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Being the biggest band in the world is not as important as being the best. -- Bono

by Liz Z

"Out of Control": what an appropriate song for U2 to decide to play in the rotational #2 spot on the set list – the song perfectly summed up the show tonight! The feeling inside MSG was completely electric.  This was the fourth show I saw at MSG, third on the floor, and my 30th time seeing U2 play (including promotional performances).  The crowd was as pumped up as I have ever seen for U2.  I was super excited to see the show from the same spot as the night before on the small stage, North side, but this time with my husband and a friend.  As I waited in the excessively long and slow line for drinks, a super friendly guy behind me offered to buy my drinks so we could get back to our seats faster!  Seb, if you are reading this, you are awesome!  I slipped back to my spot just in time to hear the crowd stand and turn and cheer as Bill & Hillary Clinton were seated in the front row in the upper level on the other side of the arena! 

I had read on Twitter that Bono had told fans earlier in the day that his voice was not good, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  But as soon as they came on, you could tell the band was feeding off the positive energy in the room and were so happy to be there.  Bono told us this was the 100th time they had played New York – and it was an emotional moment for them.  As we danced to “I Will Follow” we could feel the ground vibrating beneath our feet – everyone in the arena was going wild.

The introduction to “Iris” was lengthier and even more personal than other shows.  “I haven’t spoken to her since that day, but I have been singing to her ever since.” Bono can reduce me to tears show after show.

I was close enough to really take in Bono’s facial expressions and while I have felt he’s been looking a bit old this tour, I saw several glimpses of a more youthful Bono in his face.  During “Every Breaking Wave,” as he sang “it’s hard to listen while you preach” I almost recognized a sheepish grin on his face.  Perhaps that lyric was a personal confession?  He had mentioned that his wife Ali was in the audience earlier, during “Song for Someone.”

I’d been lucky to hear some rarities during the other shows but I was floored when they pulled out “Party Girl” complete with champagne sprayed onto the audience. Other highlights of the small stage included the Meerkat portion of the show and Bono bringing up a group of Brazilian fans dressed creatively as the Village People. Alas, a snippet of “Discotheque” didn’t slip in, though!  When Bono snippeted “Hungry Heart” during “Bullet the Blue Sky” our hearts jumped at the thought of Bruce Springsteen being in the house!  A rumor was that he was sitting close to Hillary and Bill.  After shows that included Lady Gaga, Paul Simon and Jimmy Fallon making guest appearances, we wondered who tonight’s special guest might be. We were beyond thrilled with Bono’s exceptionally flattering introduction to The Boss himself as the band led into “I Still Haven’t Found….” We had hoped for Bruce appearances on the 360 tour in Philly and NJ …. The duet was incredible and led into an impromptu “Stand By Me.”  We knew the band wouldn’t end the night there, and my husband noticed Edge get on the bass guitar – it was “40!”  The dedication to their tour manager Dennis Sheehan was so thoughtful.  We watched our heroes walk down the catwalk in the dark arena, Bono with spotlight and slowly made our way out as the fans continued singing.  

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