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"I don't know if we've made a great record or not, but it is our record. It's us standing there naked, if you will." — Edge, on All That You Can't Leave Behind

by Tim P

Having not seen U2 in person since the Joshua Tree tour, I had very high expectations going into the concert. I was determined to get as close as possible to the stage. I was able to get a GA ticket and showed up at the Erwin Center at 7 AM. There were already 100 people in line before me. I really enjoyed the time waiting in line. The Erwin Center security was very pleasant, informative and organized. We were able to move in and out of line for bathroom and food breaks and to get out of the hot sun. The people around me in line were great. There were many stories of previous U2 concerts and everyone was sharing food, drink, and reading material.

At about 4 PM, security placed a wristband on everyone in the GA line, to prevent any line cutting later in the day. U2 showed up at the venue at around 5 PM via a police escort. The band members walked around a little, shaking hands, signing autographs and posing for pictures. We were let into the Erwin Center at around 6:30 PM. Security was guarding the entry so that there was no mad rush for the doors. They also used a narrow barricade system to keep everyone in a single file mode. I was able to get a great place inside of the Heart, about 5 rows back from the stage, right in front of Bono.

No Doubt opened the concert right at 7:30 PM. They quickly won over those in the Heart that hadn’t seen or heard of the band. Gwen and the boys put on a great show, playing all of their hit songs, along with two songs from their upcoming album, “Rock Steady”. “Hey Baby” sounds like their next hit. Everyone was cracking up over the drummer, Adrian Young, only wearing an adult diaper on stage.

U2 came out at around 8:50 PM after the playing of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper. It is an understatement to say that everyone was fired up as they broke into “Elevation”. I appreciated the basic approach of this tour, with the minimal use of stage sets and lighting. Having not been to a U2 show in almost 14 years, the highlight for me was the string of “New Year’s Day”, “I Will Follow”, and “Sunday Bloody Sunday”. During “I Will Follow”, Bono’s face showed a passion that reminded me of what it must have been like for them in their early years, trying to sell the audience on their songs and their message.

Other highlights for me included “Kite”, which Bono said he now thinks his dad wrote for him, “Beautiful Day”, “Bad/40”, acoustic “Wild Honey”, “Where The Streets Have No Name”, and “Pride”.

The encore started with “Bullet the Blue Sky”, with Bono pulling out the spotlight and shining it throughout the crowd. Emotions were high during “One” and “Walk On”, with many people in the Heart visibly crying. Before the end of “Walk On/Hallelujah”, Bono asked for the house lights to be brought up. It was a stirring moment to see everyone singing along with the band as the concert ended.

Overall, the concert greatly exceeded my expectations. It was such a long day, but as the concert was winding down, I didn’t want it to end. U2 have been musical heroes of mine ever since I got the “War” album in 1983. Finally seeing them up close in concert, I found myself not in awe of them, but I had more of a feeling of comfort and contentment, like seeing a bunch of old friends after a long time apart.

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