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"We're suspicious of doing what's expected of us." — Edge



by Popmartijn

After I'd seen yesterday's concert from the stands I wanted to be in front for this show. As the floor is very big in the Gelredome (17.000 persons) I wanted to have a good view and a good sound. Yesterday, the sound was OK in the stands, but not outstanding. The morning started with some drame. I had overslept myself! Yesterday's concert was apparently quite tiring in the end as even though I was in the stands I started jumping and dancing during Elevation and didn't stop until the end of Walk On. So, two hours later as I'd planned I arrived in Arnhem. Thankfully I was just in time as they closed the first section shortly after I arrived. The waiting went very well. The talking with fellow fans is always nice. Telling U2 stories, recalling memories of past concerts (especially the concert of yesterday) and other talk in general. It is a bit strange though, talking with some persons whose email address you know (have seen), but you've never met before. Anyway, as always, the waiting was not that long in the end, as it never is when you're finally inside. During the day I'd heard that in addition to the heart there is another closed section in the Gelredome. This section can hold about 2000 persons and starts on the outside of the heart and is about 5 meters long. This was a relief for me as I wouldn't have liked it to wait for 3 hours, standing and with no opportunity to get something to eat/drink or go to the toilet. And when the doors opened it turned out to be that I was too late for the heart, but I was in that other section. I even had a very good position, just outside the tip of the heart, a little bit to Edge's side. The support act came and went (and seemed to be even more horrible than yesterday) and not long after that... It still is amazing how a few oriental sounds can put a whole stadium in a stage of frenzy. I also felt the rush, as my fourth Elevation concert was starting! No matter how often I see it, the entrance of U2 is still amazing. House lights on, casually strolling on the stage, easily picking up the instruments and then WOOHOO and the whole venue explodes. Elevation was followed by Beautiful Day followed by Until The End Of The World. During the finale, Bono and Edge were right in front of me, doing their torreador-bull show. And when Bono lied down and started kicking Edge's guitar I clearly saw how a string broke as Bono assaulted the guitar. This feedback ending still gets me very excited and I never consider it to be noise coming from the guitar, just some great sounds. As I'd also seen the second show in Cologne, I didn't expect many differences with that set. Mysterious Ways was fourth and though I really like that song, I think it works better later in the set. Bono dedicated Kite to the father of the child he picked up yesterday during Bad and a very good rendition followed. Sadly, they did not play Gone. On the other hand, New York was great as Bono was again in front of us and the white screen doing his moves. Overall, I thought that Bono (and Edge) were quite often in front of us, which was very excited as we could see everything up close. My first real surprise came after New York as they started 11 O'Clock Tick Tock. As I'd never heard that song live before with me being there I went nuts. Even after 21 years, the song still sounds great. A song which is again reaching greatness is Sunday Bloody Sunday. At yesterday's concert Bono sounded very angry during his speech in the middle. I wondered later how staged that anger was and after tonight I knew it was not staged at all. Tonight's speech was totally different, with Bono expressing his hope for a solution in the peace process in Northern-Ireland. Unfortunately, as I was near the tip of the heart where Bono was standing, I didn't see Adam falling over. Well, when Bono is near you your eyes are magically fixed on this guy. His charisma IS overwhelming. After good renditions of Stuck and Sweetest Thing (and it is still a treat to see Bono behind the piano) they played Staring At The Sun, a song I hadn't heard during this tour. It sounded quite fragile and gentle, but didn't match the version released on the Popheart EP (which was also recorded in the Netherlands). Nevertheless, it is still wonderful to hear the whole stadium sing the chorus, as it resonates wonderful with the fragility on stage. A nice moment occured during the Happy Birthday, near the end of the song. Bono held the microphone in front of Edge to let him sing the last line. As Edge didn't expect it at all, he burst out in laughter. Some moments you just cannot hope for as it was a great sight. As Mysterious Ways was played early in the set I already expected them to play Pride after Streets. And they did. In contrast with Cologne I wasn't that excited this time. Maybe I've heard the song a bit too much, but it wasn't my greatest U2-song to begin with. Nice, but thank you and what's next? Again something which sounds like Oriental chanting and then the assault of Bullet The Blue Sky. No Mark Chapman speech tonight, but Bono still was a maniac, shouting lines like "EU SEE YOU!" bringing this song to an exciting close. After the rest of the encores, unfortunately without The Fly, they did a nice thing I hadn't see them do before. They all walked a lap around the heart, waving and thanking the audience. It was a great sight, like an athlete walking a victory lap after an important finish. It became even better when they picked up their instruments again. Bono started a speech in the present tense saying that this was their new single, out on CBS. It was from their new album, called Boy. And one day, they were going to be the biggest band in the world! And the whole stadium really went out of control as it was a perfect surprise. After this song they really called it quits. Even though the concert was a bit shorter than yesterday's (and they hadn't played Gone or The Fly) it seemed much better. With a great sound and an enthousiastic audience U2 can really lift you to another level. Thrilling.

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