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by Roy

I just had the pleasure of attending the two opening shows of the North American Leg of the 360 tour. Sunday was the 18th time I have seen U2, going back to the ZooTV tour. I have seen some amazing U2 shows-the Atlanta Pop Mart show was incredible, as was the Zoo TV tour. I saw them 4 times for the Elevation tour, and Notre Dame was just incredible-never seen them play so angrily, and it was the only time that Elevation did not open the show, but was replaced, appropriately, IMHO, by Beautiful Day. I fell in love with How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb and saw the Vertigo tour 7 times, including the famous dvd concert, (though the next night was better), the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame show, and Chicago 5, so I have been unbelievably excited all year to see this show. I was able to catch 20 concerts prior to Saturday to kind of prepare myself for U2 360, including 7 Dead shows and 2 DePeche Mode shows at the Hollywood Bowl. All that is to say that the shows I saw Saturday, and especially Sunday are in a category all their own. I have never seen a show like this or felt this way at a concert. I still am in a daze from it. The obvious starting point is the stage. It has to be seen to be appreciated. I feel like the love U2 has for their fans is as deep as the Claw is tall. It really works to bring U2 closer to us, as paradoxical as that sounds. It literally shrinks the venue. I never felt like I was in a concert with 65,000 people. I am a huge fan of the new album. I think its in the top 2 or 3 of the best work they have ever done. The new songs sound amazing live. As I had theorized, these songs were made to be played in a stadium and sung by tens of thousands of people. Unknown Caller, in particular, one of my favorites, just sounds angelic with everyone singing. In night 1 I had seats in section 142, while I had behind the stage seats in section 254 for night 2. I must say, the second night was better because I could really appreciate the brilliant lighting work of Willie Williams. He is a genius. As massive as it all is, the set never overwhelmed the music, which is amazing. The sound was phenomenal-crystal clear, which was very surprising for a concert in a stadium. I feel like the second night was the better of the 2 nights. The crowd was hungrier, and the band seemed to have gotten over the first night jitters and jet lag and really put it all out there. From the moment Space Oddity begins, its like being on a roller coaster. A particular highlight for me was Ill Go Crazy remix. I am not a big fan of the album, but their performance, especially Sunday, just rocked. It was so powerful and so much fun watching 65000 people swaying and getting down to the funky grooves of U2. Streets was great as usual. Since they didnt play Pride, I feared that they also would not play that. Placing it at the end was perfect. Ultraviolet surprised me. It is so great live, and the lighting is just phenomenal-out of this world. While I have grown tired of With Or Without You it is perfect in this show. The mirror ball just took my breath away. The roar of the crowd at the beginning of the song, as the stadium was bathed in purpled, was unlike any sound I have ever heard at a rock concert. It was deafening and even took Bonos breath away. And with Moment of Surrender, U2 ended the epic performance by taking us all to church. The song was so majestic and had so much soul. I love seeing Larry sing with such feeling along with The Edge. And the last part sent shivers up my spine as Bono is on his knees, letting the audience be that 5th member of the band and sing the chorus. It looked like he was crying he was so happy. He got up at the end and told us that he would never forget this. Its evidence of how much Chicago 2 meant to U2 that they repeated the setlist in Toronto. What an epic performance. Thank you U2 for a life changing experience.

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