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I'm in the music business, the volume business. Making a lot of noise is something musicians do well. -- Bono




by Corinne

U2 elevate the millennium and ablaze Bercy

The first show in Paris Bercy on July 17th, 2001 is before all the story of a communion

When we arrived in Bercy it was 10 past 8 and people were already queuing, some of them even spent the night before sleeping on the ground. We joined the queue thinking to ourselves, well everything is just going to be fine for its a beautiful sunny day.

There was this girl checking the queue and as she saw it growing, she started to mark everyone on the back of the hand, soon I realized I was number 80 and that surprised me for I didnt notice at first how many we already were there.

They let us leave and come back to the line easily for quite everyone, but the Italians, was disciplined maybe this has all to do with their burning temper.

By 10:30 AM, people kept on arriving and the count down to the heart had already stopped for the access was for only 300 lucky ones so most of the new comers were kind of disappointed but happy to be there and meet new fans or see again some old acquaintances.


And then, by noon, the Good Lord went suddenly mad at us and over flood us with all the water from Heaven for more than 6 long hours. Then, the wind came by too as if we upset the elements of Mother Nature we were freezing and all shaken by cold and rain but we never gave up we kept in mind we were there to see the 4 paddies on stage that was the moment weve been dreaming for months since the first kick off the tour last March in Fort Launderdale, Florida. that was it : the ELEVATION 2001 Tour !

By 6 :30 PM, the staff from Bercy just checked everyone ticket and especially the FNAC ones for they discovered fake tickets. Few minutes later, they opened the gate and that was the exact time the line up became totally wild everyone from the back was pushing and I dont know how I got there for my feet did no longer touch the ground the crowd carried me away to the entrance where I was stopped luckily by a security guard. He checked my ticket and we all run down to the heart and before I realized it I was seating in the heart, left side, close to the EDGE.

I just couldnt believe it this was too much, really too good to be true, I just kept on repeating on the verge of hysteria I just dont believe it Im in the heart, I turned to one of my friend who was seating there too very cool as if it was the usual thing and told him : Boss I am in the heart can u believe it ? . He looked at me and had a smile on the corner at his lips and he says quietly Yeah, I know just like that !

No way ! he couldnt know no one can know that before experiencing it at least once in his/her life ! Thats why I say U2 elevate the millennium. Many of you have already been to a U2 concert but for many of us just like me it was the very first U2 gig something to remember till the end of the days. You know Ive been following the 4 paddies since their beginnings and I really loved them but I became a real fan last year when I met on the web my friend Sam from Down Under whos been a fan since forever, he gave me back my faith in U2, only few months before ATYCLB was released and without him I think I would have never experienced such a moment.

The heart is something you cant describe, you have to be in it to feel it beating you know like in the song Two hearts beat as one and then only you can try to understand or express how it feels.

Lets start from the beginning lets say to Stereophonics, the audience kind of sulked, well done boys ! Can you believe I who cant stand them usually, I kind of appreciated them. They really did their best : the singer pulled all his heart out and the guitars exploded but the audience remained so cold. It was kind of unfair but there is no much you can do about that . The singer couldnt help saying, you are a very quiet audience.
My fav. ones were their first two songs and especially the one called Have a nice day. Sorry guys, maybe tomorrow night.

A short pause and I starred at the venue kind of really surprised for the show was supposed to be sold out and the venue is half empty. Dallas, Sam and his technicians friends are now on the stage and they test the instruments, Dallas just walk on the catwalk to check the sound of the guitar when EDGE is going to play there, he smiled to some familiar faces in the crowd outside the heart.

The cranes with all the seats for light controls went up and down et every technician takes his position. I look at this kind of ballet fascinated : how cool it should be to fly over there and watch the venue, the band and the audience like God in heaven !

The heart observed it more or less intrigued and started to get impatient, I looked up at the arena once again and breathless I see the venue full packed ! The crowd stated to chant U2 ! U2 ! and the heart felt like this was the ideal moment to warm up the all venue.
From every single inch of the heart rams just raised up and down to perform a hola they turned to each side of the venue inviting people to mimic them and for 10 minutes the whole venue followed elegantly, amazingly like a huge wave reaching the shore and going back on its way it brought some flags from all around the venue : there an Irish one here, one from the French Brittany here, Scotland such an atmosphere u would have never dreamed of in your wildest fantasy !

The first notes of Sergeant Pepper Lonely Club Heart's band started to fill the venue and the whole arena started to roll like thunder for we all knew this was it
I cant really remember who was the first, was it Larry ? Adam ? all I remember is that expression like bliss on their face when they took the stage of the house with all the lights on !
Under a white blinded light standing there, few steps away from me, was the biggest rock band in the world and it was only the beginning.

EDGE arrived very relaxed, so cool, so Zen, but you could see he was kind of really moved kind of funny the way he arrived like you know, I was just passing by, I saw the light so I thought I should stop by and see what was going on ! he looked all around the venue giving it one of his piercing green look, then he watched at the blue mark on the stage and went straight to it as he took his guitar and the first notes of Elevation exploded into the influx remix (my favorite one kind of Ravi Shankar intro so Woodstock !!!) and Bono rambled onto the stage followed as one on the lyrics of Elevation by the crowd !

In the heart the madness has reached the top, every single people in it sang and jumped all over, no more able of keeping inside all this so long kept energy during these long hours of wait under an unfair rain.
It was incredible, grand you could feel the vibes of the arena as if it were a giant heart beating to the same rhythm and then I thought, this must be it, then its gonna slow down.

Once Elevation was finished, Edge swapped his guitar and we didnt have enough time to breath again the show went on 100 miles speed ! the fever kept on elevating Bercy so then I thought, This is it this is the time now and suddenly I gave up, and I realized I could never tell when this was it for it was so amazing, incredible higher and higher TOTALLY UNREAL !!! Magical, powerful, hallucinating no word strong enough to give back this feeling , beyond the words, beyond the reason !

The whole arena follows Bono in an incredible sing along and in his visual madness.
U2 charged Until the end of the world and again the crowd is in trance, he run to the catwalk like THE MATADOR I read so much about lately in the reviews while I translated them for Abel and I starred at him breathless, only a meter above us, on the catwalk he pretends he is a bull charging the EDGE, fake horns he mimics with his fingers, the EDGE answered by assaults of his guitar as the riffs elevated its fantastic, fabulous, magical this is U2 like never before with a perfect tandem Bono, the singer and THE GUITARIST, the EDGE We were crashed against the barriers because everyone wanted to see the two sacred monsters.

Bono played the charmer, he smiled all the time and attacked more and more the guitarist, so phlegmatic, so Zen, so focused on his play like this was normal routine to him, the finals notes of Until the end of the world were dying when Bono, lying on the runaway, kicked to the EDGEs guitar to try to kill it !

Theres a huge clamor coming from the audience with the end of the song and I thought Whats next ? ;

And that was when, at this exact moment, I realized the fascination U2 has on his French audience. Let me tell you something, while we were waiting outside and met and talked to many fans and we were very close in this kind of adversity and really I couldnt tell who was an old or a new fan (well, u can kind of guess if u have a teen before you but the others, really you couldnt ) and when the first notes of New Years Day started and the arena was rolling his satisfaction, I understood this was not important at all I understood U2 was a kind of grand masse, an instant of communion, an hallucinating one, one I thought I would have never been able to live and take part in ! Once again, it was TWO HEARTS BEATING AS ONE : the band and the crowd becoming ONE for the whole show.

Bono was so incredible, when he took the stage, I was so close I could read all the tiredness on his face and as the show went on I looked at him, fascinated, and as Elevation stopped and during the whole gig I saw him transfigured by the show, with us, suddenly this tiredness he might have stocked because of this exhausting tour when he and the guys pulled their heart and guts out to entertain the audience all this seemed to have flown away at the exact time the first notes elevated to the roof of the venue.

All this to tell you, that not a single minute he or the guys slowed down the audience from Bercy just followed as one from the heart to the highest seat up there that makes me say the story about being an old or a new fan doesnt matter at all, I really mean it I was breathless when I heard everyone in the arena singing in one voice all these anthems I cherish and make U2 what they are these oldies "New year's day", "I will follow", "Sunday ...", "Gone", "Streets", "Desire", "Bullet" and the same happening with the new ones, ones you can first think well not so bad but whats next !

This is "Kite", Ive been loving since the first time I heard it and which the other fans from Abel have always made fun a t me, not to say they were laughing out loud when I was stating I loved this song and I surely do know what the EDGE meant when he said some of the songs of this album may not sound like great songs for they are not really studio songs and you can do something interesting with them live !!! like they were made to be sung live KITE was really something just like Walk on (which by the way is my fav. from this album) its kind of weird how songs who can first seem to be very slow can unleash the crowd and the musicians I am quite positive about that the exploding guitars and the killing riffs from the EDGEs one have a lot to do with it.
NEW YORK is so just a song made for live : the perfection (Ive never liked that one on the album but Ive always loved it live since I heard it from the Irving Plaza concert yeah I know what you think I can hear you guys sacrilEDGE !!! (sacrilege !)

Well, I think I have to stop now if I want to leave some space for the others and not do this for each song of the set list (silly me !!!).

What I loved the most :

- even if I knew all the set lists because we had them on line on the website, I really appreciated not to know before in advance the set list : the music and the happiness you get from the first notes of each intro is something you cant compare to anything what lift you up and elevate you at the same time U2 becomes one with the audience in his sing along;
- the band so happy smiling from the beginning of the show till the last second and EDGE smiling, his sparkling eyes and winking at the crowd so often pure happiness GRAND MADNESS as Bono said in 1997;
- Its very difficult to pick one song rather than another but what really took me to Heaven was Sreets with all the blinding lights of the house on and U2 vibrating with the whole arena whose vibrations seemed to go straight to the heart not only the red one they play on but also the real one of each one in the venue it was fascinating, Grand, something you cant describe !
- The 4 paddies on the catwalk and Bono said , Im gonna ask Larry Mullen Jr to join the EDGE and myself (just when they finished In a little while Bono dedicated to Joe Ramone) and Adam is gonna join us to and then Desire wow nothing compares to this and when you think its over Have a look at Larry, hes giving Bono one of his cheeky look which meant Come on lets do it one more time and of we went in an explosion of guitars and drums and the crowd singing like one voice the chorus Let me tell you something mister Mullen, Larry, you know what Desire is yours, the only one you hear and feel like hearing is Larry can you believe you do not even pay attention to the other instruments all you focus on is Larrys drums his play EXCELLENT ! LETHAL ! well done Jr !
- Bono didnt speak a lot for 2 h 15 (wow !!!) but he gave us a really nice speech where he thanked France for the generosity she showed . He thanked Jack Lang and the prime minister Lionel Jospin, who by the way were there. France cancelled the debt the third world countries from Africa owned her in its integrality. Few figures about the deaths by HIV in Africa Jubilee 2000 he said all this in French and it was a very moving interlude, a short one, he seemed so shy like he was embarrassed to interrupt something to talk about these important issues. Again, the crowd answered by an a thunder of applauses;
- He said his uncle was in the arena before starting the show and reminded us how found of Paris he was He said how he remembered Elyses Montmartre 20 years back (that was when I yelled Two hearts ! but as I was kind of far at this time I guess he didnt hear me I think this was the song who could have described better than anything else the atmosphere of the show !);
- He has his two daughters on stage with him for Mysterious ways I think he was so happy he wanted to share that feeling with them but they were really impressed and he finally let them go My friends and I were with Bono and the EDGEs children in the heart there were really nice !
- Bono had a girl coming up on the catwalk with him to dance, I cant remember for what song but I do recall he picked her from the left tip of the outside of the heart !
- He took an Irish flag someone in the heart held him, he put it on the floor of the catwalk and step ceremoniously on it, it was very intense, on the verge of crying, you could feel all his faith and what it meant to him and he said Its a prayer before stepping cautiously on it ;
- He talked several times to the Scottish who were there but I couldnt hear what he said;
- The fly, Bono was unleashed and man ! Willie you are so great ! I have to tell you : What you did with the lights, the screens, the psychedelic videos this is GRAND mister Williams ! and Bono smashing against the video screen pretending he is a smashed fly UNBELIEVABLE !!!
- walk on Thank you Willie for this amazing idea of using the crowd as a huge screen with the case and the heart and the lyrics from Walk on on it too leave it behind !!! absolutely fabulous .

To be in the heart is amazing for you see the show from all the spots , you can easily move from : one side to the other one and during new years Day I noticed everyone has followed Bono to the catwalk so I run to bottom of the stage and took so many pix of the EDGE. Being in the heart is something and there is no really better place inside all the spots are great to me at last for I experienced all of them !

Ooooops, I almost forgot I won numro 7 the EDGE as Bono said (EDGE WORE the red seven with sequins !!!).


The magic came from the music, the lights, the band, the audience, the atmosphere everything turned this evening into the concert of the millennium !
Come on guys just come back to ablaze the heart of Bercy, I promise, you wont regret it !!!

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