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by Henry Wagner

Well, this is it, my last POP Mart show. One last chance to celebrate, one last chance to hear all the great tunes, and one last chance for them to play Bad. While spending the day on line we concluded that this show would include Bad, Miami, Mothers of the Disappeared, and 40, and it would be the greatest show ever. We got two of the four, and it was definitely the best show I've ever been to.

Without my camera weighing me down the run to the stage was a more enjoyable, but again the railing was covered in people wearing wrist bands. Who do these people think they are, Wirelings? We managed to get close to center stage, only four rows back. Nico and Elena found a spot along the rail, on the other side of the b stage while we squeezed our way closer. I still couldn't get into the opening bands, and the funk music continued while the crew got the stage ready. I was almost directly in front of Dallas as he tested Edge's guitars, running through all the effects, playing a few notes from each song. Through the monitors I could make out Gone, Even Better Than The Real Thing, Last Night On Earth, and a few others. Then I suddenly noticed a familiar sound, "Holy shit! He's playing Bad!" The suspense was getting unbearable, not to mention the fact that the crowd was slowly moving forward.

When the show started the crush was unreal! I could barely breath, and my raincoat was blocking any breeze that might happen to wander by, but I had a great view. The first few songs were amazing, especially Gone, dedicated to Michael Hutchense, which ended with Bono singing "And they will never tear us apart!" several times. By the time I Still Haven't Found was starting I knew I needed to get out of there. If they were going to play Bad it would be soon, and I wanted to be in a spot where I could really enjoy it. I got about ten rows back, in a clear spot, as Bono began to sing an Irish tune, "Dirty Old Town" Wow! I never thought I'd get to hear this at a POP Mart show. It was so cool to hear, and to sing along. As I Still Haven't Found neared the end Edge turned and walked toward his effects rack, it was now or never. I screamed "Do it Edge!!!" as he reached out and pressed a button. Slowly, barely audible over the crowd at first, the beautiful music that could only be the beginning of Bad came pouring out of the speakers. I screamed with every ounce of energy I had. Finally, on my 19th, and final, POP Mart show I was hearing my favorite U2 song played, and it was magic. Bono changed around some of the lyrics, and combined the second and third verses together, "If I could throw this lifeless life line to the wind, I'd led your heart astray, to see you break, break away." He walked up and down the catwalk, before making his way to center stage for the big finale, with Edge's guitar soaring. "This desperation, dislocation, separation, condemnation, revelation, in temptation, isolation, desolation. Let it go! Go! Go! Go! GO!!!!!" I screamed every word, and the tears came. Bad was as great as ever. Then Bono added part of Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" with the crowd singing the "do do do do--do do do do" and a little of All I Want Is You. By this point I was absolutely euphoric. As Edge headed for the b stage Bono announced they were going to play a song they wrote for Willy Nelson, Slow Dancing. I was so surprised, you could have knocked me over with a feather. They did a great acoustic version as Darci and I made our way to the center of the pitch. Again, the audience cheered "Oh lay, oh lay, oh lay, The Edge, The Edge!" as Edge started Sunday Bloody Sunday with the "Oh oh oh" part. Incredible! I just celebrated for the rest of the concert, jumping up and down, screaming my lungs out, twirling my shirt around, taking it all in, one last time. "We Will Rock You" was added to Bullet, and during Discotheque Bono added something that sounded really familiar, "The Fly! Yeah!" Two verses worth. Could this show possibly get any better? The girl Bono pulled up for Velvet Dress stayed with him for With or Without You as they sat on the steps of the b stage. As he let her go to prepare for the big ending he gave her a kiss, and there was some serious tongue action going on. Once again the audience joined in for the ending, overpowering Bono's voice.

I made my way back toward the main stage for the big finale. Mysterious Ways had a long extended jam session before the ending. Bono took Edge's hand and they tried to dance around, but ended up getting tangled up together, it was hysterical. Bono dedicated One to Jose Luis Cabezas, a journalist who was murdered a year ago. He told Willy to turn off all the lights and for the audience to light up, it was beautiful. They closed with another amazing performance of Mothers of the Disappeared, this time Larry and Adam joined in during the second verse. The audience really caught on to "El Pueblo Vencera," the perfect ending to the perfect show. I couldn't ask for anything else.

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