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"Never wear a jacket and your guitar at the same time. Ya know, it's just not a good look. But cool hats are good." — Edge, offering a fashion tip for guitarists



by Dave Smith

Well, this was my first U2 concert. I was living and going to school in Cookeville, TN at the time, and it was mid-term week. Cookeville is about 4-1/2 hours from Atlanta, and I had an Organic mid-term the morning after the show at 9 AM. To make things worse, everyone who was going with me backed out at the last minute, so I decided to drive down by myself. Oh yeah, with no ticket.

Anyway, I found a ticket from a scalper, and with that worry out of the way, began wondering around the Omni. According to some squealing girls, I just missed Bono at one of the doors, he came out and signed a couple of programs. The quote of the day: "Man, is he HOT! But I can't believe I'm taller than he is."

I got to hear them doing a soundcheck, as at one of the entrances a couple of punks had a door pried open so they could bootleg the songs. I remember hearing Light My Way and maybe one other song...

My seats sucked, but the band was in great form. I remember being struck by how they were eschewing the old standards in favor of nearly every song on Achtung Baby (I think by the end of the night, only Acrobat and So Cruel were not played, but I could be wrong).

I was struck by how moving One was, as it wasn't one of my favorite album songs. Same with Arms Around the World. I remember loving the intro to Zoo Station, and being blown away by the whole Zoo TV production.

The biggest chills, however, came when they finally did reach back into those classics that made us all fans to begin with. When the guitar intro to Bad started, we were all just jumping around like we were seeing an old friend for the first time in years. We were, in a way.

The coolest part of the evening, I thought, was With Or Without You. Such a classic song anyway, it really came alive, and the crowd was mesmerized. However, picking a favorite part of that show is like picking your favorite flavor of ice cream -- come on, have you ever had *bad* ice cream?

The last song was Love is Blindness, and I can still hear that searing guitar by the Edge, then Bono throwing the microphone to the ground and walking off the stage.

Up came the house lights, and we dispersed into the night -- in my case, for that 4 hour drive home that turned into 6 because I was so tired and there was so much fog going across Signal Mountain.

I was greeted like a hero at the fraternity house the next day, as everyone was amazed I had gone without them, and with my midterm. I regaled them with every detail of the show, details which I have unfortunately long forgotten.

And, in case you're wondering, I flunked the exam. But it was worth every minute!

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