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I have a female assistant that would like to sit on Larry's drum stool. A male one, too. -- Bruce Springsteen, at U2's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction


by Henry Wagner

This was my first concert experience outside of North America, and my first general admission stadium show. By now it was around 4:00, and the entire stadium was full, 95,000 people. I read that Morumbi was the second largest football stadium in the world, the Maracana in Rio being the largest, this was going to be an insane show. Since it was so hot the security gave out small cups of water to keep the audience from passing out of dehydration. Thank you! The problem of what to do with all the empty cups was quickly solved be some creative fans who stacked hundreds of them together in twenty foot towers and hoisted them into the air. The audience would roar their support as each new section went up. Eventually they grew too long to be held up so people began a horizontal chain, more than 100 feet long. It stretch from stage left, past the b stage, and over toward the sound booth. Fans in the upper deck joined in by throwing their cups down onto the field, it looked like rain. After many rounds of the wave, football chants, and twirling shirts it was time for the opening bands. Both bands sang in Portuguese but we really got into it. Normally in the US the opening bands would barely be acknowledged on stage, but here everyone was on their feet, jumping up and down, singing along. The stadium was shaking and U2 was still hours away. One of the bands had a DJ onstage who started spinning the drum beat to Sunday Bloody Sunday. The whole stadium joined in with the "Oh, oh, oh" part, then began screaming "U2! U2! U2!" I felt a rush of adrenaline that is normally reserved for the best moments of a U2 show, if this keeps up tonight will be the greatest show ever.

As the crew got the stage ready the crowd slowly moved closer to the stage. Our area wasn't too bad, but some of the people along the rail in the main section of the field were getting pulled out due to the crush. Some even carried out. As 9:30 approached The Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony" started. Here we go!

When the band hit the stage the crush started in our area too. During the first few songs I struggled to keep my spot and shoot pictures. I still couldn't get to the rail and everyone had their hands up, so much for that idea. In the end I shot less than a roll of film, decided to enjoy the show instead. The show itself was great, U2 were rockin' and the audience was so loud. During "I Will Follow" everyone was jumping up and down in unison, it made the cameras shake, and the images on the screen shake! Tonight's show was broadcast by MTV Brazil so that might explain why U2 stuck to their regular set list. I was a little disappointed at not hearing any of the songs they were rumored to be adding for the South American tour.

By the end of Streets I couldn't take it anymore, the heat was unbearable, and I couldn't see a thing, so off to the safety of the stands I went. Just getting off the field took most of Lemon and Discotheque, people were packed in everywhere. I swear, every inch of the field was covered by people, shoulder to shoulder. During Velvet Dress I worked my way along the first level to the back of the stadium for a great view. Hearing the audience sing along during With or Without You was incredible, even during the break between choruses they kept singing "Oh, oh, oh, oh!"

As the show neared the end I was hoping for something special to close the show, and we got it. As One ended Edge broke into 40. At the Seattle show 40 blew me away, and left me in tears, but tonight I was so exhausted, and dehydrated that all I could do was quietly sing along. Bono seemed to forget the lyrics again, and Edge extended the song by continuing to play the guitar as they walked off stage and down the ramp. My first South America show had come to an end, somehow I'd given all my energy early on and now needed a long shower, and lots of sleep.

It took a while for all of us to meet up so I watched the fans slowly make their way out. The entire field was covered in a layer of plastic cups, I'm sure glad I don't have to clean that mess up!

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