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"Pop is often the oxygen of politics." — Bono


- March 26, 2001

by Paul Martin

U2 took Elevation to dizzying new heights with a breathtaking world tour opener in Miami.

And singer Bono fulfilled the band's vow to bring their music closer to the fans - by leaping into the 20,000 crowd.

At the climax of their anthem Where the Streets Have No Name, Bono dived headfirst into the crowd and disappeared from view for five minutes as security guards frantically tried to find him.

It was just one of many dramatic moments in one of the greatest nights in the group's history.

The Dublin stars ditched their huge arena show set-up and went back to basics for their first tour in four years.

But there was nothing average about the show at Miami's National Car Rental Centre.

They walked on to the stage with the house lights still on and burst straight into Elevation as the sell- out crowd screamed their appreciation.

Bono, wearing his trademark dark glasses and black leather jacket, leapt and rolled around the stage, clearly basking in his triumphant return.

During the next song, Beautiful Day, he climbed in with photographers and leaned into the crowd to shake hands with fans.

In End of the World the lead singer spat water at one fan who threw a drink over him then carried on leaping around the stage.

During the two-hour set they played all their biggest hits and tracks from their latest worldwide hit album.

Bono told fans: "So Miami, we've been here before. We recorded a lot of POP here. We would have recorded more if it wasn't so much fun on Miami Beach."

The set covered most of their big hits from I Will Follow - their first ever single - to Walk On, one of their most recent which closed the show.

Showbiz stars flocked to the concert where tickets outside the venue were changing hands for up to $ 700 each.

Among the celebrities were Eddie Irvine, Lenny Kravitz, models Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington as well as singer Elvis Costello.

Many of the crowd waved tricolours and wore shamrock hats during the show.

Fans travelled from as far as Ireland, Australia and Japan to witness the opening night spectacle.

In a stirring tribute, Bono dedicated their recent chart topper, Stuck In A Moment, to his pal, the late Michael Hutchence of INXS.

He then dedicated In A Little While to his wife Ali who was in the audience.

As the lights went down he said: "My beautiful wife is here tonight and it was her birthday yesterday. So this one is for you."

During the Sweetest Thing, which was also dedicated to Ali, Bono took to the piano for the first time on stage.

And during Sunday Bloody Sunday he grabbed a tricolour from the crowd and shouted: "For the first time we're fine."

Standing at the front of the heart-shaped stage, Bono introduced each band member to the roar of the crowd.

He said: "Larry Mullen gave us our first job and he's never let us forget it.

"Adam is our jazz man and The Edge has more children than Abraham."

Before firing into the encore he told the crowd: "Thanks for following us all these years.

"Thanks for giving us an amazing life. How was the first night for you?"

After their final song he asked: "Do we get the job then?" The crowd roared their approval.

Fans described the show as U2's greatest ever live performance.

Cork man Martin Collins paid $ 700 for a ticket on the black market but said it was worth every penny.

He said: "I have seen them live nine times and this was the best show they have ever put on.

"Bono was more energetic than ever. I would do all the travelling and pay the same money again to see them without hesitation."

Dubliner Marie Quinn flew to Miami just to see the show.

She said: "It was absolutely incredible.

"That was the best night of my life."

© The Mirror, 2001.

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