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"I'm proud that when people think of Ireland, they think about music, literature, filmmakers. They don't think about banks, about boring things." — Bono

by DanP

This was my 4th Vertigo show and tonight was nearly a complete let-down from previous shows. Lets face it, 99% of what makes a great U2 performance is Bono, and Bono was clearly off. Not only did his voice go from weak to hoarse, but he seemed rhythmically off as well. He seemed to be slurring his speech, he missed a verse of Pride, and he mixed up a song introduction. Honestly, we thought he might be drunk or high. The show nearly took off with The Electric Co, which peaked with Edges solo from the middle of the ellipse. I Still Havent Found was an unexpected pleasure, but it seemed to further drain Bonos already weak voice. By Miracle Drug, the concert seemed to be on auto-pilot. Bono started coughing and completely missed the entire 2nd verse of Pride, which added a sense of fallibility to the show. Maybe it actually helped get the audience more involved as we tried to sing Bonos parts. I was surprised that U2 chose to open the encores with Zoo Station and The Fly, 2 excellent songs that have consistently failed to engage the crowd every time I see U2 play them this tour. After a weak With or Without You (surprisingly from the main stage with no audience interaction), the band said good night again and I thought that might be it as Bono didnt seem up for a 2nd encore. And thats when it began to turn around Bono and the boys must have found Jesus (or maybe some hot tea), because they came right back out and played a strong 2nd encore including my first hearing of Yahweh live. The band again said good night, and the audience started to leave But, U2 came back out for an unprecedented 3rd encore and played one of the best versions of Bad Ive ever heard. I swear this version ranked up there with the version on Wide Awake in America. Bono sounded great and Edges guitar solo was unforgettable. Edge and Adam then switched places and we were treated to a powerful closing of 40. So, what could have been a shortened, sub-par show, turned into an extended performance culminated in 2 great versions of 2 great songs. FYI - Keane is a great band and I bought their CD today. This is the first time I've ever loved a U2 opening act.

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