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"We can write songs about God and have them right next to songs about girls. I think we weave God, sex and politics together in a way that's very unusual to white music." — Bono

by todd

U2 Fleet Center Boston June 6, 2001

Even in their weakest moments I have stuck by U2. The huge over done stage, the lemon, the MacFisto era. All great at the time but I was refreshed to hear a scaled down tour was in the works.

Scaled down for U2 means just bringing the music to a smaller arena. The lights, energy and extravaganza were all still there.

Night 2 in Boston came after Bono did a commencement speech at Harvard. Suddenly a kid from Ireland gets to speak to one of the most prestigious schools in the world and then hours later satisfy 18,000+ to over 2 hours of elation.

The stage was your standard rock stage on one end of the arena. Off the stage and into the audience was a heart. Think if you were on the ceiling looking down the wide part of the heart would be closest to the stage and the curves go out into the audience to provide a catwalk. Inside the heart 300 fans are allowed to be as up/close as they desire. The rest of the floor was also general admission so there were lots of methods to bring the band closer to the fans. I settled into my general admission area about 20 feet off the tip of the heart. It would turn out to be a very wise choice.

Before the show Carter Alan expresses thanks from the band. Their are over 20 cameras on hand to tape an HBO special and the band realizes it may be bothersome but they thank you for your patience. It was going to be a magical evening..and then..it was........

Appearing on stage in the street clothes you'd somewhat expect, the lights were still up, as the band ripped into Elevation, the lead off track from the Grammy Award winning cd "All that You Can't Leave Behind". The lights up the fans jumping up and down with elation. About 1/2 way through the the lights go down and the band just plugs on. Beautiful Day comes next with not much more than a wink and a nod from Bono. Facing the stage you have the Edge to the left decked out in a red #7 football jersey and what seems to be his trade mark wool cap. Larry in the middle and Adam to the right, perhaps the smoothest bad ass in all or rock and roll.

Until the End of the World and Mysterious Ways continue the set.. Sexual Healing and In My Life are parts of each song with the latter being the lead into "Stuck in a Moment". Bono mentioned that Tuesday was just a warm up and to not tell anyone. Before "Kite" Bono mentions that in Albany he had one of his worst "vocal nights" but the fans really helped him and it turned out to be a magical evening. "Kite" is the most demanding thing the band has done in a long time (we are talking Bad circa 85') but Bono never flawed. It was tight. "Gone" from "POP" was next. Granted people don't like this record but there are some gems and "Gone" is one of them. "New York" has the line "The Irish have been coming here for years" and like St. Patrick's day..suddenly EVERYONE is Irish. A huge roar ensues. New York is a great song..but just its name puts the band at odds with fans in Boston.

Bono and Edge meet at the tip of the heart and do "In A Little While" and explain this was the last song Joey Ramone heard on his death bed and that it's "OVERWHELMING" to think this is the last thing someone hears. As the song comes to a close Bono does the band intros. Edge is the "scientist" Larry is the Bodyguard and Adam is the "man of mystery". They all meet at the tip of the stage for a super scaled down "Desire". Hints of "Gloria" (by THEM, no not the U2 song) were strewn in and out. Adam and Larry then shuffle off the stage leaving the Edge and Bono to do "Stay" at least that is what you'd expect. Instead a "Yankees Suck" chant started. When did this crap start? End it..stupid and they kick the sox's ass every year. Bono noted that the fans were doing a "b-side chant" and that they do everything they can to make sure songs are "not b-sides". He asks "who here plays guitar" and 18,000 people are all suddenly guitar players. A lucky fella is pulled up and the band does a version of Curtis Mayfields "People Get Ready". Bono changes the words as he is clueless as to how they go. Loads of references to Boston and the area. The crowd eats it up and our super fan gets back into the audience. Bono then says "this song is about addiction" and "Bad" is played. Still one of, if not the best U2 songs committed to tape. Towards the end Bono tosses in lines from "wild horses" and the song ends with him repeating "how long to sing this song" from the closing track on "War" called "40". Fans were elated..to sing that song one more time. We then cut live to the NBA Halftime for a rousing version of "Where the Streets Have no Name". Bono runs around the stage, and would have done it cameras or not. A pretty much standard version of Pride ends the main set.

The band comes out for Bullet the Blue Sky after a screen w/Charlton Heston speaking about how "guns can be good in the right peoples hands". A awe inspiring version. I have heard this song so many times live and its the one where Bono was famous for saying "am i buggin ya..don't mean to bug ya", no bugging ensued. With or Without You, again pretty much a dead on version with no gimmicks was done. "The Fly" just rocks. The song was and is strong but the band takes it to a new level. Bono towards the end runs around and around the heart and then jumps into the audience and runs off into a hidden exit. What a way to end..but it wasn't the end. Over the P.A. Bonos voice with Gotta Go Gotta Go is repeated over and over.

The band returns for "One". Bono thanks opener "PJ Harvey" and thanked the fans for spending their hard earned money on them". "One" is one of those songs were when its great, its really great. This was one of those nights. I used to dislike this song but when the band hits a great stride. For the first time that I notice Bono does his preaching. He comments on human rights at this point. It may have added to the intensity of the song. They band ends the song with a tease of "Wake Up Dead Man" which is a real treat.

"Walk On" ends the show on a very high note. The lights during this are spectacular. I won't ruin if for those who have yet to go. Thank you's and bows..they had done it again, they had re-confirmed why I loved them so much, and why I have loved them.

The band was very tight. Bono's voice had been reported to be weaker at this point of the tour. One can nitpick and comment on each and everything but for over 2 hours the band had 18,000+ on cloud nine, myself included. Was the ticket price worth it? Absolutely.

DAT in hand and captured forever...

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