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I'm not a big CD person myself. I like the crackles. -- Bono

by David Rocher

Maybe it was the fact that the 360 tour is nearing the end and the lads could relax and think about spending time again with friends and family. Maybe it was the perfect summer evening with scores of boaters tailgating along the rivers prior to the show. Maybe it was the way it seemed that Heinz field was designed specifically for the Claw. (Seriously, the steel and material of the Claw matched the color scheme and arcitectural flow of Heinz Field perfectly.) Whatever the reason, something special happened last night in Pittsburgh.

I have seen U2 on every tour since the War tour. I have seen them at festivals, theatres, ampitheatres, arena and stadiums. I have sem them in Pittsburgh, New York, Phoenix, Detroit and London. But this was a different.

Firt, the sound: It was perfect. No ringing, no reverb.The lyrics were clear. The base powerful but never muddyy. Edge's guitar could soar freely with a Laryy providing a rythym backdrop taht never dominated the sonic dreams of the U2 classics.

Second, The claw lived up to the billing. But it just look so perfect, so right,at Heinz field. The industrial giant somewhow seemed pefectly placed in this old industrial steel town transformed into a new city built on medicine, computers and energy.

But the real difference was the vibe of the band and crowd and how we interacted. I am 44 and grew up listening to rock and roll. I have always loved The Who and their anthems but they are and always will be my brother's band. As the son of a coal company employee and the grandson of steel workers and coal miner Bruce Springsteen spoke to my soul, but my sister intrduced me to him. He is great, but not my generation's band.

U2 were/are my band. The moment I heard the first chords of "I will follow" I was hooked. I have loved them ever since. I had high hopes for the concert but was worried about seeing them in a Stadium supported largley by a crow=d intheir forties. I wondered if the magic was still there.

Early in their career fans and media alike spoke of U2 shows as a religious experience. This show was not one of those shows. It was better. This show felt as if Bono, Edge Larry and Adam were your old friends coming to your backyard to play a show just for you and your 60,000 friends.

It was if you said to Bono: "Thanks for coming to Pittsburgh. Glad you could make it, mate. The beer is over there. Help yourself. Play the songs you want, they way you want, We are just so glad you could squeeze us in on the tour"

U2 responed by playing every song as if it might be their last chance to play in front of an adoring stadium crowd. Again, It really seemed like they were having fun and it showed in the music.

Bono and U2 take a lot of flack for their political stances and using the live shows as a platform for those causes. Last night had a different take. Bono didn't feel that he had to give the stirring speech to rally the troops to the cause. Instead, last night was a night to celebrate: Celebrate freedom, celebrate friendship, celebrate,love. Celebrate political prisoners freed by brutal regimesA night to give thanks for 5 million lives saved by the One campaing. No long speches last night, just a moment to appreciate all the blessings....

Going in to the stadium I worried the older crowd might be sedate. While the tailgaiting was in full force, it had the vibe of a summer picnic, not a Steeler playooff game. The crowd was in good sprits but it was not a hard partying crowd. However. once the lights went down the crowd responded passiontely. It was as if the years rolled back to 1981, 1983, 1985, 1991 (take your pick). The entire crowd stood the full show except for Stay. Then they sat mostly to catch their wind but also because Bono created such an intimate moment that it just seemed mor...I don;t know, respecteful? to listen to hime and Edge play softly.

Even non-classics like "Boots" were greeted enthusiastically with people dancing like they were in a club; yes dancing!! And when Streets came on, I thought the stadium might crack.

Many people on this site will write about the moment Bad's first chords were played. That was indeed special. But for me the minute befor that made the show.

Because of this site and U2.com every one knew Moment of Surrender was the end of the show. They hoped it would be different, but we all knew that it was the end. The end of the show. The end of the American 360 Tour. The end of a remarkable intimate evening. The end of a U2 era.

At the from oif the stage while basking in the shouts and applause from the crowd, Bono called the others to him. They gathered in a circle. Only they will know what Bon said. I like to think iyt went something like this: Look mates, who knows if we will ever play in a stadium again? What will we be like in 5 years when we tour again? This is fun. This is why we came together 35 years ago,For this moment. It feels right. Let;'s do what we talked about and play the Bad. The moment is right."

They broke the huddle with smiles on their faces.True smiles. This was not "oh shit we have to play that song again." THis was more a moment of bliss. It was so clear that for each of them and and every memeber of the audience, that eveyone was exactly where they wanted to be at that moment, doing exactly what they wanted to do. Perfect.

And then they played Bad and sent the audience into a state of delirium.

After an 8 minute glorious version they left the stage for good. My wife looked at me and said "They don't want to go, they don't want to go" She was right. You could sense it. They left so slowly, drinking in the moment. They could have stayed all night. In truth, Bono's voice had reached the end. He "left it all on the field" so to speak.

Nothing more need to be done. It was time to say so long until? Who knows?

But for me and the 60,000 plus 4 Irishmen who were there, It was a magical night that will form an everlasting memmory.

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