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

My first show of the tour started on the night of the 30th. We left Dubuque, IA at around 10:30 pm when my friend got off work. We proceeded to drive (through crappy weather) to Rochester, MN, where we spent the night in the glorious Cottage Inn (ah yes, vinyl furniture). We headed out of the hotel at around 8 am the next morning, and we arrived in Minneapolis around 9:30 am. When we arrived at the Target Center, we found that the line for GA was inside the building. We were very happy to find this out, since we feared that it would rain. We got right in line and estimated that there were already about 100 people there. When security finally came around to give us our wristbands we ended up being numbers 108 110. Let me just say that security at the Target Center did an INCREDIBLE job with GA ticket holders. Everyone got a number wristband when they arrived in line. You were required to stay in line, except for bathroom/food runs, but most people were pretty cool with people leaving for 20 30 minutes or so. Around 3:30 they told us to put all belongings back in our cars that we werent taking into the concert. At 4 pm, everyone was standing, and I thought it was odd that they were letting us down onto the floor so early. They let people in in groups of 50, and checked wristbands at the door. This was good, as we did have a few (although probably unintentional) line jumpers. This was a very fair way to do it. We ended up being in the third group let in. However, instead of being led down to the floor, we ended up being put in a small hallway. The head of security then came and talked to us and explained the rest of the procedure. We were then led into the bar/lounge in the Target Center to wait out the rest of out time. This was so cool, I have never had anything like this happen at a concert. It was so good to be able to sit somewhere other than a cement floor, to get a drink and just relax before the show. At around 6:15 pm, we were let down to the floor, 50 people at a time. The head of security said that 275 was the number they had for the heart, which seemed really low to me. Anyway, we finally got down to the heart! We staked out a spot on the left, near the tip on the inside. Most people were jammed up front, but thanks to my Interference friends I knew that Bono and the Edge tend to wander a lot. By the time 7:30 rolled around most people had spots on the outside rails. The heart felt really empty, there was a lot of room to move around, once U2 got on it was filled up though. Im not sure where the rest of the heart fans came from. PJ Harvey started right on time, but probably less than half of the arena was filled at this time. I enjoyed her set, but I was too anxious for U2 to pay much attention. I thought the crowd was pretty gracious to her though, she at least got some decent response from the heart fans.

Finally we heard the Stereo MCs Elevation come on the PA, and we all started jumping up and down in the heart. The rest of the arena all got out of their seats before the band was even on stage, it was very cool to watch. The entrance with the house lights on was so incredibly cool. It was so hard to believe they were so close. The heart crowd was totally awesome, we had a great time with them all evening. I know most of you know the different aspects of the show (eg. the bullfighting, band intros, etc.) so Ill try and just hit some highlights:

Set List:
Main Set: Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until the End of the World, New Year's Day, Kite, New York, I Will Follow, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Stuck In a Moment, In A Little While, Desire, Stay, Bad/40, Where the Streets Have No Name, Mysterious Ways, The Fly
Encore(s): Bullet the Blue Sky, With or Without You, Pride, One, Walk On/Hallelujah

Sound: I read one review that said the sound was muddy!? From the heart it was perfect! I have been to a lot of shows, and this concert had by far the best sound I have ever heard. Hats off to Joe! Not too loud, extremely clear vocals, I could even pick out the different parts of the drums (kick, toms, hi-hat, cymbals). Fantastic!

Bonos Voice: Somebody remind me why a lot of us (myself included) were worried about this? Incredible, bang on vocals all night long.

Elevation: The heart (and everyone else) was going crazy!

Beautiful Day: Bonos vocals were amazing in this song.

Until the End of the World/New Years Day: Bono and Edge finally came near us at his point. Still hard to believe we were so close.

Kite: WOW!

I Will Follow/Sunday Bloody Sunday: People have commented that these two songs were too slow. If they were I certainly didnt notice. Bono slipped references to Uncle Sams (now First Avenue) into the bridge of I Will Follow. He also sang something along the lines of Feels like the first time, feels like the last time. Its always cool to watch how the band follows Bono, extending and shortening parts of songs by his direction. An Irish flag was passed to him during Sunday Bloody Sunday, which he gently took and placed on the piano bench.

In a Little While: Bono and Edge performed this directly in front of us, I could have reached out and grabbed Edges shoes if I had wanted to. It was cool being where we were, my friends in the balcony said they could see us all night on the video screens, but during this song the spotlights were right in my face so they could see me perfectly.

Stay: Bono had his cheat sheet again, but only used it for the first half of the song. The crowd really got into this one at the end.

Bad/40: We kept the How long to sing this song going pretty well.

Streets: WOW!

Mysterious Ways: Bono went up into the GC seats on stage right, and of course the fans mobbed him. They wouldnt let him go, and this one guy kept him in a bearhug/headlock, prompting Bono to slap him. He may have said something to Bono, Im not sure. When Bono returned to the stage he bowed over at the area and apologized several times, and then said All right? All right, or something to that effect. So apparently the guy wasnt mad, but still an unfortunate incident.

The Fly: Someone in the front of the floor handed Bono a small orange nerf ball which he took and looked at with amusement during the intro to the song, before kicking it back into the crowd. Bono did run out through the main floor, and jumped up into the GC seats at the back before exiting the floor.

Bullet: Amazing guitar solo!

With or Without You: Instead of pulling a girl to dance, Bono took some guys cell phone, which probably had a wife or girlfriend on the other end, and held it right by his microphone while he sang.

Pride: Great audience sing along.

One/Walk On: Perfect closers for an amazing show.

We left right after the show was done, as we knew the band was leaving town. The weather was crappy again all the way home, so we rolled in at arounf 5:45 this morning. I hope this review makes sense since I am running on about two hours sleep.

All in all this was the best concert I have ever been too. Next week in Milwaukee I think I will try to be in the first row outside the heart. While I think my spot was one of the best inside, you do suffer from not knowing where to look sometimes. From the outside you can still be really close, but still be able to watch everything that is going on. All I can say is if you go to the show you will definitely find that the tour is appropriately named. Elevation indeed!

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