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"I didn't get into a rock-and- roll band to become a celebrity. I like the fact that I'm known for the music that we produce, because in the end that's what I'm interested in." — Edge





by Dean Flynn

BACKGROUND
Well after finding out on the Friday prior to the show that I'd won a pair
of tickets on U2.com, I had to convince my brother to come (NOT HARD!) and
book cheap flights from Shannon, Ireland, to London & accommodation in London (thank God for Ryanair.com (the LOW FARES
website) and the Stuart Hotel, Kensington). Got a return flight for IR£9.00
which was cool. Yes, £9, that's not a typo.

Anyway, we arrived at Stansted, went to our hotel and then burned over to
the Astoria to collect our tickets at 12. Then we were told we weren't
getting tickets, but I (as the competition winner of the pair of us) was
given a yellow wristband - one of those unremovable ones). It was kinda
cool - U2 Elevate the Astoria was printed on it next to the "Stuck In A
Moment" icon. I guess this was to avoid the selling of tickets to touts.
Good idea, effective too as far as I could tell (although I can't imagine
anyone selling tickets - not even for the £600 we were offered for a pair).

Then we went away for the afternoon, came back at 7.15. Queued up for about
20 or 30 minutes, then into the venue...


DJ JON CARTER

I had never heard of this bloke and feared he would be playing loads of the
trancy/dancy music that I hate so much. To his credit, he played some great
tunes, it was a good warmup, although the crowd was clearly restless for U2
to start. He got a great cheer for "The Boys are Back In Town". brian (my
brother) and I were busy getting some Captain Morgan down our necks...

Then the guitar techie guys walked offstage to the beginning of the Kinks'
"Waterloo Sunset"...

U2 BABY!

Larry was first onstage. Big cheers. We were down in the crowd now, and
straight away the Kinks faded, Adam & Edge walked on, followed by Bonoman...

UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD
I couldn't believe they opened with this song. One of my best mates (second
in line for a ticket if Brian couldn't come) loves this tune, it's his
favourite, he would have loved it... sorry Donal!!! Anyways it was
fantastic. Sounded great, Bono's voice sounded brilliant. The only thing
missing was Bono's guitar! Remember at Popmart, the whole Bono vs Edge duel
thing they did with this song? With Bono swing his red guitar over his
head? Well they didn't do it here, Bono just sang. (but I'm not
complaining).

BEAUTIFUL DAY
BD sounded cool, just like the Farmclub live version on the Stuck single.
Crowd loved it, we really started bouncing on this tune. I swear I caught
Bono's eye when I started to belt out "the goal is soul" - I don't think
anyone else was doing it!

ELEVATION
This was the same as the NY Irving Plaza performance, with the little "And
I'm A Creep" bit thrown in and the segue into "Stepping Stone" which sounded
kind of cool. After the song Bono said hello and mentioned all the "friends
(they've) met along the way". Then he said that the next song was for a
friend they'd lost. No prizes for guessing he was talking about Michael
Hutchence.

STUCK IN A MOMENT (YOU CAN'T GET OUT OF)
This song gets better and better. The crowd absolutely loved it, we all
sang along, it was great. But the same as the other performances to date.

GONE
Gone was fantastic, just like Popmart minus the "Not coming down" intro.
Sounded perfect, these boys are in top form.

DISCOTHEQUE
This one surprised me actually, for some reason I didn't think we'd see it
again after Popmart. It sounded better than Popmart, more polished, more
like the band had their arrangement sorted out. The crowd went nuts when
the Edge's great riff kicked in (as they should). I think this song sounded
kind of disjointed at Popmart - and (for once) I didn't like the segueing
from Discotheque into different songs and then back into Discotheque at
Popmart. No such problems here, though, and the crowd loved it. It DID
segue into another song, though, right at the end - it was Staring...

STARING AT THE SUN.
The band quietened down after Discotheque, and (although there was some
noise - maybe light Edge strumming, or possible Adam's bass) this was
basically Bono singing unaccompanied. Well, unaccompanied by the other 3 -
the crowd sag along with him of course, and the atmosphere for this song was
really something. Bono then (I think - may have been later though) did a
little speech about how "We're here because we are re-applying for the
job... you know what the job is... actually there are a few people here
tonight who could lay claim to the job, too... ON THEIR NIGHT (grinning,
possibly at the watching Gallagher brothers?). This is OUR night, and the
job is BEST BAND IN THE WORLD." The crowd predictably went absolutely
crazy. Rightly so! They are the best band in the world!

NEW YORK
Sounded just like the Farmclub version on the Stuck CD, mid-wife-crisis and
all (with a wink to Ali above - at least I'm almost sure it was her I saw -
about 4 rows back and slightly stage-right of centre, on the balcony???).

11 O'CLOCK TICK-TOCK
Bono started talking before this tune, another "family discussion". He then
went on to introduce the band, one by one without ever saying their names!
he just point and said "he" and "him" while Edge was lightly playing the
riff a few times in the background. The girl behind me was yelling "With or
without you" as I countered with "11 O'Clock Tick Tock"... he said Larry
is too good looking to ever sing in this band, and that he never stopped
reminding them how he gave them their first job. Adam was described as
having "the biggest... bass guitar... in the band" while Edge is apparently
a "Zen Presbyterian" who gets "sexually aroused by Dana"!!! Anyone who was
at Popmart Night 1 in Dublin will have gotten a kick out of that. (Edge's
karaoke on that night [30 August 97] was a verison of "All Kinds of
Everything" by Eurovision song contest winner and
then-Irish-presidential-nominee, Dana Rosemary Scallion. Bono then said
they were going to play their first ever Island Records single, and they
proceeded to do so. It was great. Just like in New York. Get the MP3 if
you don't have it (of the NY show if this one doesn't appear).

I WILL FOLLOW
I was hoping we didn't get this song... it was cool at the time and all, but
I got a bit sick of it after hearing it on countless Popmart boots. I
rediscovered it here, though! It sounded great, the crowd loved it, one o
the highlights of the show.

DESIRE
This was NOT the "Bono solo" I saw it described as somewhere today, although
it was close enough. Edge was VERY LIGHTLY playing the chords as Bono sang
it, and the rhythm section joined in half-way through, just like in NY.
Interesting, but too "chilled out" for me - I like a rocking version of
Desire with LOUD guitar, and this wasn't it. Still cool, though.

THE GROUND BENEATH HER FEET
Bono mentioned Salman Rushdie before this song - he was up in the balcony
with the other celebs looking down at us mere mortals! That got a biig
cheer, a couple of guys in front of me started chanting "Salman,
Salmaaaaan...". Then straight into the usual Bono & Edge acoustic version
of this song. Sounded very nice, although I'd love to hear a full version
live, the album version is one of my favourite songs.

MYSTERIOUS WAYS
This is a rocking song. Sounded great. Bono murmured something about his
"Baby, having a baby" again, like he did in NY, but this time it was in the
middle of the song, not at the start.

ONE
Well, we all know how great a song this is, and this was no exception.
While I was expecting the "Walk On" segue, a la the NY gig, we were given
something very different indeed... At the end of the song, instead of "Walk
On", Bono broke into Craig David's "I'm walking away, from all the troubles
in my life, I'm walking away...". Now, for those who haven't realised it
yet, Walking Away is a blatant rip-off of One, but with different lyrics.
It fit perfectly, and it was hilarious! Then he went BACK into "One" and
"Hear me coming love, hear me call, hear me scratching love, ooh you make me
crawl" live verse. At the end, after One was finished, Bono sang a line of
"Walking Away" again, with a twinkle in his eye, just for anyone who missed
it the first time! Possible the best performance of "One" I've heard, I
HAVE to track down an MP3!

UNCHAINED MELODY
This sounded great, Bono always sings this song really well, it's
well-suited to his voice. The crowd all sang along.

ALL I WANT IS YOU
Bono's guitar-techie/helper-guy/whatever-you-call-him screwed up here. He
came onstage to take Bono's "One" guitar, but forgot to bring the new guitar
Bono wanted for this song. The band had started already, so Bono started
singing as the poor guy ran off to find a guitar. When he returned, geeter
in hand, Bono skipped a verse as he was putting it on (no matter, the crowd
sang it for him). Then when he strummed his first chord on the new guitar,
I guess it was not tuned properly because he had to adjust it. He looked at
his techie, with an I-am-very-pissed-off expression on his face, and
gestured for the guy to go away (he stuck up his thumb and pointed over his
shoulder to the backstage). then back to the (still in progress) song. All
this couldn't take from the song, though, it happened very quickly, and the
band sounded great anyway. It's my favourite song, and was the highlight of
the night for me. At the "all I want is YOUUUUUUUU" part, the whole crowd
absolutely drowned out Bono and the rest of the band. It was really cool,
the atmosphere was electric. Like I said, my fave song, and it was closely
followed by my second favourite:

BAD
This was great. I was trying to see if Bono screwed up his lines, but for
once I don't think he did! (Except MAYBE for the isolation, dislocation
etc... bit, but who can ever remember the correct order there? not me!).
Segued into Ruby Tuesday. I have read today that they also segued into
Sympathy for the Devil, but this is not accurate. The CROWD sang "Pleased
to meet you, hope you guessed my name" but Bono actually repeated "Goodbye
Ruby Tuesday..." at this point. At least that's my recollection. Anyway it
was brilliant.

Thank-you goodnight, exit stage left. The crowd piped up with 40, and the
boys duly walked back onstage. We continued with 40. When I saw Adam pick
up the guitar, and Edge go for Adam's bass, I couldn't believe it. We were
all still singing "How long, to sing this song" when the Bono looked at Edge
and said something to the effect of "Yeah, yeah, I can sing it..."

40
What a show closer. Bono hadn't a bull's notion of the words to the chorus.
He appeared VERY nervous, like I've never seen him before, and mumbled
through all the verses. But the crowd loved it, and the choruses nearly
brought the roof down. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

---

Best show I've ever been to. I didn't think anything could top Popmart in
Dublin, but this show left me numb. it was amazing, I feel privileged to
have been there.

--

Afterwards, as I was walking around the dancefloor, I saw this dude who
looked really familiar. "hang on a sec, I've seen him onstage before..." I
looked at the crowd he was with, and sure enough it was the American band
Semisonic, who I saw in concert in Maryland about two-and-a-half years ago.
They're a great band, they had hits over here with Closing Time and Secret
Smile in 1999? Anyway, I went up to talk to them, they are in the UK & IRL
touring with Texas (which I knew, unfortunately I can't make the show in the
point on the 16th). I wished them well with their new single, Chemistry,
and got them to sign my map of the Astoria as a gift to a friend of mine.
She lives in Maryland and turned me on to Semisonic when I was over there a
few years ago. Also took me to their concert with Matchbox Twenty at
Merriweather Post Pavillion. And her dream bloke is the lead singer Dan
Wilson, apparently, or so she kept telling me! Thank-you Lauren. So anyway
it was cool to meet them, they seemed pretty down to earth.

okay, that's all folks. Don't miss the Elevation Tour, you'll regret it if
you do! Roll on the 25th of August.

--Dean Flynn, Cratloe, Co. Clare, Ireland.

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