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Bruce Springsteen. . . . with those brooding brown eyes, eyes that could see through America. -- Bono, induction speech for Springsteen at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


by Popmartijn

After two Elevation shows in Cologne, my third show was in my own home country. I wanted it therefore to be special, although I didn't expect the shows to be as magical as in other cities. After being planned for the Prins van Oranjehal in Utrecht (capacity 17.000 persons) the concert had to move to the Gelredome (capacity 35.000 persons) due to production difficulties. As the small stadium has a capacity double of most other venues during this tour I feared that the venue would be too big for the show. This first concert I went with my father. As we had seating tickets we could take our time and go to the stadium around 5 pm. I wanted to look how the GA admission went as the door opened since I have GA tickets for the other 2 concerts. Upon entering the stadium it struck me immediately how much bigger it was compared to Cologne. It definately has a different atmosphere compared to an arena. But as soon as the first notes of Elevation began I forgot everything. The size of the venue, the persons around me and the terrible support act. I jumped and danced and didn't stop until the end of the last song. Although I've heard most of the songs also in Cologne, it was still a different concert. During the first few songs the sound wasn't that good, but fortunately it improved during the concert. At least, from where I was standing I could hear everything clearly. Nevertheless, I felt that some spark was missing in the beginning. The songs were great, but not outstanding to my ears. That changed however when they played Sunday Bloody Sunday. In the middle Bono started immediately with Get Up Stand Up, omitting less militant lines such as "Oh oh, Johnny was a good man" or "Could you be loved" and then sudddenly "BUT NEVER TAKE A LIFE!" Here he started to talk about the G8 summit and how Genoa looked like some police state. You could clearly hear how angry Bono was. It seemed like he almost forgot about the song as he kept on ranting about the G8 summit. As such the song was extended considerably and I think it is one of the best versions I heard ever (although the Rattle & Hum version is also very powerful). After the song Bono started to sing something a capella, a song I didn't know (this turned out to be When I Get Home), but as Stuck followed immediately after that I suspected it to be a Herman Brood song. For me it was remarkable how Bono could switch between the anger of Sunday Bloody Sunday and then the tenderness of Stuck. The next song was also quite tender. In A Little While is my favourite song from ATYCLB and I never get tired of hearing it live. While my father isn't a very big U2 fan, he did like the whole show (saying he certainly had no regrets of buying tickets for this). And he is a sucker for Bad. At the opening notes he got very excited, saying how much he likes that song. So do I, although it always takes a while for me to get into the full Bad swing. But tonight it was going to be very different... Bono spotted a little girl in the audience, just outside the heart and pulled her on stage. He started to sing Norwegian Wood and some other songs and ran a lap around the heart with her. It was a great sight, seeing Bono so happy with the child, putting her on his shoulders, running a lap and then pulling her father on stage so the two could be reunited. The only thing I felt a little bit sad for was that Bono didn't sing much of Bad anymore, completely skipping the Isolation, Revelation, etc. part. But it sure was magical to be there. Another magical song is Where The Streets Have No Name, still. Everytime I hear THE moment on the radio or CD I get the shivers. Everytime I see this song from the floor I cannot help but jump and cheer when all the lights go on. And everytime I see this song from the stands I have to stand still and see the ocean of hands of all the fans on the floor. It was no different tonight, as it was magical to see so many heads and hands. Literally everybody, until the very last row on the floor, was jumping and cheering. Again, magical. For the encores they started with the NRA message before launching into Bullet The Blue Sky. While I still think that the message maybe is lost in Europe, Bono's rap is excellent. He really acts like a maniac, extending the life of the song yet again. A song which also has a great life when played live is Walk On. I'm starting to feel more and more enthousiastic for this song. The visuals have a great effect, making the concert even more intimate. It is also finally an optimistic closer, after the downers Love Is Blindness/Can't Help Falling In Love and One/Wake Up Dead Man. And when the whole crowd is enthousiastic, the initial disadvantages of playing a (small) stadium are overcome as the venue becomes a rock'n'soul church. This is the concert not to be missed. Marty

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