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by Rejoice

My dear friends, I have been elevated - to the soul! I've been reading these reviews since day one in Sunshine and, though never one to lose belief in the boys, I didn't know if it could ever live up to the kudos here. Well, as you've heard, it did.

This was my 31st U2 show dating back to Unforgettable Fire, first of six on this part of the tour. To the diehards, I say to think J-Tree tour, think Unf Fire tour - it's got all the power and passion without the Vegas that tended to take away from it all.

Bono clearly struggled, he admitted it from the start but, as usual, it was two Bonos on stage. We could tell he felt like death early on, grabbing his belly between songs, laboring on some high notes even before mentioning it to the crowd. He had a few of us wondering, too, when he sang "Time, is -- not -- on my side' during 'Bad.'

But the showman usually won out, doing the pogo from 'Elevation' on out and making his illness part of the show - asking fans to carry him through, as they did. Despite his certain ill health, though, he hit all the high notes when he tried - in 'Stuck,' 'Bad' and 'Kite.'

Several mentions to old school and J.B. Scotts - the legendary Albany joint they played early on and Bono wore black sleeveless T-shirt though dozens of widely-circulated publicity shots around War. He didn't remember what happened to the club and some locals may know better than me but I think it became a roller rink - at least it was part rink/part club when I saw The Alarm there in 1985.

Set was great, loaded early with the 'Achtung' songs in what appears to be the B set on this tour. Some trimming I assume to Bono's voice (No, 'In a Little While').

Intro was awesome, love the lights up bit used best in J-Tree days with the 'Stand by Me' opening. B-Day is much better live, and Stuck is a true inspiration, though Bono is clearly still learning the words to 'In My Life' intro.

'Gone' was an early highlight, dedicated to 'Hutch' even now. Edge just rocked on Kite, which, for me was the best song of the night. For me, that's make up for skipping 'Acrobat' on Zoo tours and 'Red Hill Mining Town' on J-Tree -- hands down the most inspiring song on record finally translated into the best song on stage.

'I Will Follow' and 'Sunday' ripped, though I think the crowd missed the chance to say 'No More' again.

Take the advice of others here who say to just close your eyes a bit during 'Bad' and let it flow over you. Still one of the best live songs ever put together and they didn't disappoint.

'The Fly' was probably surprise of the night, with Bono dropping guitar for tip of the heart work with crowd. Was very, very high-toned and Edge, like in Bullet, just tore the roof off the joint. Bono clearly had John Lennon on the mind last night, mentioning early that he was in Albany when Lennon was shot then absolutely screaming "Mark Chapman, Who are you? Mark Chapman, Who are you?" over and over. It was really chilling.

Clearly Adam doesn't like being on the ramp. He was out for about half of 'Desire' and then bailed. He's said he doesn't like the sound in his ear but it does seem kinda wierd, especially for the most rock-n-roll member of the band.

As expected, 'Walk On' was a great closer, though I'd like to see some more emotion from Lawrence. He has decidedly changed the way he drums and that sometimes leads to a sort of ho-hum attitude - what happened to the scrunched up Larry beating the heads off the skins?? Again, minor complaint, though.

As you can tell, I liked the show a lot. It was an inspiration, particularly given Bono's clear ill health.

Onto Hartford tonight then four straight in Boston- the real American home of U2! Hope Bono is saving his voice for the HBO cameras the first two nights of the FleetCenter and the real surprises (a return of 'Out of Control' and 'Tick Tock') for the hometown crowd.

Thanks for listening to the morning rant - Catharsis is always good for the soul before returning for more.

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