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by Popmartijn

I've been a U2 fan for 10 years now and I had seen them three times before the Elevation Tour (once on Zooropa and twice on Popmart). But I went quite AWOL on this tour, as tonight was my sixth (and last) Elevation concert. The person who originally wanted to go with me suddenly changed her plans some 10 days before the concert, so I was left with one extra ticket (no way I was not going because somebody else didn't want to come along). With the help of the Internet I found somebody who wanted 1 extra ticket. My tickets were seating tickets from Propaganda and they were great. I was on Edge's side, halfway between the stage and the tip of the heart and quite to the front. I was also quite near the PA on that side and that also had a huge influence. Before the concert the person I sold the extra ticket to (and who was thus sitting next to me) told me that the sound in Het Sportpaleis was not good, to say the least. Never was he so wrong (as he also acknowledged after the concert) as the sound was perfect. Everything was crystal clear and we could hear (and see) everything perfectly. I'd also seen the previous three concerts in Arnhm and while I enjoyed those I thought there was something lacking. As the Gelredome (Arnhem) was a covered stadium with 35,000 seats I thought the venue was a bit too big for the Elevation Tour to really shine. I hoped the true magic would return in Het Sportpaleis as it was a venue with a capacity half of that in the Gelredome. The Stereophonics opened the evening and I thought they were pretty good. They're certainly much better than Kelis, having a good attitude and a sense what kind of evening it is. It's still remarkable that their lead singer (who is still in his early twenties) can have such a gravel-voiced voice. Maybe Bono was inspired by it, because I thought he sounded a bit hoarse at times. This is not to say that his voice was bad, as Bono could still hit those high notes and belt out at full volume. There is less and less I can say about the opening song. Elevation is just great. This time it was even more special to me as it sounded great, I had a great view (even from my seats I felt real close to the band) and this would be my last Elevation concert. Nevertheless, I had no chance of being sad, as Beautiful Day came. This is such an uplifting song I can't help but feeling joy whenever I hear it (even 1 year after its premiere). Things got really interesting during New Year's Day. During Bad at the first concert in Arnhem Bono had pulled a little girl onstage, walked around with her and brought her back to her father. Tonight, Bono pulled two little girls onstage (sisters?) and walked around with them. But instead of bringing them back he let them sit at the side of the stage, next to the piano. As he introduced Kite, he was the Wizard of Oz and they were his two Dorothies. Kite keeps on growing on me (and it already was such a strong song), especially since Bono keeps changing the acoustic coda. Tonight it included a snippet of Somewhere Over The Rainbow (from The Wizard Of Oz). If Kite keeps on growing on me, I really don't know what to say about Gone. Huge, maybe? Anyway, Edge's solo again put faith in the future of the guitar. During New York Bono finally returned the little girls to their parents, over the Red Heart Road. On my last evening of Elevation I finally understood what Bono is doing when he strikes a pose behind the curtain: It's the Statue of Liberty! The joy of finding this out was immediately put to shadows by I Will Follow. This is still my favourite U2 number (the energy!) and tonight's extended version was a highlight for me. Interesting was the next song. During Sunday Bloody Sunday Bono got an Irish flag onstage (as he does often), but he also sang the 'No more!' bit, like it was 1983 again. How much I appreciate U2 for their innovation and for moving forward, this flashback to the Eighties got me out of my mind. Interesting was also In A Little While. Tonight was the first time I heard Bono dedicate it to Joey Ramone, as he'd dedicated it to Herman Brood in Cologne and Arnhem. The version was again moving and beautiful (it's my favourite track on All That You Can't Leave Behind). Before Stay Bono spotted a sign in the audience. I didn't see what it said, but everybody could hear the conversation Bono had. Soundbytes like 'It's a song we wrote for Frank Sinatra,' 'Yes, I've written it, but that doesn't mean I can sing it' and 'I suffer from Alzheimer and Gilles de la Tourrettes' (meaning Bono forgets lyrics and shouts irresponsible words) made us very expectant. Bono made the mistake of saying 'Could you please be quiet. I'm trying to have a conversation here' as it resulted in a loud roar from the audience. In the end Bono tried to sing a few lines from Two Shots Of Happy, One Shot Of Sad before he started Stay. At the end he again sang a couple of lines of Two Shots Of Happy, One Shot Of Sad but unfortunately didn't came further than the first verse. My magic moment occured during Where The Streets Have No Name. The moment all the light went on I couldn't do anything but stare at all the hands and all the jumping persons. This happens to me everytime I see the concert from the stands (at the floor I jump and dance at that moment), but the magic doesn't go away. Neither does the sudden urge to dance during Mysterious Ways. At the end of With Or Without You I had the impression that Bono could not reach those high Woo Hoo Hoo's (which are different from the Elevation WOOHOO's if some have this question). And still, for me that song may go on and on and on, so it ended too abruptly for my senses. Another song I didn't want to end was Walk On. As it was the last song of the concert I realised my Elevation experience had come to an end. But what an end it was. Everything fell in its right place during that song. The sound, the hallelujahs, the projection on the audience (both the lyrics as the suitcase image) and, not to forget, the positive vibe Walk On has. This was truly an elevated experience and a worthy ending of my tour. At the very moment only memories remain, but this is something nobody can take away from me. I won't leave this behind.

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