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"At first I thought musicians, artists, novelists, painters should not be in the same company. Now I think we need each other. It was painters, poets, that gave us a sense of who we were. Politicians shut us out at their peril." — Bono

Another anthemic performance from U2

- November 10, 2005

by Jim Harrington

Bono is no genius. It's not as if he was the one who came up with the Theory of Relativity, penned ``Ulysses'' or created the peanut butter cup. He's a rock 'n' roll singer who seems to operate by one simple motto: Do the next right thing onstage. With that principle in mind, the leader of U2 will hand the microphone to a young girl in the crowd, dance with a passionate fan during a big number, shake hands with a guy in the front row or, really, whatever else is the appropriate move at any particular moment. Yet, if that motto is so simple, one has to ask why there aren't more performers who live by it? Good question. Although he's best known for putting on big stage shows and singing big rock anthems, Bono proved yet again on Tuesday night at the Oakland Arena that the real reason why he is rightfully considered to be the greatest front man in rock is because he does all the little things right. Talk to the fans who attended Tuesday's show, which kicked off a two-night stand at the venue, and I bet the first thing they mention isn't the cool light show, the stage with the heart-shaped walkway that extended halfway across the arena floor or the great version of the anthem ``Pride (In the Name of Love).'' I'm willing to wager that they instead bring up how Bono carried a woman on his back during ``Mysterious Ways'' or let a young girl lead a chant of ``No More'' in ``Sunday Bloody Sunday.'' In all, it was another winning chapter in the book that some are calling ``The Biggest Week in Bay Area Rock 'n' Roll History.'' U2 was at least as good Tuesday as Paul McCartney had been at the HP Pavilion in San Jose Monday. And the Rolling Stones, who play Sunday and Tuesday at SBC Park in San Francisco, certainly have their work cut out for them if they are to top either Paul or Bono. Following a moderately entertaining opening set by reggae-star Damian ``Jr. Gong'' Marley, who also performs Monday at the Independent in San Francisco, U2 launched its two-hour-plus concert in a very dramatic fashion. The house stereo system pumped out a tune by Arcade Fire, the Montreal-based buzz band that will take over as opening act for U2 later this month, and then three-fourths of the legendary Irish band took the stage and began to play ``City of Blinding Lights,'' one of the best tracks from last year's ``How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.'' If you have to ask which member of U2 was the last to appear on stage, well, you clearly haven't been paying attention. It was, of course, Bono, who burst out of seemingly nowhere at the point of the stage that reached furthest into the crowd.

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