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Larry . . . bears the burden of being the band's requisite good-looking member, something we somehow overlooked in the E Street Band. -- Bruce Springsteen, at U2's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction



by Marie

I have three words to describe U2's opening night of the Elevation Tour in Sunrise, Florida -- U2 ELEVATES ME!

My husband and I arrived at the National Car Rental Center with General Admission tickets in hand (Thanks Propaganda!) at 4:30 in the afternoon on March 24th. There was a special line strictly intended for people with GA/Floor tickets, so that's where we stood. There must have been approximately 100 people in front of us already, including a guy dressed as Mephisto. We noticed people in front of the line seated on folding portable chairs with coolers. The doors finally opened at around 6:15 pm, while the Corrs were scheduled to come on at 7:30 pm. When we got closer to the building, I had to stand in a line for females, and he stood in a line for males, for everyone was patted down for a search for cameras, weapons, food, bottles, etc. They looked in my backpack too. Once we entered the building, we were greeted by a woman who was giving out neon green bracelets (those strong paper type bracelets that you can't tear off) to everyone who had GA tickets. Once she put the bracelets on our wrists, we walked through one door that was to be used specifically for people seated in that section of the arena and GA ticketholders. As we walked down the stairs, security checked out tickets and said those oh, so heavenly words -- "You're going into the heart!" I looked down at the floor, and there it was -- the stage setup that everyone's been talking about! The stage was set up at the top end of the heart.

Our tickets were checked by another security guard once again, as we proceeded to walk to get into the heart. We actually walked under the stage (which was like a tunnel), to get into the heart. Most of the people already in the heart were right up against the stage, while we decided to stand up in the back of the heart to be close to the heart/catwalk. I'm so glad we did that, for whenever Bono would walk on our side of the heart, he was only about 4 or 5 feet in front of us. The catwalk is raised about 5 feet off of the floor. I made sure I didn't drink anything before the show -- I didn't want to lose my place! People were allowed to leave the heart and come back though -- I believe anyone who left the heart were given checkerboard patterned bracelets to come back into the heart. As I stood there and looked around at all the people sitting in seats, I realized how lucky I was to be one of the few to experience this incredible stage set up!

The Corrs came on a little after 7:30 pm, and played for about 45 minutes or so. Their Irish heritage definitely got everyone ready! When their set ended, stage workers began to set up for U2. U2 was actually scheduled to come on at 8:30 pm, but there appeared to be a problem with some equipment, so U2 didn't actually start playing until a little after 9:00 pm.

The crowd was going crazy, as each of guys walked onto the stage one at a time. I'm sorry I don't remember the order in which they walked on stage -- only that Bono was last, of course ! :) They opened with Elevation and everyone in the heart jumped up and down to the beat (including us!). The set list that was posted Saturday night was the same as what I wrote down as well.

Huge, sheer fabric sheets dropped down from the ceiling (I think there were 4 of these) to display the band's shadows, during New York. Bono would walk in front of it while a light shined on him. Of course I didn't see the full effect, since I was inside of the heart. The screens were between us and the catwalk, so anyone inside of the heart I guess you can say were "behind the screens". Other aspects of the stage set up included 4 big tv screens which projected black and white images of each of the guys. Each screen showed each band member playing at the same time. I loved that!!

After they finished playing Sunday Bloody Sunday, and before playing Sweetest Thing, Bono stood at the apex of the heart and introduced the band. He had the guys come out onto the catwalk, even Larry! It was nice to see him come from behind his drums!

I've been to quite a few concerts in my life and I have to say that this is the most memorable and enjoyable show I've ever seen! Being inside of the heart felt like being in an intimate club setting -- unheard of from a band used to playing in outdoor stadiums! If you have GA tickets, get there early!! Enjoy the tour, and thanks for reading my review of U2's opening night of the Elevation Tour 2001! :)

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