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Celebrity can magnify, but it can also trivialize. -- Bono


by Mike Buehler

A fabulous show put on by the contemporary Fab Four-U2.

We (my two brothers, two ladies, and me) arrived at the Liberty Bell at about 7:30 very excited but with four row eight floor tickets and nosebleed ticket. After getting my brother down on the floor with the old extra ticket stub technique, we were ready to rock with Rage just before eight.

Rage was superb. High energy. Controversial ideas. They proudly flaunt their highly unpopular ideals. No wonder U2 respects them. I'm really quite surprised at the responses given by other U2 reviewers of earlier shows, negative, almost without exception. Sure, you may not like their genre of music, but, in their own way, how different are they U2 in the War era. Hmm.

After getting pumped up by Rage, the DJ'd music for the next 30 minutes was better than average dance music. Not great. But ok. Basically, something to tap your foot to while the butterflies build in your stomach waiting for our favorite four Irishmen.

And then its showtime. The entrance from the back with the walkthrough the crowd was pure genius. The near capacity crowd was ecstatic. Mofo/I will follow great. I don't think they did the "your eyes make a circle" part, although I might have just missed it due to overflowing excitement which happens when one sees Bono and company for the first time.

The set list was almost Identical to all the previous shows with only a few exceptions to be explained later. Pride of course has special meaning in Memphis which was quite evident by a spectacular performance. One wee problem. Bono clearly is having some minor voice problems. He has to pick and choose when he strains on higher notes, not including falsetto. During Pride, he let the audience sing the chorus instead of riping his chords out which worked out great.

Bono was mildly spontaneous with the transition from Pride to I Still haven't found. He didn't close out Pride with the band but instead started singing ISHFWILF. Needless to say, Edge and Adam looked at each other back at Larry who kind of gave that don't ask me look. Edge and Adam then exchanged a few words and slowly joined in with the vocals, pretty cute.

The new songs, of which I was very familar, were fantastic with two exceptions. If God and Velvet Dress were not done really well and really are not good concert songs, especially the latter. IMHO, these show be dropped and replaced with Lemon or Angel of Harlem, Desire, something upbeat. Hell Why not New year's Day or Sunday Bloody Sunday.

The girl Bono got to groove with on Miami was very outgoing and grinded with him skillfully. Very intense and entertaining. Hold me, thrill me totally rocks in concert, perhaps the best new live song. And as I predicted, being in Elvis' Memphis, Bono, again without telling the rest of the band, added Can't help falling in Love to the end of One to close the show. Awesome!

The set was fab. The big screen was great though much better viewed from a distance than row eight. The crowd was really into the music even most of the new songs. U2 played great with only a restart of Staring at the Sun and two minor flubs by Edge on the Discoteque riff that really were hard to notice. We had an incredible time. The show was awesome. Period.

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