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^@

by Michael Cummins

24 hours ago, I was watching Rage Against The Machine. Now I'm back in California where the desert wind doesn't suck every drop of moisture from your body. Comments from Sin City.

INSIDE THE STADIUM:

Other celebrities spotted (not by me):
Robert De Niro (still steamed about Naomi?)
Bruce Willis
Demi Moore
Sigourney Weaver
James Caan (his shoulders may have blocked the view of the person behind him)
Winona Ryder
Ashley Judd
(I had attributed my lightheadedness during the show to not eating dinner and being surrounded by a ganja cloud but apparently it was sharing space with Winona and Ashley at the same time)
TV's Hercules Kevin Sorbo
Mike Mills
Bill Berry
Gloria Reuben
Cary Elwes

and get this, Carrottop. That's right, while we fuss and fight and pay top dollar and call TM and send away to Prop, this sorry excuse for a comedian just waltzes in the back door to see our band for free.

Probably the biggest surprise, at least to we informed WIRE readers was the entrance of the band. They emerged from the rear of the stadium and the spotlights followed them until they made it to the B Stage. A new version of POP MUSIK was playing. They went into MOFO which I thought was a good opener as there is a pretty long intro. Bono was jumping up and down like a spastic boxer in a black hooded sweatshirt. It was difficult to take my eyes of of Adam who apparently shopped for the
goofiest outfit in a goofy city. He decided on white helmet, orange jumpsuit, white sunglasses and surgical mask.

As we were loitering outside all afternoon, many of us were commenting on the length of the soundcheck. They actually ran through what appeared to be an entire rehearsal. Bono's voice couldn't sustain six hours of singing in one day, and it showed during the concert. He was as hoarse as he usually is during the last days of a tour. Luckily, he
had a willing audience to help sing along (at least with the older stuff).

DISCOTHEQUE was after an intermission, not an encore. Bono said 'we'll be right back'. They do a costume change and then climb into the mirrorball while one of the Melon remixes of LEMON plays. They show a video of a buxom bellydancer backwards to take your attention away from the band climbing up a ladder into the lemon mirrorball. Then fog starts and the mirror ball is driven (yes, driven) onto the catwalk and it spins and it opens and the band is inside trying to look cool, but scared to death, hoping that the operator of the lemon doesn't mistakenly drive them into the crowd by mistake. Some steps rise and they walk out and sing DISCOTHEQUE. This was the most surreal moment of the show for me. They put a lot of energy and a lot of our 54.50 into this prop and it really doesn't do much. They go to the B stage and the lemon drives back to its home stage left.

The centralized speakers in the barrel shape sounded great to me. I was pretty close. They had some trouble with feedback while on the satellite stage, but I'm sure they'll work that out as the tour progresses.

STARING AT THE SUN was one of those rare impromptu moments. Since the tours got big, just about every minute of a show has been rehearsed and timed. When Bono began singing and Larry started drumming, they realized they were on completely different tempos, so they started again. I thought it made them more human. I want my heroes to make mistakes. It was more than made up for when Edge stayed out on the satellite to sing along with DAYDREAM BELIEVER on the video karaoke. I
understand he practiced this Thursday night, but he looked scared to death as he turned his back to the audience to read the lyrics printed on the screen. The entire crowd was smiling.

Not many of the people around me knew the POP songs and indeed people chose to sit down during many of them. I'm under the impression that many people went just to say they were there. There were a lot of people who were more concerned with a full beer, than how the band sounded, but I guess that happens at every show.

Immediately after the show ended the PA began playing the Adam and Bono version of TOMORROW. In our section this kind of stopped us from singing 40. I understand some other parts of the stadium were singing, but it seemed to fizzle out pretty early. I'm not giving up. Listen to my beautiful voice in Oakland. The crew began dismantling the set even before the band had stepped off it. Boy were they in a hurry to get this thing to Denver.

OUTSIDE THE STADIUM:

hats were $20, there were three different styles.

Apparently, every radio station in the state of Nevada decided to broadcast live from the stadium. I think there were six radio stations represented in the parking lot. We arrived at 2:15 and they were already broadcasting. There was classic rock, alternative, real rock, I think a rap station sent a van, but I thought it was a bit of overkill when "Las Vegas' hot country" and National Public Radio set up portable booths.

The radio station 103.5 played only U2 for the 24 hours leading up to showtime. It was exciting to hear MOFO followed by WITH A SHOUT.

I've been to some exciting shows before, but I've never in my life seen so many press credentialed people running around outside. Your chances of being interviewed were about one in 7. I seemed to attract only the non-english speaking media.

At around 3 pm or 4 pm, while the band was still rehearsing, a bunch of us were gathered at the northwest corner of the stadium. As you may know from the pictures, it's in the shape of a horseshoe, so from the end you can see the stage. One poor woman was put in charge of keeping the rabid fans back from the fence using only her voice. Needless to say, it couldn't last forever. I was involved in my first 'Bum Rush The Back Fence' activity. We started by walking slowly, then fast, then jogging, then flat out sprinting to get a good spot on the fence to watch Edge and Adam run through a part of the show. We hooted and hollered for attention, but Edge kept playing and Adam merely looked up and then went back to watching Edge. Reinforcements were called and we were sent back to parking lot where we belonged.

Worst kept secret in Vegas: I was personally told by three unconnected people about the huge Island Records party at the Hard Rock. If anyone got in, let us know how it was.

See ya,

Michael

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