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We want people who aren't in our niche listening to our music. -- Bono

by Ahmadsquad


I called the Houston Ticketmaster number as soon as tickets went on sale. I got through at 10:03 a.m. My seat: Section A4, row 19, seat 19. Far back enough to see the screen, close enough to both the main stage and the B-stage. What's more, I was mere feet away from the catwalk that connected the two stages. God bless Ticketmaster.


The yellow arch: Kitsch? Yup. Weird? You betcha. But the curve of the arch is graceful, sleek, even sexy. The olive looked like a surreal radio tower -- like U2 wanted to beam out their music over the Texas plains, clear to El Paso and Houston. The colors of the set are bright and glowing. But the colors are also natural--colors you find in flowers.


Well before the show started, before Rage, I saw Paul McGuiness leading a group of press photographers around the pit that runs along the catwalk. He looked tired and overworked. He showed the press where they might want to take pictures. I tried not to stare at him as he strode past me, but our eyes met for an instant. I didn't want to gawk at him, much less scream, "Oh, my God, it's PAUL MCGUINNESS!!" I was saving my voice for the band. He just looked at me like a stranger in a supermarket.


Early in the show (I think it was after EBTTRT), Bono commented on the noisy crowd. "You know, the first time we played in Dallas, it was for a Wet T-shirt contest. Nothing's changed." The crowd was loud. At least I thought so. Then again, I was in the middle of the stadium. I was also screaming, shouting, and singing the whole show.


Bono started the third stanza of "Until the End of the World" with "In the garden I was playing the tart" instead of "In my dreams . . ." He mumbled the next two or three lines until the "Waves of regret" line. Bono also started singing "Staring at the Sun" way too low. He didn't realize it at first--neither Edge nor Adam played during the first few lines. But as soon as Bono strummed his guitar, he gave a little grimace. So he stretched the melody to the right key. Both of these mistakes were small, and didn't stop me from enjoying the songs.


"Please" is probably my favorite song on POP. So when they played it, I went nuts. As Larry teased me with the military beat of SDS, Bono marched onto the catwalk. He said something like "Do you love the place you live?" The audience roared. "Consider yourselves lucky." I looked across the catwalk, and I swear I saw my best friend from high school. I hadn't seen her in a long time. I didn't know she was going to the concert. She was holding the Irish tri-color, praying that Bono would see her with it. But Bono was on the B-stage by then, chanting "Please. . .please," as the band gently shifted into "Where the Streets Have No Name." He turned back to go to the main stage, and saw her with the flag. He reached out to get it. Such a gentle gesture for such a painful song. He put the flag in his pocket, and joined the rest of the band. I still don't know if it was Rachel that had the flag.


I had a good view of the band on the B-stage, even though I had to turn around. I could see Edge's fingering on the "Discotheque" riff, and got a good view of Adam and Larry. During "Velvet Dress," the lemon was a mirrorball, casting little beams of light all across the stadium. Bono kissed Adam on the cheek after "With or Without You."


Bono is singing "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." You never felt the full power of the song until now. On the radio, on the album, you could hear the longing, the searching, the restlessness, but it was theirs. Tonight, they're playing their song, but it's for _you_. It's your song as well -- your longing, your searching, your restlessness. You try your best to sing along, wiping the tears from your eyes. You sing-cry the chorus once, twice, three times. You're a few feet away from Bono on the B-stage, but you feel like he's a lot closer to you. Like the band's playing from inside your heart. Bono's holding the microphone out, inviting the crowd into his words, into their music. Then he glances back to the other guys on the main stage. He gives them a look as if to say, "Hang on, guys." He gracefully starts to sing, "When the night has come. . ." He doesn't want this feeling to end. Neither do you. As Bono slowly makes his way back to the main stage, you hear the person next to you call out. "Thank you, Bono." Then you call out. "God bless you, Bono." You can hardly believe you said it. But you meant it. You catch a glimpse of Bono's face. He looks 20 years old.

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