. No change in the lights at all, they played elevation with the worklights on! It was absolutly incredible, because there was no visual difference between the band and the crowd. They could not possibly have started the show a most humble and intimate way, only U2 could do that. They destroyed the myth right away.

*Bono falling off the stage during UTEOTW. I mean, he went into the crowd on purpose many times, but at one point he was just walking bakwards, and he just fell off the ramp! And that's quiet high, at least 8 feet! I think everybody thought at this moment 'That's it, he broke his leg, the show is over' But our hero came back on stage, looking a bit stupid I must say, but it was all very funny in the end.

*Larry coming out of behind his drum kit while Bono was presenting him. He cam all the way to the front of the heart, waving at the audience and hugged Bono, surrended by fans. Beautiful, beautiful.

*Bono laying his head soflty on Edge's back while he was singing his 'And if the night runs over...' part at the end of Stuck.

*The Fly. Amazing new intro, the best version I've ever heard of the song, and this solo, this solo... In the end, Bono jumped into the audience and CROSSED THE WHOLE FLOOR RUNNING INTO THE CROWD. I don't think this was planned at all, the security guys were freaking out a bit. This guy is nuts. And that's how we like him!

*Bono playing his two notes on the piano during The Sweetest Thing, and finding a way to mess up the end. He was laughing though, it was cute.
After he explained the crowd that it was a song for his beautiful wife Ali and all the story, and said that he still missed her birthday this year because it was friday and he was here in Miami, so he dedicated In A Little While to her, and sang the whole song his eyes closed. That brought tears to my eyes...

*Every time Edge was coming on the ramp on our side with a big smile on his face, looking at us in the eyes while he was playing his guitar with passion for us... The guitar was so loud and powerful that at some moments this was all I was able to hear, but it was fine with me!

*Sunday Blooday Sunday. Need I say more? They played it, the whole thing with Bono singing. I was convinced I would never hear this song live, I just can't beleive they played it, I was in a total trance the whole song.

*Bono mixing up the lyrics during One, definitly on purpose, and sayong 'Have you come here for forgivness, I did' If that's not meaningful, I don't know what it is.

* Bono doing a marathon on the ramps during Streets. This got to be my ultimate hightlight of the whole show. He just started runnning and running around the stage and the ramps, as fast as he could, until he was exhausted, and I thought it was a very powerful moment. This idea of running has always been something that really touched me in his lyrics...and Streets for me is all about running to this place that just exists in your imagination, but you keep running toward it anyways... I felt that's what Bono was saying to us by putting this image to life:' Look guys, I am STILL running...'

OK, there is so much more, I have to stop. The show was not perfect, I'm sure it will get better in time, for example I thought it ended pretty roughly, they should have played a softer song after Walk On. I think that they are leaving an open door for another encore, if the crowd is really good. I think Bono expected us to start singing 40, because he ended Walk On saying 'How long to sing this song', but I don't think much people heard it, and the crowd was not singing that much in general. People were really into it, and dancing and screaming, but not enough singing along for me.

About Bono's voice, well, he sounded GREAT. I'm one of those who is very critical of his vocal performances, and I thought he didn't sound very good in most of the award show they made, but yesterday, he was more than fine, maybe even better than at the Irving PLaza. And he was very emotionnal and intense the whole time. At the end of Walk On, he said thank you many times, during an added verse, and you could see the emotion in his face, at one moment I thought tears were going to fall from his eyes.

That was something, you can all get excited even more about this tour now, I can't wait for the other shows!!! (And I'm a bit jealous about the lucky ones that will be able to make it on monday...)

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