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I'm happy to be unhappy. I'll always be a bit restless, I suppose. -- Bono

U2 wows crowd

- September 14, 1992

by Samara Kalk

If U2s Bono had been Rev. Sun Myung Moon Sunday night at Camp Randall Stadium, he could have gotten his audience to follow him anywhere.

Excuse the religious cliche, but U2 transformed the stadium into the Church of Bono.

It was rock n roll in excess, video in excess, lights in excess, and definitely Bono in excess. But the crowd swallowed it whole and by the end of the night -- drained though it was -- thirsted for more.

In a two-hour show, the band pounded out more than 20 songs, the majority (nine) from its most recent album, Achtung Baby (1991).

Rattle and Hum (88) and Joshua Tree (87), U2s previous releases, were also represented with four songs apiece.

The emphasis of newer material didnt rattle the audience much, since most were high school and college students. They probably were relatively wealthy ones, since tickets went for close to $35 each (some unfortunate scalpers were forced to lower prices to $10 by showtime).

Thankfully, U2 worked in its golden oldies, Sunday Bloody Sunday and New Years Day, both from 1983s War. These U.S. -- whoops, thats U2 -- anthems had the crowd revved up and the bleacher benches shaking. Most fans stood for the entire show -- singing, clapping, swaying or any combination thereof.

The high-tech show was an much visual as it was audio. In fact, it was such a barrage to the sense that at times it become overwhelming, almost gluttonous.

Nothing written or said about the Zoo TV Outside Broadcast Tour adequately prepared fans for the enormity of the spectacle.

Stage gimmicks included eight German-made Trabant autos. The brightly painted cars with their beaming headlights were suspended and moved about from cranes. Ten stories of speakers were rivaled by four large video screens, 36 colored monitor and six towers topped with red aircraft warning lights.

To combat the sterility of so much technology, Bono waded into the audience throughout the show, with and without the band. This helped make the stadium show audience-friendly.

Though Bono played up his rock star image in a glitzy black patent leather pants suit and dark sunglasses, he seemed genuine and accessible as he moved up and down the stages walkway.

Stealing right out of Bruce Springsteens 1986 stadium show, Bono halfway through the concert pulled a young woman on the walkway. After letting her stand in awe of him he gave her the microphone as he got on his knees and crooned Try to Throw Your Arms around the World. While onstage, she filmed the band with one of the many cameras used to send images to the screens. Together they slow danced and sprayed champagne on the crowd.

During another Achtung ballad, Love Is Blindness, Bono chose a second audience member for a slow dance. He also sang part of the song with his eyes closed (how adorable).

Bono even serenaded the full moon when he performed With or Without You.

The first use of the runway came during the fourth song, Mysterious Ways, when a belly dancer in red flowing skirt and midriff top emerged, seemingly out of nowhere. Her dancing images were projected on the screens as well.

After the bands opening songs, Zoo Station and The Fly, cables Home Shopping Network was clicked on and off.

An interesting use of the screens came in the Lou Reed cover, Satellite of Love, which had Reed (via video) join Bono in a duet of sorts.

After Bono belted out Pride (In the Name of Love), the only song from The Unforgettable Fire, Martin Luther King Jr. flashed on the screens to pronounce that we as a people will get to the promised land.

Between encore songs, Desire and Ultraviolet (Light My Way), Bono placed a call to the White House. When told that President Bush was unavailable, he asked the operator, Hes not available to the people of Wisconsin?

When operator asked who was calling, he told her Elvis, and left the message: Im alive, hes dead.

The final encore had Bono doing Elvis dreamy I Cant Help Falling in Love. During the cover Boon showed the durability of his voice, hitting some extremely high notes.

For the most part (big surprise), U2 proved to be a one-man show with lead guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen providing unfaltering accompaniment.

Opening the show, Big Audio Dynamite II played an unremarkable 35-minute set. Formed by ex-Clash guitarist Mick Jones, the band came on promptly at 7, when it was still light outside and the stadium was only half filled.

BAD II was all but ignored as U2 fans filed in and talked among themselves. Near the end of its six-song set, which included I Just Cant Wait Any Longer and EMC2, the band inappropriately exclaimed House music all night long and Ill house you.

What BAD IIs disjointed rock had to do with danceable house music is still a mystery.

In between acts, messages rang from the speakers, many urging young people to vote. Two electronic scoreboards ran messages also, one announcing that Anthony Perkins, who starred in Psycho, died Saturday of AIDS complications.

Public Enemy played an equally long set for a full house that was on its feet.

Lead rapped Chuck D introduced the group as the profits of rage and quickly dispelled rumors that PE was breaking up or that DJ Terminator X was going solo.

Someone hooded in a Ku Klux Klan get-up appeared briefly onstage before and after PEs performance. Later in the set, Chuck D proclaimed, We gotta get rid of that KKK mother------, you all agree? To which the audience gave a resounding cheer.

Favorites Cant Truss It and By the Time I Get to Arizona were unintelligible at times even for those who knew the words.

In fact, the whole set was marred by unclear sound and too much bass.

Older songs Dont Believe the Hype and Fight the Power were less troublesome.

However, the most important aspect of PEs show came through loud and clear. That is its message of peace, understanding and racial unity.

And as Chuck Ds sidekick singer Flavor Flav would second it, Yeah, BO-YYY!

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