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"Isn't all art an attempt to identify yourself, really? At some level, I've made a career out of personality crisis." — Bono

by Popmartijn

Tonight was my first Elevation concert. Yesterday, the Dutch painter and rock'n'roll artist Herman Brood died. On the Dutch U2 forums and mailinglists some said that Bono/U2 knew Herman so maybe they would dedicate a song to him. I expected nothing, I just wanted to be elevated. Even though I had seating tickets I arrived quite early (around 1 pm) as I had one ticket left I wanted to sell. It didn't take long before I had sold the ticket to a fan (who unfortunately was in Asia when the concerts went on sale). I had therefore enough time to check out Cologne a little bit, have a good meal and talk to other U2 fans who were there early as they had GA tickets. When the doors (and the sky) opened at six I could observe how the admission went (as I have GA tickets for the next day and I sure as hell want to be in the heart then). Everything seemed to go smoothly, so after the first rush I easily went inside and walked to my seat in a very relaxed way. Upon entering the arena it surprised my how small it looked. Even though the Koln Arena can hold 18.000 fans it looked like a small hall. I had seats in the first ring opposite of the stage (just above the sound & light island) but they seemed to be closer then my Popmart tix (where I was in the first section halfway between the stage and the B-stage, right of the catwalk). The support act came and went, as did the music on the PA. And then the Influx Remix of Elevation started... Man! How many goosebumps can you get? The total arena went wild of exitement and everybody started jumping when the band started Elevation. That is, everybody except the guy right next to me, who stood still during the whole concert with his hands in his pockets (except when he smoked a cigarette). Fortunately, the person left of me who I had sold the ticket to earlier went totally AWOL with excitement (Hello Mario!). During Until The End Of The World I thought I heard some different lyrics which had something to do with ...sky and ...fly and I immediately thought of Herman Brood (he committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel, the same hotel John Lennon and Yoko Ono used for their Bed Peace & Hair Peace bed-in in the Sixties). Before In A Little While Bono made a speech about Herman, how he'd met him before during a party and how he was intrigued by this rock'n'roll junkie. He also made a comment about the little daughters of Herman, adding that Lola (16) was even taller than he was. It was quite an emotional moment. There has also been said a lot about the next song, Desire. Bono introduced the band very briefly (just saying something like Adam Clayton on the bass, Larry Mullen Jr. on the drums and The Edge) and they all went to the tip of the heart. Larry got a single drum and the band started playing Desire. Bono was kneeling and apparently being busy making contact with fans when I suddenly heard some rare lyrics: "Like a preacher needs a stain, like someone the blame, I need your love." It took me a short moment to realise that Bono was singing Hawkmoon 269 on the rhythm of Desire. I WENT NUTS!!! In total Bono sang something like three verses (without the "When the night has no end..." part) before he switched to Desire. On the screens it was clearly visible that he was singing the lyrics from a sheet somebody held up. At the end of Desire, after the harmonica part, Bono again kneeled and started singing the lyrics to Running To Stand Still. Again, EVERYBODY WENT NUTS!!! Edge even changed the guitar part so it would fit more. After two verses Bono again switched back to Desire and played the harmonica part again, finally ending the song. The rest of the concert could keep up with the magic (I mean, Where The Streets Have No Name, when all the lights go up. Need I say more?) and there were still enough highlights. The Fly was hilarious. I'd heard about Bono acting like a fly on a (video)wall, but I never thought it would be this funny. A black silliouette (sp?) on a colored videowall, just like a cartoon character had run through the screens. The encore started with the NRA message. This was the first time I saw the message and I must say I was initially confused. I haven't seen Charles Heston recently on TV or magazines, so I only know him of Ben Hur (or something like that). And while Bullet The Blue Sky sounded great (with an aggressive rap of Bono stating how America was in war with itself) I still think that this message somehow doesn't click that much with the European audience. My other remark is about the next song, With Or Without You. It sounded great, but is it my imagination or did it end quite sudden? They could've gone on for a while if it was up to me. After a good version of One, in which Bono thanked the audience and recalled the G7 meeting in 1999 when supporters of Jubilee 2000 surrounded the city of Cologne U2 ended with Walk On. In this song Bono made a final reference to Herman Brook, singing "Home is where Herman Brood is" (instead of "Home is where the heart is"). Bono was right when he said that tonight something magical happened, as it was truly an outstanding concert.

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