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"I don't find interviews easy. All the introspection involved isn't good for you." — Edge



by George Bradford Jr.

"This is where it all began." The Edge announced to the Memphis media greeting U2's arrival at the Memphis airport.

"We're not a nostalgia act." Bono claimed. "This isn't a greatest hits tour."

"Then why is U2 doing the POPMART tour?" A local TV reporter wanted to know.

"For our fans." Bono smiled. "When the show is over, we want our fans to feel as if they've been to school, they've been to church AND they've had their asses kicked." The rest of the band members laughed as they piled into their limo.

The next night -- two and a half hours after taking the POPMART stage in the Liberty Bowl -- no one was laughing. U2 delivered. We'd been to school, been to church and had our collective asses thoroughly kicked.

The show featured a great deal of Bono hip shaking (in tribute to the King) and loss of control. Twice Bono began songs alone on the B-Stage in the wrong key. The band overcame this on ISHFWILF and salvaged the song. But "Staring at the Sun" was a complete disaster. The band stopped playing and Bono quipped about "This ain't a Broadway musical -- we can start over if we want." So they did. For Last Night on Earth, Bono ordered all lights (including the LED/TV Screen) turned off, so the song was performed in total darkness. This had a powerful effect on the crowd.

The crowd sang along strongly on almost every song. Most notably to the band were the crowd choruses on Pride, ISHFWILF, WTSHNN and W or W/o You (which Bono reprised additional choruses on in response to the crowd). The crowd was incredible (far superior to the Dallas crowd two nights before). Bono ended the evening with an Elvis tune "Can't help falling in love." Truer words were never sung.

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