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

There are nights when a band even as great as U2 feels an urgency to redeem themselves from a previous performance that just didn't have the magic that takes a U2 concert from a mere collection of great songs into a symbotic two plus hour experience of pure joy enveloping and intensely connecting both band and crowd. Sunday night in Chicago was one of those truly special nights. For me it was lifetime show #65 on a ride I never want to see end but I know someday inevitably will.

Saturday night was just simply a tough night for the band ... you could see the tightness and feel that lack of symbiotic energy with the crowd ... a crowd which seemed tired in the pit (which can happen after camping outside a stadium for a couple of days as is the cost of being the first through the door at those milestone gigs, e.g. first or last show of a leg of the tour.) Sure there's a history of Night 2 in a city eclipsing Night 1, but this was the first show in the U.S. that seemed to be the perfect stage for the band to nail it ... but it just wasn't there. The band knew it and it showed in their lack of crowd interaction as they clung to the main stage with a clear element of self-doubt relative to the nights when they just reach out, grab your soul and never let go until your vibrating with joy. It was one of those nights where I left the show wandering if the two thousand miles flown, two days/nights in line, and barely any sleep were truly worth it ... and, worst of all, wondering if I really wanted to make the sacrifice for the all the other shows this Fall much less trek to South America, Asia or wherever over the next twelve months. It was a truly depressing feeling.

And then came Sunday night and Redemption with a capital R. From the first note, the first swivel of Bono's hips, the first words from Bono's mouth, and the energy in the pit, it was clear that both audience and band knew that tonight had to be incredible. We had talked in the line during the day about "lifting up the band" and I honestly have no doubt that the band equally knew that their relationship with the crowd needed to radically change from Saturday night. The performance was beautiful and real. You could see it and feel it ... you could see the band shedding the night before and reclaiming themselves. Those of us in the pit had one of those nights where we occasionally glanced at others we knew who had traveled from Italy or from Alberta or from Spain or from Boston with that look of joyful elation that simply said "they're back !" ... after a down first night they had picked up where they had left off on such a high in Cardiff. It was a beautiful, joyful evening that replaced the low of the night before and left me excitedly vibrating about what this tour could once again be ... the look in the band's eyes and their body language leaving the stage made it clear they equally felt their transformation. Truly amazing night and one of the best ever on the road with U2.

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