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"Flood is a fan of my guitar playing; he thinks I'm the only punk in the band, because I don't want to know everything about the instrument that I'm playing." — Bono



by Teresa Doherty

Wow!

So far, that's my concert review. I'll be more articulate soon, I'm sure. I had a great time - the weather was perfect - although it was overcast/rainy in Richmond when we left, by the time we got to DC, the sun was shining, the air was cool, it was *gorgeous*. We caught dinner in Union Station (I'd never been there - very chi-chi), then hit RFK.

Wow! Since I've been a Redskins fan for so long, I was glad to be able to go and just see the stadium, even if they no longer play there. They still have the "Wall of Fame" for DC athletes, like Sonny Jurgenson, and all the old-timers. That was something to see. But I was shocked at how small everything looked in real life! Seeing it on tv, you get the impression that it's HUGE! That caught me off guard.

The opening act (Fun Lovin' Criminals) we didn't even see - we just walked around taking in the sights, buying souvenirs (had to get a tour book, and went back and forth between the PopMart condom pack or the refrigerator magnets and came down on the side of the magnets. Probably should've got both!) and generally getting a lay of the land.

Between the opening act and the main show, a dj (Howie B?) spun some techno-electronica tunes, got people shimmying, not really dancing, just anticipatory. The crowd, by the way, was pretty much what I expected - mainly 20-30s, lots of frat boy looks, some older, some kids, 95% white. There were lots of people meeting each other at the show from different parts of the country - on-line fans. That was pretty cool.

Unfortunately, the video screen had been mounted the night before the show and apparently the storm that came through Sunday night did quite a bit of damage, because a lot of what I'd been reading about in previous reviews didn't happen, much of the animation and video stuff just wasn't there. There were several sections where the pixels were just *not working.* Bono made a comment early on: "Last time we played RFK, I broke my shoulder; this time, a monsoon took out some of our light panels - what *is* it with you people?" He also mentioned several crew members by name, thanking them for getting it fixed up enough to play that night.

Our seats were in the first section in front of the stage, to the left, in the 9th row back. There were 4 sections across the front of the stage, and the catwalk leading to the secondary stage in the crowd was 2 sections over from ours. Those were the prime seats! But Bono came over to our side a number of times, so that was cool. (very cool - only about 20 yards away. sigh!)

The band really looked to be enjoying themselves and enjoyed playing. There weren't any screw-ups that I could notice - not like other shows, where they'd start a song and have to stop and start over. But that wouldn't have mattered to me anyway.

They've been mixing in a lot of old songs with the new ones from Pop - they played "I Will Follow" "Pride (in the Name of Love)" "With or Without You" "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" - even "Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me" from Batman. *That* was great - they haven't done that one live before, it came out since the last tour. Most of the new songs came across really well live too - which I had been hoping for, but not expecting.

Of course, during "Please," when Larry started the "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" drumming, the crowd went wild, thinking that maybe they'd stop teasing and actually play the song. We yelled and screamed, but the band returned to "Please" and left us unsatisfied (well, not totally!).

One beautiful moment was after "Until the End of the World" (the story of Judas betraying Christ); the Edge had followed Bono out on the catwalk for that song, and it was just the two of them standing there. Bono turned and hugged Edge, hanging on to him, head on Edge's shoulder, and Edge continued to play guitar, leading into "If God Will Send His Angels." Bono sang to just the guitar accompaniment, still hugging Edge, looking exhausted, which fit the song. When they finished, Bono held him tight before letting him go, and walking back up to the stage. Very emotional (okay, maybe they do that every concert, but I bought it! I am *not* the cynic!)

At one point, when Bono was in front of our part of the stage, someone in the front row threw an Irish tricolor flag up to him. He made a diving catch to grab it and continued to sing (wish I could remember what song!) I thought that he might make some comment about the flag - back in the early days, he often kept a pair of scissors handy on stage and cut up flags given him and gave them back to the audience in pieces. He didn't say anything, just held onto it as he sang, before putting it on the stage riser behind him. I would believe that he'd out of the political comment business after all these years, but "Please" deals specifically with the situation in Northern Ireland ("you never knew that the heaven you keep, you stole" "your Catholic blues, your convert shoes. . ." etc.) so that's not the case. They've just "gotten better at hiding it."

The Lemon was a hoot, what with smoke coming out from under it, and it moving along soooo slooowly, until it met up with the ramp. I really thought this would be the Spinal Tap moment, because the lemon stopped about 3 feet from docking with the stairs! I thought they were going to have to jump for it! Then the lemon jerked forward and they were docked for sure. At the end of "Discotheque", during the "boom-cha" part, the whole stadium rocked in surprise when a half-dozen concussion canisters were exploded behind and to the sides of the stage, up in the seats that weren't sold. BOOM! Explosion and flash of light, then BOOM, on the other side of the stage, and back and forth during the boom-chas! The crowd loved it! (made me wonder - did they add that part in for this show because the screen wasn't working as well? I hadn't read of any other show using it. . .)

It was just like Zoo-TV time when Bono pulled a girl up on stage to dance with him on the catwalk during "Miami." They waltzed a bit while he sang, then he pulled away from her, put his derby on her head and took her picture (not sure whose camera - maybe hers?) with her doing a Marilyn Monroe kind of pose. They danced some more, then Bono pushed her gently up the catwalk away from him, and she danced off, then turned and came back to him; they danced again, then he handed her back down into the crowd. My brother, the cynic, says that it looked too choreographed on her part to have been spur of the moment, had to have been a friend or crew member. I said that I thought that since everyone has seen the videos by now, everyone would know how to act, and what was expected. . . My husband says that due to insurance liability, you can't just pull anyone up on stage anymore. Harrumph!

Ahhh, it was bliss. was it worth $50? every penny! would I see them again? sure would! after all, what's an obsession for, if not to enjoy?

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