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by Michael S.

As a fan of U2 for almost 20 years, I've become a near "fanatic" of the band. I've seen the ZooTV Outside Broadcast, PoPMart, and Elevation (twice!) Tours. I've seen U2 all over the country, from Illinois to Florida.

I gotta say, I was pretty distressed to read all the review on this 'site that seemed to insist that "...something is missing." And "They weren't 'on.'". I've seen the aforementioned tours, and NEVER thought that U2 "didn't care" or that their "hearts weren't in it." I found it hard to believe that this was true of the Vertigo Tour.

Well, I thought, if nothing else, if these reports are true, hopefully this show would be a turning point of sorts for the band and the tour. Guess what?

This show WAS quite possibly the TURNING POINT OF THE TOUR.

I'd kept abreast of the setlists, what to expect from this website. What a surprise when "Vertigo" was the opening song! Wow. The energy of the crowd was AMAZING. The chasing stage lights, the bands be-boppin' to the beat, the crowd jumping...the crowd yelling "Uno..dos...tres...catorce!" with him, and the "Hola!" in the chorus...it was an electric way to start the night.

"[The band] 'didn't have it'"? "Something's missing" ?

Not a chance.

If that was the case in earlier Vertigo tour stops, it's a shame; the energy was THERE the entire night.

The momentum just continued from there. All Because of You, Elevation, Gloria...wow. What a setlist changeup...and a shocker! The band was active, even Larry Mullen Jr. seemed to have an extra emphatic beat going that night.

What you may have read in other reviews of this tour was/is true; Bono doesn't "race" around the ellipse at all. At least on this night, he was out there frequently; and doing his thing, kicking, mini-dancing, and interacting with the crowd.

Sorry, other U2 fans; for me, Bono not racing around the ellipse doesn't equal an "off night" or a "lack of energy" from him or the band.

I firmly believe that the last night in Chicago was a turning point for the band and tour; the boys were ON, and did not disappoint me. And I was worried!

Sometimes You Cant Make It on Your Own came & went without Bono speaking, but the song was powerful; no explanation was necessary. The crowd sang vehemently along with Bono...it was truly inspiring.

The stage set up throughout was truly amazing; the beads of light that periodically fell from the high truss, the chasing stage floor lights, the hanging lamps...all wonderfully done and pulled off professionally.

City of Blinding Lights was excellent; the crowd didn't seem totally into it from my vantage point...but I *loved* that song live. The confetti and lights just made it memorable to me, if nothing else.

Running to Stand Still was an excellent rendition; I will agree with one poster on this 'site, in saying that while this new version was great, I too prefer the ZooTV arrangement. That said, the song was dedicated to the U.S. troops fighting in Iraq; reading the lyric sheet, it's not clear how this song applies (as my own interpretation is that the song is about heroin addiction), but I'm glad Bono dedicated a song to our men & women overseas.

Original of the Species was a nice addition; just Edge on piano for this one, no guitars. The song sounded great; Bonos apology, saying that weve only played this song a few times, were gonna try it again tonight wasnt necessary. The band nailed it.

Speaking of The Edge, I don't know if anyone else kept an eye on him during this show; he was amazing. I don't know if I've ever seen him more demonstrative than on this final night in Chicago. I actually saw a faint "I'm-loving-this"-type smile on him at least twice! He was moving around a lot on stage with his ax, and seemed to be TOTALLY "into it."

Same deal with Adam Clayton; he went out on the ellipse once or twice, and really seemed to be having a ball.

Once again, the addition of these few new songs for the first time on the Vertigo Tour not only shocked, but pleased me as well. Hearing one of my personal all-time fave U2 songs (With or Without You), and a GREAT live track (Until the End of the World) made the night all that much more special.

Also...about "Miracle Drug." I've read that the crowd at various other shows made that song a "bathroom break" or seemed disinterested.

Not so this night.

I could hear the crowd singing along in unison to this song. The Edge's guitar solo shone brightly amidst the light show on this song, and was actually a highlight of this show...and apparently not just for me. The crowd roared its approval at the beginning and end of this song.

Of course, the rest of the classics played well: One, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Pride (In the Name of Love), Gloria...all were greeted with a thunderous response.

As with any concerts, there were a few hopes/dreams that I personally had that did not come true There was no appearance of "Stay (Faraway, So Close)," or a track like "Ultraviolet (Light My Way) or "Walk On." In any event, this was an EXCELLENT concert.

Bono actually screwed up his own lyrics, and chuckled both times while/as it happened. On both Beautiful Day and One, he switched verses/stanzas with others at the wrong time, but recovered both times. He pulled a girl onstage late in the concert for a long embrace; my wife was jealous. He also allowed a man and a woman on stage, and they paraded a banner across half the ellipse which had the word Indifference with a circle around the word and a line through the word.

Larry playing tom drums/cymbals on the ellipse during LAPOE, and some other instrument(s) I couldn't make out during Yahweh...these were nice touches; to see him out from behind his drum kit. Our seats were behind the stage a bit to Bonos left, behind him (Section 330).

The Edge and Adam, as mentioned, also were quite energetic. Not necessarily energetic on the ellipse in the form of frequent trips around the circle, but in their own way & style instead.

The political outweighed the spiritual (save for the songs Yahweh, Until the End..., Where the Streets Have No Name, and 40) this time around in the "Bono speaks" department. Lots of discussion of the One.org campaign, and ridding the world of poverty throughout the middle section of the concert.

The overall experience was truly one to remember. The "Kings of Leon" and the lead singer's Axl Rose impression(s) did not impress; almost all of their songs contained the same guitar chords and progressions, unfortunately. But the main attraction did not disappoint.

Other downers: adults in their 40's and 50's smoking marijuana around my pregnant wife, and their flippant indifference throughout. Sad thing is, in the section I sat in, there was a really large contingent of "younger people" (high school & college ages). Yeah, real solid example these so-called adults were setting. If you want to do drugs for whatever reason, fine...just don't do it around me in public.

Thankfully, unlike almost every other U2 show I've been to, the childish and uncalled-for behavior from adults due to heavy drinking was held to a minimum for a change. This time, though, it was the illegal drug use that nearly ruined the show. I expected more from these U2 fans.

Lastly, U2 had us duped. The crowd was the extremely loud after the second encore; a few house lights came on (around the Exit signs), and Dallas Schoo (The Edge's guitar tech) came out and rearranged Edge's setup; the house music went dim, and we *thought* U2 would come back out for a THIRD encore.

Sadly, that didn't happen. What a tease, though!

So this final show of 4 in Chicago was arguably the best of the lot (especially after reading most reviews on this 'site of the first 3 Chicago shows); the loud, energetic, and into it crowd mustve rubbed off on U2, because they matched the buildings energy. This concert, in my opinion, could possibly be the best yet; not only in the Windy City, but possibly the tour.


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