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"We love this idea, especially in rock 'n' roll, of good guys and bad guys. We're the good guys; they that wear the suits are the bad guys. But in fact they're just the busy guys." — Bono



by Arlin

Fourth Elevation show for me so far, and the
one I'll probably remember the longest.

Last night had a poignancy and urgency to
the show that I hadn't anticipated. The
showmanship has been turned down a bit, and
all the "reclaiming the greatest band" and
"introducing the band" stuff is gone,
replaced by even truer, more honest, heartfelt passion. For U2, that's saying
a lot.

So many of U2's songs have martial aspects,
and with last month's events these songs all
take on a new relevancy. It seems like U2's
ironic aspects have been put to bed, at least
for a little while, and been replaced by
faith.

Some of the new songs - Kite in particular -
seem to just continue to deepen and grow.
Kite now comes from the perspective of Bono's
father singing to him, which seems even more
personal, somehow.

One amazing aspect is how subtle some of the
artistic points are, you don't even notice
them go by until they trigger the subconsious.

Example: In New York, they don't lower all
of the screens now at the start, just the
three in back. The screens, which I just
then understood, were supposed to stand for
the skyscrapers of NY. Part way through,
two, only two of the potential four, additional screens lower for the rest of the
song. Obviously these were supposed to be
the WTC towers. Then at the end of the
song those "towers", instead of falling, rise
up to the heavens. Absolutely stunning.

And, with just a simple exchange of the
Arabic intro for the old gospel intro, BTBS
immediately transforms into a site report
from the hills of Afghanistan, where Bono
can still "see those fighter planes". One
of the amazing things about U2 songs is how
they can reshape their meanings over time,
and how it triggers within you without having
to be told.

"This song is about, well you know what this
song is about..." tells you every thing you
need to know about Please. What a great song,
even if it was a little unsure of itself
compared to the show-stopping splendor of
the Pop tour. I expect it will only get more
powerful as they get more comfortable with it.

A couple of other points I didn't see in the
other posts:

In a lot of other hands, all of Bono's
pro-USA patriotism would seem like just
sucking up to a crowd. But as "showy" as it
is, it still seems legit. Bono always took
a lot of crap in the 80s for "lecturing" the
USA, I hope he doesn't get a lot of crap now
for "kissing up to the USA".

The part where he cradled the American flag
during New Year's Day while singing "I will
begin again" just brought gasps to the people
around me, and as he laid it gently back
into the audience people around me started
to cry.

And, the part at the end where he took
off his jacket revealing the flag sewn
inside and slowly walked back to the stage
was a great touch, but then at the end
when they put the jacket on its own mike
stand and left the darkened stage with a
single spotlight on the flag gave me goose
bumps.

I also hadn't realized how poignant seeing
the names of the passenger lists scrolling
by during One would affect me. So many
people of so many ethnicities, all with
sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, sons,
daughters. Such a waste.

I was glad to see the positive audience
response when Bono quoted the Koran, and
I continue to be amazed at the audience
response during the "Hallelujah" chorus
part at the end. It's amazing to see at a
secular show - something I haven't seen from
another secular band since, well, U2 closing
their shows with '40' back in the day.

If there is a Heaven, and I hope there is,
I expect it'll be something like this.

This was a good one.

-Arlin

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