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"The word suggests his shape, his vibe. There was a hearing-aid shop, Bonovox of O'Connell Street. I thought he looked like the place." — Guggi, on the origins of Bono's name



U2 / Einsturzende Neubauten

by Ernst Mehlich

It's a day of great contrasts, full of sunshine and a very special birthday boy.

While 50,000 stream into the massive football stadium to experience the start of the 'Zooropa 93' spectacle, the backstage area is still dominated by slepy silence. At least Paul McGuiness, Larry, Adam and The Edge enjoy the intimate small talk behind the monstrous stage set.

They seem to be exuberant and amused by the Neubauten team appearing desolate. They, having flown in from Seattle to support five shows in Holland, France, Spain and Portugal, at the express wish of the headliners, are not only jet-lagged but upset. Part of their equipment has not survived the flight. Blixa and Co wander barefoot through the gigantic catacombs looking lost. In other words they are getting hassles from the security guys.

But the situation changes as soon as the five guys from Berlin confront the surprised audience with amazing sounds and provocative slogans. As a result they are bombarded with missiles. The fans are furious and the musicians angry and this means an early finish for Neubauten.

But even U2 do not enjoy a much better tsart. After an hour of embarrassment from the DJ sounds of hip hop and dance, Bono and co get lost in the mishmash of an oversized stage covered in ariels, TV screens and Trabant cars. It looks like a miniature Cape Canaveral.

The band presents virtually the same set as last year's Zoo TV show, but the emphasis lies within the new material from 'Achtung Baby'.

Descending dusk not only changes the atmosphere but even the songs. The rather super cool attitude of the band begins to fade. Bono gives some entertaining anecdotes and the leather clad star in the sunglasses turns into the human performer that we know and love.

The set included 'New Year's Day', 'Party Girl' and 'I Will Follow'. The band keeps the surprises coming with an acoustic version of 'Satellite Of Love' by Lou Reed and the unforgettable 'Sunday Bloody Sunday'. Next they play 'Bullet The Blue Sky', 'Running To Stand Still' and 'Pride'.

But after the set there is a change of mood. Bono appears in the costume of a camp Mephistopeles and plays the part of an ageing schizophrenic rock star and orders a ticket at Schipol Airport with an amplified telephone. DOn't ask why.

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