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"When I first met Anton [Corbijn] I had one request . . . make me look tall, skinny, intelligent, with a sense of humor. 'So you wanna look like me,' was his reply." — Bono



by Phil Romans

[this is taken from a larger review of my entire time in Florida] On the way to the Arena I called Bob Reck again and found out he was already waiting in the front of the Arena at about 1:30, and Mike Gentile and Spider were at the Hard Rock. So off to the Mall across the street to meet up with Mike and Spider, gave Spider his CDs I owed him. On to the arena, to where I located plenty of people I knew. I know I am going to forget people but here goes: Bob, Gina, Maggie, David, Ruby, Des, Oli G, Martin, Christian, Brad G, and more people than I knew would be there. I believe we just started standing in line instead of a moment there that we just said, we were staying until we got wristbands for the Heart. The gathering we were suppose to attend in the Hard Rock would have to be missed. Besides, most everyone I needed to meet was already there. (Sorry Aaron!) So we waited, and then we got moved out of the little gated area in front of the arena for General Admission people only. (The only location to get in) I heard about 5 different languages while waiting there, very cool. I also took bought concert material to the car so we didnt have to carry around the material. After about an hour of a new line, they then separated us into male and female for searches. This was at about 4pm. Interesting notes were that there was a group of about 4 Germans in front of us, three males (one of which, I swear was Edges cousin) and a female holding a fake sunflower (take note of this for later!) with a note. I supposed she hope to give this to Bono. It was also pretty warm out, about 75-80 degrees and bright sun. I would like to mention now, the speakers of the Arena played the same thing for about 3 straight hours. After the first hour, I tended to ignore it. Then at about 6pm, the other entrances finally opened. Searches were in order, and still the General Admission area didnt move. It took another 10 minutes until we were to get in. But then we started moving in, YES! The searches were different with each security type. All I got was some guy checking my pockets, which I had some CDs and a wallet, and I told him so and he believed me. Mike had a FULL backpack and didnt even have to open it. A guy next to me had his pockets turned out. Amazing I got in, got a green wristband so we could get on to the floor for General Admission, and then found the entrance Into the Heart! I WAS IN!!! I found Bob Reck, gave him a high five, and Brad G then back out with another wristband, this one red and white checkerboard, so I could get back in. Man I had to go to the bathroom. Whew. Then I realized, I had no idea if Mike and Danielle made it or not, last I saw of them was they were getting green wristbands. I got back and couldnt find them, I had visions of them outside the Heart looking in, eep! I found DC area types talking with Jerry Mele, who was with a cane and hobbled while he walked. It was very hard for all of us to see him like that. (For those who do not know, Jerry was in charge of U2s security for many a tour, and finally retired last year after aggravating an old injury at Mexico City.) He did say to say thanks to everyone to sent well wishes and get well. This was his last U2 concert he said. He thanked everyone once more and shook some hands, patted me on the shoulder and went on his way. 15 minutes later, I found Mike and Danielle they had gotten in as well. Photo opportunity! The Corrs came on, and well, I admit it, I hadnt heard much from them, but they were very good. Mike, Danielle, and I spent most of the concert 2/3 of the way of the Heart section. I noticed three songs in that Paul McGuiness was in the heart with some other VIP types. I finally got up the nerve to approach him, first thanking him shaking his hand and asked: What is the policy on taping the show? His reply Sure, Go for it. There it was, blessing from the manager of U2 to tape the show. I proceeded to tell the other DC area types about this and if they wanted to talk to Paul M. I didnt see many celebrities in the Heart or other such important people, but there were several folks floating around the Heart with VIP and friends or family on their Ids. I also noticed that there were nine; count that 9, people above the stage working lights on suspended seats to work the lights. There were also large screens to project (as it turned out) each member of the band. There were strobe lights on the inside part of the ramps, a keyboard setup on upper section of Edges side. There were the thin-fabric screens to drop down above us. There were also some large spotlights behind the instruments. From all so far, it was defiantly open but going to be WELL lit. I counted at about 30 media agents in the photo pit which turned out to be the area between the inside the Heart 300 people area and the Ramps. One of which was Much music camera guy doing impromptu interviews. We then heard the opening tunes of Elevate My Mind by Stereo MCs, and 30 seconds later, there they were. The band I have spent a fortune on. They just ROCKED Elevation, the entire Arena was singing. It was amazing. (This section will be my highlights of the show, you can read the set list, and various other points about what happened, but these are my impressions of the show. I would suggest www.u2tours.com !) - I never saw Bono fall, I thought he was crouching down on the ramp - Adam smiled all night, very happy. - Bono lost his glasses during the fall I suppose cause he never had any on after that. - Sunday Bloody Sunday just, positively absolutely without a doubt rocked. - Remember that sunflower the German girl had? Well, they got into the Heart and held it out to Bono, who took it with his teeth. And then gave it back. She was crying for much of the rest of the song. I was next to her later and just smiled cause there wasnt much I could say. - The rising screens were behind the band and were VERY useful. During Mysterious Way Bono was laying on one as it rose up with a belly dancer on the screen. (More like a surreal colored shadow actually) Bono at one point stood in front of one of the raised dancers and imitated her. Very cool. - Bono played Sweetest Thing for the first time with him on keyboards. I think it still needs polish but ought to be very cool. Bono did mention after playing that it was for Ali who got the rights to it, but got lots of money when it was a single for the Best Of for the Chernobyl children. (Very loud cheer) It was also her birthday the day before, and again he missed her birthday but she was in attendance so he sung In A Little While for her. Very touching. Bono seemed to favor the right ramp when going out. (If you want to see him more) And generally went to the point, but didnt spend much time on the left side. - I sang with every song but Ground Beneath Her Feet and I was certain I would lose my voice, but didnt. - Bonos voice sounded great, strained at times, but great. No signs of his cold or possible problems. - There were points which I have no idea what Bono was singing, going to have to figure that out later after listening to the concert, and there were times he messed up lyrics but I didnt care. - Streets ROCKED, the use of the raising screens for the background red was perfect. Bono RAN twice around the Heart, and picked up at the tip without sounding winded. - When the thin screens dropped during New York, it looked like they projected images of steel-like guiders and rivets, which made sense for the song. But the screens worked perfectly, and the shadows it provided was an awesome effect. - There was a small plan to sing How Long after Walk On but I dont think anyone felt it was needed. That and Bono did it for us weaving it into the lyrics. - Walk On was good as a closer. Though it left me pumped up, not the closure of say a One or 40 could. The projectors had (I think) the lyrics for Walk On over the crowd instead of the other images used for other songs. - Having a cordless spotlight for Bullet added a very R+H feel to the song, and Bono spot lighting most of the upper sections was very cool - The reworked version of The Fly was damn good, not nearly has hard edged, but during the beginning I noticed about 4-5 large security guards push their way to the very tip of the Heart and stood there, two with headphones and mics. Later when Bono jumped in the crowd, I knew why. Seems this jump was planned. - I am sure I missed a lot of little things, but I dont care because well, not everything can be relayed. If you dont believe me, head to a U2 concert.

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