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Why is it that we want our idols to die on a cross of their own making, and if they don't, we want our money back? But you know, Elvis ate America before America ate him.-- Bono, tribute to Elvis Presley, 2004

Bono MVP (That's the Most Valuable Player At the Super Bowl)

The Mirror
U2 stood tall among America's heroes when they thrilled fans at the Super Bowl with a star-spangled performance, proving to the crowd it was indeed a Beautiful Day.

As former President George Bush Sr. looked on, Bono and the band staged one of their most emotional performances ever to a nostalgic backdrop of stars and stripes, watched by 800 million viewers across the globe.

Surrounded by Secret Service men and police escorts, Bono walked through the crowd and leapt on to the stage as he burst into song, belting out the group's anthem "Beautiful Day." Fans, who paid up to $10,000 for a ticket to Sunday night's event, chanted "USA! USA!" as Bono got the crowd going. As he dashed around a heart-shaped stage which took up most of the 100-yard pitch in the Louisiana Superdome, 4,000 fans waved luminous red glow sticks to give the arena an American feel.

As part of the touching finale a 200 ft. screen scrolled the names of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks as Bono sang "Where the Streets Have No Name."

Many fans watched in tears as thousands of names rolled across the giant screen while Bono sang his heart out in memory of those who died.

Entertainment's biggest stars looked on as Bono, 40, opened his jacket to reveal it was lined with a star-spangled banner. He screamed to the crowd: "This is for you America!"

The spectacular performance was the fourth most watched show in television history.

After the performance Bono said he had been touched by the atmosphere at the biggest sporting event in the U.S.

He told the Irish Mirror: "You can tell it meant something to the fans out there. We just wanted to do our bit for the country. We didn't want to make it tacky -- we had to find the right balance of paying tribute to the victims and looking forward to the future.

"Everybody in the world watches the Super Bowl so to be part of it was a massive honour because we realise how much it means to the country. In a way the pressure was on because you are responsible for giving a morale-boost to the entire nation but I think we handled it OK."

U2's performance was screened to American troops in Afghanistan. Bono added: "When they told us that, it was all the motivation we needed to go out there and give it everything. They are the real heroes and everybody here appreciates what they are doing."

The match was surrounded by a massive security operation with fans going through scanners and a no-fly zone imposed for 25 miles around the city.

Music's biggest names rolled out to get a taste of the action. Before the game, Mariah Carey performed a superb rendition of the national anthem.

Veteran rockers Paul McCartney and Barry Manilow headlined the pre-game show which included 4,000 dancers and an array of magnificent effects and tributes to the American armed forces.

It was Mariah's first major performance since she suffered a rumoured breakdown.

But she looked fit, slim and healthy as she enjoyed the ultimate honour of performing the pre-game anthem.

She said: "I loved every second of it. It was always a dream of mine to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl.

"There's so much love around and I think America really needed this game to show that we can move beyond what happened on September 11."

The 31-year-old star confessed she was wiping away the tears during U2's half-time performance.

She added: "I'm a massive fan and what they did out there was quite unbelievable. Everybody in the crowd was mesmerised and when the screen started showing the names of the victims I think everybody, including myself, was wiping away the tears. It was a beautiful moment and I think there's no doubt U2 were the only band who could do something like that.

"I felt good and I'm hungry to start performing again, but tonight wasn't about individual goals it was about coming together as a country."



© The Irish Mirror, 2002. All rights reserved.