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"I think God gets annoyed with the gifted. We should know that our work is no more important than a plumber's or a carpenter's." — Bono

U2 make it a beautiful night

- August 28, 2001

by Deirdre Kelly

The atmosphere sharpens, the chattering stops,
everyone's eyes are fixed to the stage, the stamp
stamp of people's feet gets louder and arms are thrust

At last, U2 are back in Scotland for an unexpected, but
most welcome two-date gig in Glasgow.

On Monday, concert-goers at the city's SECC could
hardly believe they were watching one of the world's
biggest live bands.

A week ago none had been expecting to see Bono and
the boys performing their Elevation tour.

The lead singer thanked the dedicated followers for
queuing up to snap up the gold-dust tickets and he
gave a tongue-in-cheek apology to those who had
planned to watch telly that evening.

Bono was the showman - clad in cool black leather
and donning those dark shades we expect a popstar
of his standing to wear.

(But, may I add, sporting noticeably comfy black

His voice is what helps to make U2 one of the best. He
is also a performer who teases and controls his

Pushing the buttons

To applause from fans he peeled off his shades during
Staring at the Sun and rubbed his eyes under the glare
of the venue lights.

He took a T-shirt from the crowd to wipe his sweaty
face, he sipped water from the bottle of a
can't-quite-believe-it fan, he told his followers "if we
bomb in Glasgow then that's the end of U2".

Bono knows what buttons to push, and push he does.

Indeed his god-like status allows him to get away with
political statements on the G8, the UN Council, Jubilee
2000 and Northern Ireland - his fans appear to love him
all the more for it.

For many a U2 concert-goer the live performance is a
spiritual experience. When Bono dedicated a song to
his father, it wasn't just a case of "and this one's for
me dead dad".

Bono tells us it's to celebrate the new body of his pa,
whose old cancer-ravaged one is now gone forever.

During the latter stages of the Elevation tour, the lead
singer's dying father was mentioned nightly - such a
dedication helped to make that all-important connection
with the audience.

U2 is a band of simplicity, a lead singer, lead guitarist,
bass player and drummer.

The chorus-line

But they do have harmony, they do have percussion
and they do have a chorus line - thanks to the fans.

They make the concerts - they know the words, they
know the tunes, they know to breath at the right
moment and they know when to keep silent.

The U2 fan is well practised, he rehearses in the bath,
rehearses in bed and rehearses in the car.

On Monday we all got the chance to be the chorus
line, to be part of the beat that resonated throughout.

When U2 were in Scotland for their 1997 Pop mart tour
the venue was Murrayfield - justifiably big and outdoors.

This was an altogether different affair - firstly an
out-of-the-blue treat for Scottish fans and for these
international superstars a rather intimate setting.

The 9,000-strong crowd were at an almost touching
distance from the gods of rock.

It's easy to dwell on front man Bono, but U2 are a band
with an outstanding drummer, bassist and lead

Sweet-sounding violin

There's no 20-piece orchestra, no backing singers and
no stage dancers - so its up to the four Irishmen to
make it work.

Guitarist the Edge really knows how to make his talent

Here is a man who can take his instrument and produce
from it the sweetest-sounding violin or the
power-pumped beat of a drum kit.

Missing from this Monday night set were my personal
favourites - Gloria, Tomorrow, I still haven't found what
I am looking for, Rejoice and in God's Country - a list of
highlights from that inspired 1980-90 era.

But I have to accept that the group has moved on,
written new songs and collected along the way a new
generation of fans.

Audience favourites were undoubtedly that U2 signature
tune Sunday Bloody Sunday and I Will Follow.

And by the time Where the Streets Have No Name
boomed out of the speakers it was definitely a case of
forget about drinking the lager - let's throw it in the air,
rip off our T-shirts and jump as high as we can.

Can you think of a better way to react?

Two hours after they took to the stage, U2 bowed and

The thousands filed out of the SECC sporting big grins
lit up by the clear red moon.

Ah, what a beautiful day, what a beautiful night.

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