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Rock 'n' roll is a term that's been heavily abused. It's not something you can buy in a record shop. It's an attitude. -- Adam


by Richard Johnson

The band entered with the houselights on, and launched into Elevation. They cleverly choreographed the dimming of the lights with a pause in the song, and Edge striking the choked-strings of his guitar. Beautiful Day was dramatic and anthemic, with nicely timed light-blasts to match the soaring chorus, though Im not wild about the song. Until the End of the World was perhaps the highlight, with Bono and Edge ending the song in a duel out on the heart-shaped catwalk. New Years Day was vintage, and Stuck in a Moment featured a great falsetto ending by Edge. Prior to Stuck in the Middle, Bono saluted the crowd by saying how nice it was to be back in Texas, and that the band had many friends in Houston. He then dedicated the song to Michael Hutchence, a friend they lost along the way. Gone was warmly received, and Discotheque received roars when it transitioned into Sexual Healing and the Staring at the Sun. New York received a much stronger reception than I had anticipated. Several screens lowered around the stage, and during the song there were interesting images and shadows cast upon them. The chiming intro of I Will Follow brought the house down, and then the crowd went berserk with the opening snare of a slowed down Sunday Bloody Sunday, which featured a heavy bass and transitioned nicely into Marleys Get Up, Stand Up. The Sweetest Thing was well applauded, as was the simple In a Little While. The Ground Beneath Her Feet was an interesting addition, and might have perhaps been better if Edge was plugged-in. Bono remarked that it was from the Million Dollar Hotel soundtrack, which had sold like 17 copies. Then they launched into Bad, which was intimate, emotional, and very powerful. Where the Streets Have No Name lifted the crowd to a frenzied pitch, and Mysterious Ways brought everyone into a funky vibe. Bono rested on a monitor which featured the outline of a dancing woman. Finally, they ended the set with a re-worked dub version of The Fly. What a perfect way to end the set, with the lyrics Look out, gotta go, yeah Im runnin out of change, theres a lot of things, if I could Id rearrange The encore featured a howling Bullet the Blue Sky, prefaced by an anti-NRA media blitz, and a warm With or Without You. Then Bono persuaded someone in a luxury box to throw down their Irish flag, which they did reluctantly. Bono remarked the rock singer always gets what he wants. He spoke about how he used to be ashamed of the flag, but in the last few years, he has become very proud of it, thanks to the peace process. The band then segued into the mega-hit One. Finally, they closed the show with Walk On, and received loud ovations as they left the stage.

Now that the band are back in arenas, Bono is able to enchant the crowd with his familiar touches, like pulling fans onstage. He did this several times during the night. In one instance, a man was crowd-surfing, and Bono locked-in on him and motioned for the crowd to carry him to the stage. About 30 seconds later, he made it to the edge of the heart catwalk, and he was lifted to the stage, where Bono gave him a big hug. Bono also brought a woman onstage during Bad, and held her tightly while Edge chimed away during his solo. Moments like these helped to bring the band and crowd together.

Great crowd, great performance by U2 - what a night!

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