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"I am a singer and a songwriter but I am also a father, four times over. I am a friend to dogs. I am a sworn enemy of the saccharine; and a believer in grace over karma. I talk too much when I'm drunk and sometimes even when I'm not." — Bono, 2001 Harvard graduation speech



by Josh Valentine

I've been a U2 fan for as long as I can remember. I was with an old friend (another die-hard) when I met Bono, The Edge, and Larry in the heart of Miami Beach on Friday night before the show. To say the least, this was a dream come true. I tried hard not to be one of those overly ecstatic fans (with my personality, it's pretty easy), and that weakened the event in the long run. I wish I could have said more or thought of more things to say... to my heroes. I hope I meet them again.

On to the show...

One thing is for sure, it's only going to get better. Many questions came up after Walk On on Saturday night:

-Why only 6 songs from the new album?
-Why no 11:00 Tick Tock or Pride or Still Haven't Found?
-Why no 40?

I've decided that, for the remainder of the tour, it's not important to worry about particulars. Instead, we should leave this show to the hands of our 4 favorite Irishmen. After all, they've been playing together for 25 years and they know what they're doing. So what if they want to play With or Without You almost EVERY single show since 1987? So what if The Edge screwed up his guitar solo during that unique rendition of The Fly? And so what if you think Bono's voice is lacking (it's not, by the way)? It's only going to get better.

If you haven't seen the show yet, somewhat of a spoiler transpires below...

ELEVATION:

The opening tune was played halfway through with the house lights still on. Only U2 could come up with such a scheme. This only strengthened the "intimate" setting they are trying to achieve.

BEAUTIFUL DAY:

As expected, the number one song in the world gets the number 2 spot.

UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD:

When I saw Bono fall from the edge of the heart during The Edge's guitar, I thought to myself, "He's okay." And he was. God, I love this tune.

NEW YEAR'S DAY

I don't know if we'll see this song again so early in the set, but it certainly came as a surprise. The simultaneous guitar/keyboard playing by The Edge gets me every time. What a great man he is.

STUCK IN A MOMENT

Probably my favorite song off the new album. Bono felt percussive with his special shaker thingy. It was flawless.

GONE

Well, this begins their little Pop threesome. Thanks for not dissing it guys. Fuck the critics. It really IS their most underrated album.

DISCOTHEQUE

This was pretty tight. I only wished they finished it.

STARING AT THE SUN

An uneccessary segue from Discotheque. Not bad, but why not play Kite or Wild Honey or Peace on Earth or When I look at the World or Out of Control or The Unforgettable Fire or Gloria or One Tree Hill... okay, okay, I must control myself. I must trust U2.

NEW YORK

A blistering version of this tune was catipulted by Bono's use of hand puppets on silk-screen shadows. Very cool, but a far cry from MacPhisto.

I WILL FOLLOW

Yes, I loved the show. But, this version of I Will Follow was butchered beyond belief (BBB). Bono played guitar, which was an interesting concept on this tune... but, he also flubbed the lyrics (of a 20+ year old tune!), and he left out the "your eyes" part, again. I'm sure it will improve. Or be replaced by 11:00 Tick Tock!

SUNDAY BLOODAY SUNDAY

To tell you the truth, this is not one of my favorite U2 songs. But it rocked.

THE SWEETEST THING

Bono played piano in concert for the first time on The Sweetest Thing. It looked like he was very proud of himself, considering it was only two notes. I could have sworn I heard him improvising on those keys a little bit. Beautifully done.

IN A LITTLE WHILE

A sweet companion to the previous tune. The emotion in Bono's voice was the high point. It felt like a quiet soul tune rather than the more harder-edged version on the album. Perfectly executed. These guys REALLY rehearsed this time!

THE GROUND BENEATH HER FEET

I love this tune, but the acoustic Bono/Edge version doesn't do it justice. It needs to be juiced up a bit.

BAD

The peak emotional high of the night. It got me to thinking that these guys really LOVE to play. Bono loves what he does and is so passionate about his work, his help with human rights issues, and the dozens of charities the band supports. Let it go.

STREETS

Bono ran laps around the heart... twice. I see, the new stage is his own personal gym. And by the way, after meeting him, he's not as bulky and hair-recessive as people have come to yap about. Oh, who the hell cares?!

MYSTERIOUS WAYS

The greatest version of this song I've ever witnessed. Larry and Adam dove deep into the the rythmic pocket and stayed there until the climax... that gorgeous Edge slide/guitar solo. On to the the set-closer, more ZOO TV nostalgia for ya...

THE FLY

This was a reworked version of the tune. I like to call it FLY 01. It... freaking... rocks. Edge flubbed the guitar solo a bit, but you know he'll get that down after a couple of shows. Bono exited the stage through the audience. Can he pull this off every night? What a guy.

BULLET THE BLUE SKY

Bono brings back the spotlight for a little Joshua Tree rememberance. I heard the 2nd night's intro was an Anti-Gun vignet with a mockery of President Heston. Good. I was afraid U2 would forgo the poltical statements. If anything needs to be said, it's "NO MORE FUCKING GUNS!" A killer version, The Edge is God. Next time you sneeze, say "The Edge blesses you." Larry put the band together. Bono's the frontman. Adam's the "jazzman" or the man with the biggest instrument in the band (as Mr. Hewson likes to call him). But really, where would we be without Dave Evans? Maybe listening to something else.

WITH OR WITHOUT YOU

U2 have always said that they're surprised this song was such a major hit. I even read Bono explaining it's not really a love song. If you think it's a love song, think again. Listen to the words... closely.

ONE

Now, THIS is a love song. Sometimes this doesn't quite work out well for Bono's voice. But it did tonight. Thank The Edge, er, I mean, thank God.

WALK ON

I guess we were all waiting for this one. Bono shouldn't have teased us with 40 at the end. But, we must trust him

It's only going to get better.

It's difficult to express in words the true emotions and soulful highs of the night. The music of U2 touches me and every one of you in ways which are hard to express. The only way to really savor a U2 experience is to see them play live... again and again and again and again. And I can't wait to do just that.

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