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"I'm not on this trip as a tourist, and if I thought that this was just show business from the White House, then I'd be out of that plane." — Bono, on his 2002 trip to Africa with U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill



by Steve Hendricks

This show at the Delta Center was a first for me in many ways. This is the fifth time I've seen U2, going back to Zoo TV, but it is also the first time that I have seen the band two times on the same tour. The first was the Friday show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. I have to say that, there is a different feeling to seeing a show just a month after the last time. If you're like me (and if you are like me, U2 is your favorite band) there is an intense rush of excitement when the band first comes out, because it's been about 4 years since you've last seen them. This time, as excited as I was, I knew what was coming for the most part. That doesn't diminish the greatness of the performance, however. I was pleased with the additions of "I will follow", "Until the end of the world", and a hyper funkified "Mysterious Ways" to the set list, along with their usual bevy of standouts (the holy quadrilogy from "The Joshua Tree", "Pride", "Sunday Bloody Sunday", and "One").

Bono once said that the art of performing was making staged acts seem spontaneous, and for the first time, I experienced that first hand. They did a great job of making the performance unique for Salt Lake, giving thanks to Orrin Hatch for helping them by getting the ball rolling for drop the debt, something they also did during the Elevation tour. The energy from the audience was great, and the stage, for being seemingly stripped down, is in my opinion, one of their greatest, possibly second only to Zoo TV.

For the first time ever on a U2 tour, I felt a couple of things. First, it was apparent that either Bono was showing the wear from a long tour or he had a slight cold, because there were several times during the night that his voice was cracking. This brings me to the second, and possibly sadder observation, for the first time ever, I felt like the band was pacing itself just a bit. Every once in a while, I wondered if this show had the same energy as past performances. But, as an aside to that, I say, my gosh, they are four years older, and yet, they are still far and away better than anyone else on the planet. I don't know what other band can pull everyone together from late middle-agers to high schoolers and get them to sing, 25,000 voices as one.

The greatness of U2, in many ways can be summed up for me in this short anecdote. If you know anything about the Salt Lake area, you know that there is a heavy LDS or Mormon population. Bono played to that, making fun of his love of "salty" language, and having picked it up from his late father. In Bono's short story leading up to "Sometimes you can't make it", he edited his story, substituting funny noises for the F bomb, and later saying S@#$ and then quickly correcting himself by saying "stuff". Knowing the audience like that, and playing to that, and I dare say going beyond that by caring about that audience, is what makes this band so special. I was in a nose bleed seat as far away as you can get from the stage, and yet I still felt as connected with the band as the first time I saw them. Their greatness cannot be quantified, and this show further cemented their place as the greatest rock band of this generation, distractions or not.

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