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"Let's just say he's on the border between something and nothing." — Bono, on Edge's nickname

by Andrea Westcot

I saw U2 back in '92 at Camp Randall, and drove all the way from Cleveland to see them there this time. Believe me, it was worth it. When I saw ZooTV, my tickets were horrible (my nose is still bleeding) -- but this time, I was right up front. Which leads to a very different experience. Both ZooTV and Popmart are huge, technically insane shows. I would even venture to say that this is a show you don't want to be up front for -- you miss a lot of the effect of the screen. But that was made up by that fact that I could see the whole band right up close -- no more than 10 feet away when they approached the stage at the beginning of the show! This way, I could see how much the guys really communicate with each other as they play -- for example, even as Bono is shimmying all over stage and hamming it up, he's got his eye on the Edge the whole time. At no point do these guys just go on automatic pilot -- they were thinking and connecting and working the whole time. It's a good thing that some of the highest-paid, famous performers in the world -- the ones who can afford to just be lazy & fake it -- still put their all into their music. It's still new, it still breaks musical boundaries, it still has heart. Being up close, I could see -- just in how they worked together--how great this band really is.

Gotta disagree with the reviewers who say that "Staring at the Sun" and "If God..." were no good live. Those were some of my favorite points in the show. They proved that a U2 show is at once larger than life and also intimate and beautiful. It's the variety of U2 (the old versus the new, the quiet versus the mind-blowing) that makes them great.

I was thrilled that they played "Please" -- in my opinion, far and away the best track on Pop. Other tracks from Pop were excellent -- surprisingly, Pop plays very well live. I had wondered how they would reproduce the billion layers of sound in some of the more techno-based tracks. It makes sense that they didn't try to reproduce the sound, but instead cut it down, minimalized it (especially in "Velvet Dress" and "Staring").

Up till now, ZooTV has been the best concert experience of my life. I can't yet rate Pop in comparison to ZooTV. Better? Worse? Even better than the real thing? I've got to let it sink in first.

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