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"I don't think audiences can be expected to go to football stadiums for concerts if they are not going to see something that is very spectacular as well as hearing something great." — Paul McGuiness



by Daniel Raymond

Saturday 1:51am

The ringing in my ears still has not stopped almost 3 full hours after last night's Elevation Tour stop in Phoenix.

I went in knowing there was a good chance two of my favorite songs from the 1st leg (Mysterious Ways & The Fly) would not be played. I came out very happy because I was able to hear my favorite song from the 3rd leg (Out Of Control) and a pleasant surprise (In God's Country).

Arriving at 9a and ending up 140th in line put an initial downer on things - but I was very proud of my fellow U2 fans and local security for making the day a special one.

As usual, security was kept in the dark regarding GA wristbands and entrance times (that was to be expected). Once 545p came around, the GA line entered the wristband and security checkpoint without incident.

I was able to get a very nice spot on the outside of the heart...10-12 feet from the tip and had a great time the entire show.

The first key indicator of the night was how would 'Elevation' end. In April, Bono ended the song with a few lines from 'In God's Country'. That was not done last night - but he did find a place for it at the end of 'Beautiful Day' as he made his way to the tip of the heart.

It was so great to finally hear 'Out Of Control' in person - this song definately fits right in with the whole Arena concert feeling.

'Kite' was dedicated to Michael Hutchence, who died four years ago yesterday. Those who went to the 11.21.97 New Orleans PopMart show may have gone back to their hotel rooms that night to hear the terrible news (that was how I first heard).

It took 2 seconds for me to register that Edge was playing an acoustic intro to 'In God's Country'. It was a slower version of the song and Bono had to read the words left for him at the tip of the heart - but he did a great job.

For all the talk about how much Bono loves this city and that city - I think people need to start putting Phoenix near the top of that list. It goes beyond how many shows this city gets versus that city. Arizona does not get as many shows as the big four (Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York) - although the Phoenix metro area is a big enough market to deserve multiple performances. But each time U2 plays here, Bono makes a point to reference the state and it's natural beauty - and that is something most other parts of this country lack.

By this time tomorrow we're all going to know about the girl who played a wonderful version of 'I Shall Be Released' (Dylan) with Bono and The Edge. It goes back to the SLC show - she had a sign referencing the Utah concert...Bono definately remembered her. U2 security pulled her up and strapped a guitar around her, Edge whispered some words into her ear and they started the tune. She began a bit too fast (she was definately nervous), but Bono told her to take a deep breath and motioned with his hand for her slow down a notch. Bono mentioned something about trust and how they had trust in her playing the song. About halfway through the song, Larry and Adam joined in - it was very special. Once someone can ID the girl (along with an e-mail address), please post it as many places as possible - I was one of a number of people with pictures and we'll make sure they all get to her.

A well done version of 'Please' followed. I can't judge from previous concerts because I was not there - but this version (with both Edge on guitar, and Bono singing) seemed flawless.

Because the opening notes to 'Bad' did not immediately play over the PA, I knew that 'All I Want Is You' (another song I was not able to hear during the first leg) was going to be next. I am glad they made the switch from 'Bad' for everyone in Phoenix.

Unfortunately I only had one exposure left as 'Where The Streets Have No Name' began - a song that is definately worth a half dozen snapshots (from the screen rising to the flood lights to the people in the upper row of the upper deck dancing and clapping). It would have been nice to see Bono run around the heart with the American flag as he did in Los Angeles, but tonight was not the night.

One of the things that I am so proud of is the way Bono reacts to children. It is one thing to say it's because he's a father, but you could probably count on two fingers the number of other celebrities (music, movies, television) who include children the way Bono does. We have all seen, heard, and read the other examples of how Bono will bring someone up on stage or make them a part of the moment. Last night was no exception - during 'Sunday Bloody Sunday', he took an American flag from a child and held it for quite a long time. The little kid was on someone's shoulders and kept giving Bono the open and closed hand wave. After Bono was done with the flag, he made sure to return it to who gave it to him.

During 'One', he motioned for security to bring up 2 kids (Boy/Girl, possibly Brother/sister) on stage. Security sat them down right next to the microphone and they just stayed there and waved to someone up in front (parents possibly). It appeared that at one point one of the children gave the two-fingered peace sign. Towards the end of the song, Bono was able to give his pic to the older child and have him/her strum the guitar a few times before taking the pic back and finishing the song.

Speaking with the people around me before the show started - I said there were two things I thought would be cool from the band:

1 - To have brought Rudy up in New York
2 - To get the World Series trophy up in Phoenix.

As we all know (1) didn't happen - but before the 'Walk On' finished, Bono says "I want to thank my friend Randy Johnson". From the lower stage entrance behind Adam Clayton comes the 6'10" World Series Co-MVP Randy Johnson holding the 2001 World Series trophy. As a Yankee fan, it killed me to see that (and it was not un-noticed by those around me), but as someone who saw the bigger picture, it was great to see. Randy didn't look very happy (because he never does) - but he walked back and forth on the stage and Bono seemed to nudge him to Edges side of the catwalk. From there, Randy made the slow walk around the heart holding the trophy. The crowd loved it, so it was kinda hard for me not to.

Once he made it back to the main stage, he started to head back down the ramp, but it looked as though Adam stopped him. Johnson went to the front of the stage where Bono was and stood next to him: 6'10" compared to Bono (very funny). Bono stood on something to even out the height and smiled a bit (even he noticed the difference).

It's 230a and the ringing has stopped a bit - unfortunately.

El Pueblo Vencera

-dan

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