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His last performances showcase a voice even bigger than his gut, where you cry real tears as the music messiah sings his tired heart out, turning casino into temple. -- Bono, in a tribute to Elvis Presley, 2004



by Lee White

This show was not as enjoyable to me as the Zoo TV show I saw in Tampa in 1992. I'll start with why I was somewhat disappointed with this show, then I'll mention some of the positives about it.

The crowd at this show was quiet, on top of the fact that it was very small (only 15,000 to 20,000, I'd say). This seemed to affect the performance of the band. Bono tried his best to get the crowd involved, but for the most part, it didn't work. After a while, the band seemed to be racing toward the end of the show. It didn't help that the rain which fell before the show, and then again toward the middle, became heavier just as they were beginning their encore. (It was kind of cool looking seeing the water spray off of the drums and cymbals during "Discotheque", though.) Also, the sound was muddy at times, particularly Bono's vocals when the band was on the main stage.

There was a distraction which, in my opinion, affected the end of the show. After "Mysterious Ways", Bono was walking from the B stage to the main stage when he came upon a security guard fighting with a fan. Bono intervened, talked to the fan, and then invited him to sit on stage. Nice so far. Then the band went into "One". This was one of the few songs the the crowd really seemed to be getting into. The fan, who seemed quite drunk, sat there for a while and they got up and started dancing about. Still not so bad yet. Then the fan started edging closer and closer to the band. Adam, who was closest to him, seemed to be watching him constantly out of one eye. Finally the fan walked over between Adam and Larry and started dancing. Bono noticed him at this point and had him come to the front of the stage and start dancing. This is about the point that the song ended. Bono seemed to urge the band to keep playing, but no one did. A sad distraction to what should have been a moving moment.

On the positive side, the big screen is truly amazing. Before the show started, when the house lights were up, I thought, "Well, that doesn't look that impressive." But after the show started, I thought, "Damn!" It must be seen to be believed.

When the band emerged from the giant lemon to begin their encore, each of the members was wearing a Jacksonville Jaguars jersey. (The local professional football team, for those unfamiliar.) Each of them was number U2, and each had their name on the back. This was a very nice touch that the fans seemed to appreciate. Bono gave his jersey to the girl that he pulled on stage to dance with during "If You Wear That Velvet Dress". Larry threw his to a fan, I believe.

All in all, a very good show, but not great. A great show requires the crowd to push the band up to that top level, and this crowd did not do it, sad to say.

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