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by Dean Flynn

Birmingham 14th August... my 2nd show of the Elevation tour, and while not as good as the first in Barcelona a week ago, it was no let-down by any means. I travelled from my home in Ireland to see the show, and met up with 2 friends of mine from Finland, Janne & Panu (hi guys!). This was my 5th ever U2 show, and for the first time I had seated tickets. Although it was cool to see U2 from a different perspective, I have to say there were times I wanted to be down there on the floor going nuts at the tip of the heart...

Anyway, off with the horns, on with the review >:-)

ELEVATION:
This song has really grown on me as a show-opener. The influx remix which is played as the band walk onstage really gets the crowd psyched, and when Bono roared "El-e-va-tion" with all the lights still on, everybody freaked out, it was really cool. At the end, Bono sang "Elevation, Jubilation" and some other "-ation" words, kind of like Bad. I'll get back to Bad later, but it sounded good on Elevation.

BEAUTIFUL DAY:
The crowd reacted to this song even better than the first, it was a No. 1 in the UK so everyone obviously knew it very well. A steady performance of the song, same as I've seen it in Barca and at a pre-tour club show.

UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD.
This song rocks! It's one of my personal U2 favourites, the Lyrics are really cool, and this was a stellar performance. At the part where Bono sings "In the garden I was playing the tart", he was lying down on the ramp around the heart. This chick in the crowd climbed on top of her friends and reached out for Bono, leaning over the barrier, and then just a second before singing the next line, "I kissed your lips and broke your heart", Bono leaned forward and kissed her right on the lips! Of course, the girl loved that... On the Elevation tour, Bono does a kind of "duel" with Edge, where Edge is playing kickass guitar and Bono is yelling the lyrics to the song into his face. In Barcelona, Edge won this duel when Bono fell on his ass and finished the song lying on the floor with Edge kicking him! However, Bono didn't "fall over" during this performance. Actually during his duel with Edge he walked up to Edge and kissed him on the cheek, as if to say "here, you want one too?". At the end of the song Bono just hugged Edge for the last few bars.

NEW YEAR'S DAY.
Same old same old. It was great. Crowd loved it.

KITE:
This song has become a favourite of mine since seeing it twice on tour. This may sound weird, but I was actually talking to my mate Janne before the show about how I'd love to hear an acoustic version of Kite, 'cause I'm not a huge fan of Edge's slide-thing in that song. Anyway, at the end of the song, the other 3 musicians stopped playing and Bono continued on his own for about 2 verses just singing and playing his acoustic guitar - it sounded wonderful, I hope they record an acoustic version of this song like they did with Staring at the Sun, it would be really cool.

GONE:
Gone sounded great tonight, just like it did at the London Astoria show in February 2001. Way better than the Popmart version, it somehow sounds more polished.

NEW YORK:
NY is my least favourite track on the new album. I have to say, however, that it comes across way better live. The crowd was subdued at the start, but by the end of the song and the Sinatra-esque "Ba-dah-da-da-dah" part, everyone was jumping around.

I WILL FOLLOW:
This was a highlight. "Your eyes make a circle...."

SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY:
Larry's drum beat kicked in for this song even before the guys finished playing IWF, and the crowd went ballistic. It was cool, closest I have heard to the album version, no speech in the middle of the song. The "No More" part was well-sung by the crowd.

WAKE UP DEAD MAN:
After the madness of SBS, this song was a much more subdued affair. Bono sang it beautifully, accompanied only by the Edge.

STUCK IN A MOMENT (YOU CAN'T GET OUT OF):
Crowd loved this song. It was a good performance - I can't pick out anything that went wrong in it - but somehow it didn't have the same magic as the previous times I have heard the song live.

DESIRE:
Performed at the tip of the heart, this was a nice laid-back and relaxed version of Desire. It was good, but I want to hear them RIP into the song, like on the R&H video... fingers crossed for Slane!

STAY (FARAWAY, SO CLOSE!):
No IN A LITTLE WHILE tonight! :-( Stay was performed nicely by Bono and the Edge. In introducing the song, Bono told a story about how in 1981 they were touring around Germany and slept in the back of a van one night. Apparently they had to put up with "horrible fumes and gases" that were being emmitted from Adam's arse! He went on to say that in the morning they were awaked when police opened the door of the van and 2 huge Alsation dogs leapt in, barking and "going mental" as if they were looking for drugs or something. They didn't find any drugs, only "Adam's Extraordinary Arse". This got a chuckle from the crowd!

BAD/40:
Bad was good, but I am 99% sure that he skipped the "isolation, dislocation, revelation, etc etc" part! Come on Bono, I know it's hard to remember all the "-ation" words, but no matter how much you screw those lyrics up it's always better than omitting them entirely! Other than that, it was cool, the crowd sang 40 long after Bono stopped.

WHERE THE STREETS HAVE NO NAME:
Wow. Streets was really good. I love the part at the beginning where Bono sprints around the stage, it really looks like he's not going to make it to the front of the heart in time for "I want to run..." (note: for those who haven't been Elevated, during the intro to this song, Bono runs - at high speed - all around the heart, just reaching the front of the heart in time to sing the first line of the song).

MYSTERIOUS WAYS:
As always, this song was great, and well-received.

THE FLY:
One of the highlights of the night, this was the first time I ever saw The Fly performed, and seeing as I was wearing my Fly shades I felt it was my duty to go crazy when this song came on! I love this version of the song, the chorus sounds great, the intro is cool, and at the end Bono did another spring around the heart, yelling "Gotta go, gotta go" and then kind of went "splat" against the video screen at the back of the stage. The screen was all lit up and Bono was silhouetted so he looked like a fly mashed on a car windscreen. Kind of funny.

Then the band went offstage for one of those fake "we're going home now" moments. It always baffles me how many fools actually leave the arena at that point!

BULLET THE BLUE SKY:
Bullet was good, but not as good as in Barcelona where Bono shouted "Zooropa, Zooropa" at the end. He did shout "Outside it's America", followed by "Outside it's China", "Outside it's Russia", "Outside it's France" and "Outside it's the UK", which tied in with the theme of the UN Security Council's 5 permanent members also being hte top 5 arms exporters in the world. So that was interesting, I guess. At one point al the arena lights were turned off, and Bono held a hand-torch in his, eh, hand. He shone this over the band and them flickered it on and off over the crowd to the beat of Larry's drum. Very Rattle-&-Hummy. I like it, I like it a lot.

WITH OR WITHOUT YOU:
For this song, the light projectors shine an image of stars and constellations all over the roof of the arena. It's really cool, and lead me to beleive that maybe we'd get the "Yeah we'll shine like stars" part at the end of the song. But we didn't :-( Nonetheless, what we got was very cool - Bono broke into "Love will never tear us apart" at the end. I think maybe he had a girl onstage with him at some point - if not here then it was on another song. He lay on the ground singing to her, then got up and hugged her before helping here back down into the crowd.

ONE:
One is such a great song live, and tonight was no different. The crowd loved it, and it was a quiet moment before we were elevated again by the closing song:

WALK ON/HALLELUJAH:
A great show-closer. The crowd loved it, the band seemed to love it (I swear I saw LMJ smile :-) and we all went home on an up-note.

---

That was it, a great show. I have to agree with the others who have reported on this show in saying Bono seemed pre-occupied. Hey, he has a right to be, given that his father is on death's door. He didn't directly mention his Dad tonight, but during one of the songs - Bad I think, but I'm not sure - he sang about how "you watched me grow up" and some other lines like that which were obviously aimed at Bob.

I would have loved to hear "In A Little While" again, it's a highlight of the show for me, but hearing "The Fly" for the first time more than made up for that.

Roll on Slane Castle on August 25!!!

--Dean Flynn.
--Cratloe, Co. Clare, Ireland.

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