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"I guess I did my grieving for my father, keening, in front of 20,000 people singing U2 songs. They really carried me, those songs and my three mates." — Bono



by Robyn Hanson

It's Robyn here, the resident Vancouverite ready to embark on a step by step story of the Vancouver show that happened here last night on a Good Friday - the 13th! Whoever said 13 is an unlucky number is completely wrong. ;) I would have written a review last night, but I got home at 2am and was completely exhausted. So here's my personal
story of my second ever U2 concert, and the best concert I've been to in my entire life (and I've been to at least 50)... so that says a lot about Friday's show!

Me and my sister Erin woke up early Friday morning to guarantee ourselves a spot in front of the line up. We arrived at GM Place by 10:30am. There were about 30 others infront of us at Gate 7... some had camped out overnight, but most people like us, arrived that morning.

Me and Erin introduced ourselves to a bunch of others sitting in our area - 2 guys, Trevor & Eric from Victoria BC, a couple Jen & Jeremy from North Vancouver, and a Guatemalan Vancouverite whom I forget his
name, but was very friendly. I didn't recall seeing anyone with a yellow Wire tag, so I brought mine out. Most people were curious as to what is was, but weren't familiar with the Wire mailing list.

The lineup was rather smallish to begin with, but soon started to grow. Around 1pm the GM Place security started to give out the
wristbands to the 100 or so people in line. They first inspected the ticket, stamped the ticket, then put the purple Elevation Tour 2001 wristband on our wrist. They put it on tightly so no one could slip it off and sell it. Not like any one of us would!!

Me and Erin talked among our new friends in lineup, got out of line and wandered throughout downtown Vancouver to buy lunch, snacks, or to use the bathroom at the nearby Tinseltown Mall. Though it had been pouring rain the night before, the day was cloudy and cool, but the sun had started to peak through the clouds. Luckily Gate 7 was facing
south, so we could enjoy the sunshine.

At one point during the wait, one guy arrived completely decked out as Macphisto! It was amazing... slicked back hair, the makeup, the red shirt, the gold suit, gold platform shoes and the horns to match...
he was a twin!

Around 4:15pm, while the lineup had grown to about 200 people, there were a bunch of girls who ran out of line and continued to run down the ramp to the back of the arena. More and more people got out of line and started to run. I left the lineup, and decided to check out what was really going on, though I'm pretty sure I knew already. ;)

On the way, a girl running next to me said, "What's going on... I feel like sheep!". We turned the corner, and there was a mob of about 100 people standing around, smiling and laughing.

"Oh my God! There's Bono!"
"Edge! Edge! Over here!"
"Hey Bono!"
"Adam! Thanks for visiting us!"
"You rule Edge!"

Though Larry hadn't been seen, Bono was on the left side of the group, hugging fans, signing records and CDs, and posing for photos. Edge was doing the same. Adam was on the right hand side of the group, where I
was standing, signing autographs. I was in the right place at the right time... and I had my bag with me. I couldn't give up the
opportunity. There were a bunch of girls standing next to me, gawking in a teenage heartthrob embarrassing way... Adam saw this and winked at them... and they screamed some more. One of the girls asked if Adam
could sign her shirt, which he did. Since I was right there, I handed Adam my ticket... he took it, smiled and signed it. "Thank you Adam!"

Edge and Adam left the group, but Bono was still signing autographs and what looked to be the LP of the Joshua Tree. Because Bono was still paying attention to the left side of the group, every one of us in the right started to call out a pep-rally, "Bono! Bono! Bono!" He couldn't help but to walk over to where we were standing. The gawking
girls kept shrieking, and Bono was smiling and talking to many people.

One girl was sitting on her boyfriend's shoulders, wearing a shirt that said, "BONO, TAKE ME WITH YOU!" Bono told her that he would, but unfortunately his suitcase was too small... but he kissed her hand anyways. She was flattered. Bono then left to enter
the arena. Everyone was completely starstruck. It was wonderful feeling!

Walking back to our spot in the lineup, the tall guy Eric from Victoria was on an adrenaline rush. "Look!!! Look!!" And he shoved his CD of All That You Can't Leave Behind" in our face... except "All that
you" was crossed out in blue ink, and was replaced with "Eric". At the bottom said, "Bono" So if you were to read it, it would say: "Eric can't leave behind Bono" LOL! Back at the autograph session moments
before, Eric apparently had his shorter friend Trevor sitting on his shoulders so Trevor could be seen and could reach out to Bono. However, Bono was ignoring Trevor, until Eric started to collapse under Trevor's weight. Trevor said, "Bono, um... my associate here is dying - please sign this!". Bono came over, smiled at Trevor and
Eric... so Eric got his CD signed after all. Eric continued to tell this story over and over again to everyone who would listen. ;) I
showed a bunch of people my Adam Clayton autograph on my ticket. This one guy who was standing in front of me said it was rather rare, as Adam is the least likely guy to be out signing autographs. I suppose there's some truth to that! If anyone else wants to see this ticket, I scanned it in:

http://www.robynh.com/ticket.jpg

I thought it was also funny that I got Adam's autograph because Erin was talking about her friends making a poster that said, "Adam we love you!" - not because they really loved Adam, but because there's a
little joke going around (thanks to the Simpsons), that no one likes Adam. So because everyone else loves Bono, Edge or Larry, these girls would make a cheesy poster saying, "Adam - Even Better Than The Real Thing!" "Adam - You're All that We Can't Leave Behind". We never did see their poster.

Later on around 6:15, security was getting ready, and everyone was on their feet preparing for the big moment. At 6:30, the security started to go through their procedures. Small cameras we allowed, but no
recording devices were. You could buy drinks from inside, but you couldn't bring in alcohol from outside. No smoking was allowed inside, etc. Then the first few people in the line began the entering process.
They were searched, then they had to get their ticket inspected for fakes, then they were lined up inside the arena before they were allowed to go down to the floor. It seemed like only a few groups were allowed in at the same time. I was one of the people in the first group to be let down to the floor. As I entered the arena, everyone in
my group started running, but the security yelled, "no running" and they strictly inforced it. We got down to the heart, and
our little group from the lineup made our way to the tip of the heart as everyone else made their way to the front of the stage, or the front end of the heart from outside of the catwalk.

(and for those who are unfamiliar - the stage is surrounded by a heart-shaped catwalk, and the first 350 people in the area can be inside that heart)

It was kind of weird seeing such an empty stadium as we arrived. People soon filled it up though, but the heart was rather empty!
Everyone in the heart was given a second wristband to wear to prove that we were one of the first 350 to be there. With this second wristband, we could also go in and out of the heart as we liked. You can see both of these wristbands here at http://www.robynh.com/hand.jpg - I scanned in my entire hand this morning, sorry for the photo being so large!

At around 7:15-7:30, PJ Harvey hit the stage. She was wearing a light pink glamerous shimmery sequinned dress with big black boots. Her hair was feathered much like Chrissie Hynde, and her voice was just so powerful. Unfortunately, during her first song where it was just her and her guitar, her guitar cut out on her, but she handled it
beautifully. The technician ran out, plugged a few things together, and she continued her song until the end. The crowd just adored her. She continued on her set for another half hour. The crowd, though unfamiliar with her music, applauded her and truly appreciated her. A few fans at the very front gave her a bouquet of flowers, which she picked up and said thank you.

After PJ's set, a bunch of us in the tip of the heart (all of us who had lined up together), were amazed at how much space there was in the heart! We all had heard beforehand from other people who had gone to
previous show that it wouldn't get too crowded, but of course none of us really believed it - we had to see it for ourselves. And boy, did we see it! There was maybe a 4 person row of people at the very front of the stage, and then there was at least one person along the railing of the fence surrounding the heart, but inside the center of the heart, people could sit, walk and talk freely. There was so much space, they could have easily put another 300 people inside. Luckily they didn't, so we didn't have to worry about people pushing and
shoving. We could wander around the heart and follow Bono and Edge wherever they walked if we liked!

Funk music and Radiohead's "The Bends" album was being played of the PA, and the house lights were getting brighter. We knew the time was coming soon. After a few minutes, I heard those echoing notes that I recognized (thanks to a recent Elevation bootleg), of the first notes to Elevation. I yelled to everyone around me, "THIS IS IT!!!" And it
was. ;)

1st song into the night was Elevation, as always, done beautifully. U2 arrive as the house lights are on, everyone shrieks as the band arrives, and the crowd is singing the "Hoo-ooh's" and jumping up and down. The entire band performs this song at the front of the stage and everyone, no matter where they're sitting, is out of their seats
standing on their toes. Yes, Bono put the extra Radiohead's "But I'm a creep" line into the song...

2nd song: Beautiful Day. Once again, the entire crowd is singing along. They love this song. And once again, U2 perform this song at the front of the stage. Bono though, jumps around the stage, and walks up the people who are viewing at the back of the stage. Everyone rushes up out of their seats to meet him.

3rd song: Until The End of the World. Bono begins to enter the catwalk from the right hand side of the heart (the audience's right), and everyone in the heart follows Bono as he walks to the tip. Me and my
sister and our new friends (including now, the girl whose hand Bono kissed and her boyfriend) are all ecstatic. We're too busy looking at Bono, that before we know it, Edge had walked down the catwalk on his
side of the stage (the left side of the heart), towards us. And there he was, wearing his t-shirt, his black hat, and his star-studded jeans and blue skateboarder shoes... right infront of us on the catwalk.
Bono and Edge were both right there, at the tip of the heart... and everyone was going wild. Several times Bono walked right up to the audience as they grabbed in... and at the end of the song during Edge's solo, Bono put his fingers infront of his forehead pretending to be a bull, and pretended to charge Edge. Edge and Bono would chase
eachother back and forth on the left side of the heart. At the very end of the song, Bono pawed at the guitar, thrashing out those final chords for Edge. They did this right infront of Erin and me - it was great!

Right then, the intro to New Years Day began. That was the 4th song of the night. It was just as powerful as any other night. Of course, Bono performed this on the catwalk again, but Edge was back on stage. At
one point during the song where Bono would sing, "ah-ah... ah-ah...ah-ah.."... instead of getting the audience to sing that part, Bono motioned the audience to clap really fast in unison... *clap* *clap*
*clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* - pretty cool!

Before the next song, Bono was back up on stage and thanked everyone. He then mentioned that 20 years ago was U2's first gig in Vancouver. Then Bono tagged on, "20 years ago this week" - and everyone started
to go crazy. "I think it was at a place called the Commodore". Everyone went even more crazy as the Commodore is the city's
legendary, most favourite venue for a crowd of 1500. Bono asked, "Is it still around?" - and of course, the audience screamed out as if to say "YES!"

Bono then went on to thank everyone for "sticking around" for the past 20 years. He joke about the people who didn't exist 20 years ago, and thanked them, even though they didn't have to wait as long, said Bono.
He went on to mention "our next song goes out to our friend, Michael Hutchence... he didn't stick around..."

5th song: Stuck In a Moment You Can't Get Out Of. Bono loaded on the soul of this song and stayed at the front of the stage for the most part.

6th song: Gone. I was so happy when I heard this song as it's one of my favourites off of Pop, and it was great live. Video screens shot out from the stage and played the images we were used to seeing on Pop. The light effects were gorgeous.

7th song: Even Better Than The Real Thing - I totally wasn't expecting to hear this song. I'm so glad they performed it!

8th song: New York. This song was amazing live. Bono puts on a cowboy character... almost a mix from the Rattle & Hum and Zoo TV era. With a cowboy hat on, dragging one leg behind him, Bono slowly walked around the catwalk to the point of the heart... very slow motion, in time to his singing. Silk screens came down from the ceiling, and shadows were cast upon that screen every time Bono walked infront of them. When the song got faster during the chorus of "New York... New York" a strobe light was
flashing, and Bono started to jump and kick from behind those screens... and then he'd calm down again... it was amazing.

9th song: I Will Follow. Performed at the very front of the stage, just like old times.

10th song: Sunday Bloody Sunday - performed from the stage, and then out to the catwalk. Everyone, of course, was singing along to it like old times. Bono even took off his black leather jacket, revealing a sleeveless black shirt, just like in the old Red Rocks video! Yes, Bono added the "Get Up, Stand Up" line too.

11th song: The Sweetest Thing. Bono started singing this out on the catwalk and got the crowd to sing "oh-oh-oh", then walked back to the main stage. Before he got back to the stage, he grabbed someone's beer from the audience and took a swig. When he swallowed it, the whole audience cheered. He fially go to the left-hand side of the stage where he sat down at the piano and sang the song beautifully.

I believe at this time, Bono walked back to the tip of the heart and introduced the band to the audience. It was the similar introduction to the rest of the Elevation shows. Eric, the guy who got Bono's
autograph, was the only guy who Larry high-fived. Of course, Eric was just ecstatic afterwards!

12th song: In a Little While was performed at the tip of the heart, where Edge and Bono were standing a little less than a foot away from eachother. If I remember correctly, there were parts where Bono went to the crowd and held people's hands.

13th song: Desire - Edge and Bono at the tip of the heart, and the entire crowd singing, "De-si-i-i-i-re..." all in time. It was great! This could have been the song where Bono picked up a flashing cowboy hat from the audience members. Bono ended the song with his traditional harmonica solo - it was great!

14th song: Ground Beneath Her Feet: Another song performed on the catwalk. It was done beautifully.

15th song: Bad. Wow... I nearly cried. Tears started to gather in my eyes and my throat felt really heavy, which surprised me as no song has ever played with my emotions that strongly before. It was extremely emotional for me... I don't even know why. It sounded so beautiful, and it was extremely powerful hearing it live, as close as I was. One guy a few feet away from me was wearing a shirt he painted to say "Bad". Bono picked it from the guy, held it, then gave it back. At one point at the front of the stage, Bono took his microphone and shook it back and forth, close to his mouth, and then far away...
making his voice shake and echo... Bono was completely stuck in the moment, screaming out "For love!" and making everyone else yell it out with him. It was a very moving piece.

16th song: Where the Streets Have No Name - If Bad wasn't emotional enough, they played this song right afterwards... another classic
where everyone went crazy. During the intro notes which sounded identical to those of the original recording, Bono read a piece from the Bible. I think this is the song where Bono ran around the entire catwalk *really* fast... he sprinted it in a funny sort of way, and did an entire loop around.
Everyone was completely thrilled.

17th song: Mysterious Ways. Bono's back at the main stage where he's lying on top of a Zoo TV screen displaying the silhouette of a belly dancer (it was very PopMart). The screen goes up and down with Bono lying on top just like he does in the Mysterious Ways music video. Bono gets off the screen... wanders around, then goes back to the belly dancer and starts to mimic her... swaying his hips back and forth with his butt facing the audience. This could have been the song where Bono was teasing the members at the front of the audience.. reaching out but not quite touching them. At one point, he lowered his head into the crowd, to where a bunch of fans were holding up gerber (sp?) daisies. Bono lowered his head to bite the
stem, but instead took a bite out of the flower, lifting his head up revealing a mouth full of white flower petals. He spat them out and started to laugh that he couldn't finish the song with his usual "come
on love" ad-lib lyrics... it was quite comical.. especially seeing Bono with petals in his mouth on the big screen!

18th song: The Fly - I couldn't believe how beautiful they made this song sound. I've listened to the recent version from the Charlotte show, and this version was different! The chords were different than
the usual, but Edge didn't play chords! He played each note seperately so it echoed.. sort of like, Where the Streets Have No Name,
Ultraviolet and If You Wear That Velvet Dress... it was so beautiful. I just hope someone recorded it. And if they did - e-mail me!!

After The Fly, the band leaves, but soon come back for an encore.

In comes the 19th song: Bullet The Blue Sky. Bono walks around with a spotlight, and shines it at everyone in the stands, even the people way up in the private suites. This song was amazing live, as always,
but even moreso than usual I thought! And yes, he adds the "Whole Lotta Love" bit into the song. And being in Canada that night, Bono changed the last bit to "Outside is... *not* America... outside is *not* America, we run... we run...." *silence*

20th song: With or Without You. Bono sings this one at the tip of the heart, and brings up 2 girls from outside of the heart (but at the very front of the tip of the heart). One was in a red t-shirt, and the other was wearing a backwards baseball cap and a flower print shirt. Unlike the Barbie lookalikes to their side who was trying to attract Bono with their cleavage, Bono picked out the two most sweetest, innocent looking girls. Bono thought were sisters, (but I talked to them afterwards and it turned out they were just two girls from Seattle.) They both hold him and sway a bit, and nearly cry... they looked incredibly happy.

21st song: Pride: I wasn't expecting this, but was so happy when they played it! Everyone else was too, especially as we were singing along to it.

U2 leave, but come back on for a final encore. As Bono returns, he thanks Vancouver, and mentions the recent Greenpeace event that happened here a few weeks before, about saving BC's Great Bear
Rainforest. And for those unaware, Vancouver founded Greenpeace. "That was a win, wasn't it?" said Bono. Everyone started to cheer. "It's amazing what you can do when there's an election, right?" he said in reference to the BC elections.

22nd song: One - Another gorgeous song. He performed this up at the very front of the crowd, everyone swaying and singing along

23rd song: Wake Up Dead Man - though he played the first verse and chorus to this song only, I wasn't expecting it at all! Neither was my sister. We suppose it had to do with it being the Easter weekend.

24th song: Walk On. The grand finale. The lyrics of Walk On were shone over the entire audience like light from a disco ball, "Leave It Behind"... Bono thanked Vancouver, and the audience. They made their final bows and left the stage.

U2 did play those Bob Marley songs, and the Young Americans song, Radiohead's Creep and apparently according to friends, on TV at home, the U2 episode of the Simpsons was playing. I didn't stick around for any post-show excitement as I was exhausted... But everyone who left was impressed to death, almost to the point of having a new-found
respect for the band. Those Seattle girls who danced with Bono were still hugging eachother after the show and just couldn't believe their good luck. "Oh my God! I want to call everyone, but I don't even know where to start!" the girl in the red t-shirt said. The crowds were packed in exiting the arena, buying posters, and last minute t-shirts. The local radio stations were doing their "instant reply", playing all the U2 songs in the order that had just been played moments before. People were singing U2 songs walking to their cars. People were smiling. All in all, it was the best concert I've been to, one that I'll not likely to forget!

- Robyn

ps. If you saw a girl wearing a white CANADA sweatshirt and a red Betty Cooper t-shirt and blue jeans with studs going down the sides (sorta like Edge's jeans)- she was me :) Feel free to e-mail me!

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