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"'Elevation' came from a sound, that abrasive guitar: 'We've really got to do something with that.'" — Adam, 2002

by Brandon B.

My ears are no longer ringing, thank God. After watching PJ open for U2 in San Jose and Montreal this spring, it was a nice change to hear Gwen & Co. Don't get me wrong, I dig PJ, but Gwen is a marvel. I am amazed at the level of facial muscle control she has/it takes to affect that many pouty, saucy, sassy looks during a 45 minute set.

The highlights -- no pushing and shoving outside the heart (off to the left and toward the stage). Lots of U2 karaoke -- I was impressed that many fans knew the words to In God's Country (a favorite) and most other songs. Great energy from the crowd.

A little thick with the "yeah Phoenix!" references, and I still haven't quite sorted out the flag-cuddling bit, but Bono continues to know exactly how to push the buttons and tug on the heartstrings. I have to say that it sure feels like Bono is gearing up for a political campaign, or at least polishing up the base for his pseudo-statesman office. I appreciated his recognition of AZ's adoption of MLK Day -- remember he excoriated Phoenix back in the day for being the last state to vote to honor MLK in that way. In sum, he pushed the envelope, but never came off as corny.

It was surreal but great to see Bono and Randy (Johnson, 6' 10" pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who won the World Series -- America's baseball championship) together onstage after the final encore. "The Big Unit" doesn't smile often, so don't take it personally.

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