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"I realised that you can't be a passive pacifist, you must be an aggressive pacifist. I had to make a strong statement about what was happening, and 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' is that statement." — Bono



by Shug

U2 - Phoenix, Arizona
April 14 & 15, 2005

Touch me, take me to that special place
Reach me, you know Im not a hopeless case

A willful intention to connect with that which is greater, a massive prayer sent up to God, sent out to the universe, sent out to the source of grace, whatever that source is, 18,000 souls and one amazing rock band helping such big ideas to achieve lift-off. A group of people for whom hope is not dead, who havent let the brutal cruelty of this world force them to become hardened cynics, a group who still believes that love and compassion can make the world a better place. We choose to gather around a rock band for our praying.

Love, lift me out of these blues
Wont you tell me something true?
I believe in you
I believe in you

Two solid U2 concerts in the Arizona desert demonstrated that the magic connection between the band and their audience is as strong as ever, that a great band can transform good studio performances into transcendent live ones, and that the message of social justice U2 have always sung about is becoming more and more substantial. After three years of living in ignorant Republican-land, I was brought to tears to be again surrounded by people who believe that love and compassion can make the world a better place. Rock music and art CAN change the world because it plants seeds in people's minds. And that is the beginning of ideologies being torn down. There will come a point in history when it will appear absurd that the world let thousands of children die every month in Africa because they lacked an immunization that costs 20 cents.

Where you live should not decide
whether you live or whether you die

The power of this band is its ability to join commitment to social justice with joyful, celebratory rock music that affirms all the good in this world.

Its a beautiful day, dont let it get away

The heart is a bloom, shoots up through the stony ground

The power of this band is its vision, like Dr. King and Gandhi. The power of this band is its ability to embrace paradox (for example praising the Pope while disagreeing with some of his positions) and its insistence on embracing its shadowside (the only way people or social groups become whole). Critics who see the world only in simple black and white/either-or thinking scream Sellout! when they look at the surface of U2, but they miss the depth of this band, the core of sincerity that has never been absent regardless of how thick the irony laid on top and the need for paradox when attempting to answer the big questions in life.

A feelings so much stronger than a thought
your eyes are wide
and even though your soul it cant be bought
your mind can wander

20 years after first seeing them, with my teenage years (the age when idealism is condescendingly tolerated) far, far behind me, Im still in love with this band, Im still in love with this music, with being a participant in a U2 concert, and Im definitely still in love with these big ideas of making the world a better place through love and compassion.

Im alive, Im being born
Ive just arrived, Im at the door
of the place I started out from
And I want back inside!


Highlights:
Hearing An Cat Dubh>Into The Heart, The Electric Co., Gloria, and 40 for the first time since the 80s

Getting the first Bad of the tour

The opening salvo of exuberantly celebratory rock on night two:
City of Blinding Lights (oh..you..look..so..beautiful tonight!)
Beautiful Day
Vertigo
Elevation

Bonos talk of how Dr. Martin Luther Kings dream was not intended just for America, but that its big enough for the whole world, including Africa

Bonos mention of how Arizona tried to repeal MLKs birthday as a holiday in 1987 and how its now a better day in Arizona

Bonos gushing praise for the magic of the Arizona desert with both the beautiful Indian culture and the stunning glass and steel architecture found there

Bono pumping the air and sending the energy back to the crowd in the pauses when he sang oh..you..look..so..beautiful tonight!

The irony of dedicating Running To Stand Still to the brave men and women of the US military and how it seemingly went over the heads of those who cheered the dedication as well as the Edges piano intro to this song

The stage bathed in blue light as Bono sang about birds and rising up against Edges angular and dissonant guitar part in An Cat Dubh and the way it gently slid into Into The Heart

Edges killer extended guitar solos on The Electric Co and The Fly

The Edge, Bono, and Adam rocking back and forth together while standing close up front on Mysterious Ways

The Edges power riffing along with Larrys double-time drum fills at the crescendo to Miracle Drug

Adams meaty bass playing throughout the show, deep and rich without ever muddying up the sound

Being close enough to the band when they came out to the catwalk that the emotion was clearly visible on their faces like the great moment when Bono threw his arm around Adams neck during Pride and made him smile

Bonos passionate and emotional rendition of Sometimes You Cant Make It On Your Own after a fan handed him a picture of him and his father

The overwhelming feeling that a lifetime of foolish and nave idealism is indeed one of the most important things in this life and that it does make a difference in this world

Wishlist:
More songs from the new album, especially Crumbs From Your Table
More songs from the 80s (Out of Control, I Will Follow, 11 OClock Tick Tock)
Retirement of a few tried and true songs (Bullet The Blue Sky, New Years Day, Pride, even though they were played great) to make room for more rare songs
A full-blown, grandiose electric version of Yahweh instead of the toned-down acoustic one played

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