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"Ireland is like a shelter from the storm. It's a place to escape, a refuge. The groups that succeed are the ones that stay where they are, where they've always been." — Edge




by John Wilkinson III

This was my 4th Vertigo show (8th U2 show overall) and second time getting inside the ellipse. I went to Atlanta 1 last night as well as Seattle 1 & 2 in the spring. My sister and mom!!! (58 years young) drove up from Tampa for the show. My sister and I went to Elevation Tampa in 2001 but this was her first time inside the ellipse. It was the first U2 show for our mom and after she told us she loved it and wanted to go again. We put her up in the lower deck of the proper seating out towards the front of house mix position. We figured she would do better there than on the floor.

As always, we had the pleasure of meeting many great people in the GA line and inside the venue including a man who had traveled from from El Salvador just for the show and our new friends Jason and Michelle.

The U2 organization is first rate. Quality people and a quality organization stem from the top down. We have all read about these sort of stories, but Ive got to tell mine.

As we were going through the scanning process both of our tickets got the dreaded Proceed to Floor message. We waited with our new friends in line to see how they fared. Their second ticket got the red and black Vertigo screen. We said goodbye and a member of the U2 tour staff pulled us aside and instructed us to go with them to get the coveted second wristband. He thought were a group of 4 and wanted us to be able to enjoy the show as a group

I do not know his name but we certainly thanked him. What a class act. U2 is the greatest band in the world because of the music, the people they are and because of the way they treat their employees and their fans.

About the show...

CITY OF BLINDING LIGHTS is a great opener. Being inside the ellipse truly feels like being in Times Square on New Years Eve. Hearing I WILL FOLLOW early on was nice. Electric Co. or Gloria with it would have great, but there are only so many songs you can fit into a 2:15 show

The arrangement of ORIGINAL OF THE SPECIES works better keyboard player / computer op Terry Lawless on the piano (its called a Yamaha CP-80) and with the Edge playing guitar.

The War Trilogy was excellent and Bono nailed the final tenor note (as well as the rest of them) on MISS SARAJEVO as well as Can you hear me when I siiiiiiiiiiiiiiing on SYCMIOYO. I still mess the red in STREETS, but the Africa flags are cool and STREETS just plain kicks a**. The cell phones at the top of ONE is just plain cool. Being in Atlanta, they brought out MLK as a tag on the end of ONE which was a nice touch as several members of the King family were in attendance.

The encore started out with a pair from Achtung Baby, UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD and MYSTERIOUS WAYS, the latter of which included a friend for Bono to dance with that he pulled from the audience. WITH OR WITHOUT YOU is still one of the greatest pop songs written in the last 30 years and was a pleasure to see it return to the setlist after its absence on the spring leg.

I never thought Id ever hear anything from Zooropa, but they pulled out THE FIRST TIME tonight as they have been doing off and on over the past month. After STUCK IN A MOMENT we all knew that there could only be one song left. I looked toward the stage and saw Dallas Schoo waiting with the Edges Black Fender Strat. Once the first notes of the keyboard sequence started the entire arena erupted with as much enthusiasm as they did for STREETS.

One word... BAD!

The show was great up until then, but hearing BAD just sent it over the top. It is such an emotional song to hear. The amazing thing about it is that the song is over 20 years old (1984 - Unforgettable Fire), it was never a radio single and each and every last person in the 20,000 seat hall knows every word of it.

Overall, 9.5 out of 10. Thanks Bono, Edge, Larry and Adam for putting on a great show. U2 truly is our generations version of the Beatles.

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