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I peak early in the morning. It's downhill from there.-- Bono, 2004


by Milo Janus

Where to begin?

Well, this was my first Vertigo show, and my eighth U2 show altogther: I saw them twice on Joshua Tree, twice on ZOO TV, and three times on Elevation (I boycotted POPMart because I refused to pay $52.50 to see them in a football stadium...how things have changed). So, what did I think of the show tonight in Arizona? Well...for the most part, I was bored.

Now, as stated, I have seen the band a few times, and I think that's to my detriment. I drove from Los Angeles to see the show, since I couldn't score a CHEAP seat to see them here (I got my ticket for less than $20.00 on eBay). I was prepared to pay $49.50, but NOT $95.00 or $160.00, which in my opinion is an insult to your fans. I mean, let's face it: the SOUND QUALITY of these shows in a hockey arena leaves much to be desired, especially for THOSE prices.

I knew I drove to see the wrong show when they opened with one of the WORST songs on the new album, LOVE AND PEACE. Ugh. Things picked up a little, and when they played "Electric Co./An Cat Dubh-Into The Heart/City of Blinding Lights" I saw U2 in all their glory. That three song block floored me. THAT was U2 at their most orgasmic! Then, just like after great sex, it was time for a nap. "New Years Day" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" AGAIN? My God, give them a rest! I mean, why play "Gloria" when we can hear "Sunday" for the millionith time? "Running to Stand Still" was great, but so many songs sounded tired. I swear, I never thought I would see the day when I would not be floored by "Where the Streets Have No Name." Of course, Bono preaching during the entire beginning of the song may have added to that. And where was the big spotlight on Larry's cymbal when the song kicked in?

Didn't Bono also have a comment about how the media reports that 160,000 people died in the Tsunami but they don't report about the thousands that die every day due to poverty? I notice that Bono hasn't offered up his cut of the $160.00 ticket price to help fight this problem. Of course, he'll go to governments and insist they fight it, but I don't see him writing a check.

"Pride," "Mysterious Ways," and "Bullet" were played with so little emotion from Bono, you'd think they were ballads. Also, it seemed to me that Bono and the Edge didn't come out onto the Oracle that much. When I saw them on Elevation, Bono was unstoppable, even running laps around the heart during "Streets." Tonight, he resorted to lying ON the oracle instead of running up and down it.

Oh, and I think I read that someone thought this tour version of "The Fly" is the best? You jest! When they played it the way they did on Elevation, I was floored. That was also the same show I saw an acoustic "Stay (Faraway, So Close)" which pretty much made the show worth my while times one hundred.

Was this a bad show? No. U2 at their worst is better than most (if not all) of the bands working today, with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band being a notable exception. I can tell you that if they DIDN'T play "Electric Co/An Cat Dubh-Into The Heart" I would have regretted taking the ride to see them. But seeing Edge and Larry slam the end of "Electic Co" was incredible and took me back to the Denver 1983 video.

I ALMOST FORGOT: This was probably my favorite U2 stage ever. The "light curtains" were great, but it was the lights WITHIN the stage and the Oracle that floored me. Great! Also, I don't know why, but I think the four separate screens showing each band member most of the show is a great idea also. Now, if they incorporated that into a DVD (in terms of viewing muliple angles) now THAT would be cool!

It was also great being the only person in my section that knew what the hell "An Cat Dubh" and "Electric Co" were when they played it. Most of them didn't even know what "40" was!

Bono IS STILL the greatest frontman in rock today, but last night was the most laid back Bono of all the eight performances I saw, and that has led me to declare 4/14's show my last. I think that if this was your first U2 show, it was good, but to those of us that have seen them before, we've seen much, much better.

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