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People don't want crumbs from the table. They don't want charity. They want to be at the table. -- Bono

U2''s Past, Present Converge At New York Show

- December 06, 2000

by Pete Chop

NEW YORK - After spending the better part of two decades playing arenas and stadiums, U2 returned to their club roots Tuesday night at Irving Plaza for the band's only full-length U.S. show this year.

Frontman Bono seemed to have some difficulty scaling down his stadium-rock poses for a crowd of 1,000, but the band slipped easily into club mode, playing flawlessly and throwing bits of the Monkees ("Steppin' Stone"), the Ramones ("I Remember You"), Radiohead ("Creep") and even their own songs ("Walk On") into their selections.

Opening with their recent hit "Beautiful Day", U2 followed up with two more songs from their current album, All That You Can't Leave Behind: "Elevation" and "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of," the latter of which was dedicated to late INXS singer Michael Hutchence.

Bono then addressed the crowd, pointing out the influence that New York and its artists - such as Television and Patti Smith - had on the band. He dedicated the next song to former Ramones singer Joey Ramone, doing a brief acoustic version of "I Remember You" and then kicking into another new U2 song, "New York".

The band then went back to its earliest days, offering a rousing version of "I Will Follow," from its debut album, 1980's Boy, after which Bono strapped on an acoustic guitar and mused on the significance of being in a band: "We've been in a band longer than we haven't. People think it's like being in a street gang. ... It's more like the priesthood or the mob; you don't get out while you're alive.

"Ask Zack de la Rocha, he's here somewhere, ask him about Rage Against the Machine," Bono continued. "Ask Billy Corgan, who's here somewhere, ask him about the Smashing Pumpkins. Two great bands soon not to be with us. I feel very, very bad in my soul about that and I hope you do too." Though de la Rocha left Rage in October, the band is still together; the Smashing Pumpkins played their final show Saturday in Chicago. Bono then introduced his bandmates, calling Adam Clayton "a man whose vibrations have altered the shape of my spine," before kicking into a stripped-down version of "Desire."

The group then worked through "The Ground Beneath Her Feet" (RealAudio excerpt), from the film "The Million Dollar Hotel," and "Mysterious Ways," which Bono started by singing "My baby's having a baby," a reference to his wife's pregnancy (Bono and his wife are expecting their fourth child this spring).

The band closed its set with "One," "All I Want Is You" and "Bad" before coming out for an encore, featuring "11 O'Clock Tick Tock" and a cover of the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" that saw Bono reading from a lyric sheet.

While the show marked U2's only full U.S. concert of the year, the band offered up a brief three-song set in New York's Times Square in October to celebrate the release of All That You Can't Leave Behind. The band has no firm plans for a tour.

© SonicNet, 2000. All rights reserved.

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