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"I just think people loving each other is a kind of miracle. And I think it's against all odds and I think everything in the world conspires against that." — Bono



by Nelrock

Let's be honest - Monday night's crowd was dead - there was no energy in the room whatsoever. After two great shows in Miami to open the tour, I couldn't wait for U2 to make a triumphant three-night return to Southern California. Then the crowd turned flat in the Pond on night one. I was worried about night two, but Tues night became a completely different affair. Starting at 8:45, the crowd's intensity started to spill over and there was a significantly different energy brewing amongst the audience. The band walked out minutes later and the Pond erupted. One could tell that the band felt the warmth as Bono picked up the mic and started addressing the crowd prior to "Elevation", which was punctuated by the simultaneous shouts of "Soul!" by both Bono and 16,000 fans. No one seems to be catching the quick cover of Radiohead's "Creep" in the middle of the song. The familiar bull/matador routine (or is it Devil repelled by guitar??)between Bono & Edge during "Until the End of the World" is turning into great theater. Although this song is not a fan favorite (like the subsequent "New Year's Day"), this is clearly a song where the band can let loose, particularly the Edge. His guitar work in this song is phenomenal. "Gone" and "Even Better Than The Real Thing" were not on the setlist on Monday night and the latter was a key selection to revving up the flow of the show. The crowd sing-a-longs during "Sweetest Thing" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" were notably louder and more passionate than the previous evening. I've heard a few grumblings about the insert of "Could You Be Loved" and "Get Up, Stand Up" as tags on "SBS" making such a serious song less so - but I disagree completely. I feel the theme of these two Marley classics fit perfectly in the song. Love & strength are absolutely wrapped up within the confines of defiance. "In A Little While" - the album's best track - was an emotional lead-in to the crowd's biggest sing-a-long of the evening, "Angel of Harlem", which really raised the roof off the arena. It's really amazing considering it's just Bono & Edge with an acoustic guitar. The evening's climax had to be "Bad" into "40" into "Where the Streets Have No Name". This is the perfect combination of greatest hits that allowed the crowd to relive it's youth. Bono extended 40 several times as the crowd became louder and louder (note Monday's 40 fell apart after two attempts). "Streets" turned on the house lights and Bono's training for a track & field career took off (is there anything funnier than watching him huff & puff around the catwalk??). The five encore songs (plus a little snippet of Bono doing Johnny Cash's "I Walk The Line") put a terrific capper to U2's best show in Southern California since the Zoo TV shows at the Sports Arena in April 1992. What a band! What a night! Can this be topped Thurs night??? Keep your fingers crossed.

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