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[T]he hardest place in the world for what we try and pull off as U2 . . . is the U.K., where the arts and politics are very separate. -- Bono



by Andrew Cross

The band were inspired, and played a very tight, mistake-free set. As many have said, the rhythm section has really asserted iteslf. The setlist had two spectacular surprises. First, as Edge finsished his hypnotic guitar strains at the end of Until the End of the World, he walked to the left of the stage (right in front of me) and as Clayton started the bass line from New Year's Day, Edge played the signature piano notes and the band kicked into high gear. The song was every bit as intense as at Red Rocks 14 tears ago, with the Edge playing piano and guitar parts masterfully, including the blistering solo. The crowd certainly approved. Then at the end of I Still Haven't Found, with the crowd singing the chorus accompanied only by the Edge's chiming gutar, Bono, leading the crowd from the B-Stage, looked back at the Edge and nodded. Edge then neatly segued into the intro chords of All I Want is You. Bono did about half the song, with only Edge's guitar backing him. It sounded fantastic, but I wish the song had not been abbreviated.

Along with the much-improved and more prominent rhythm section, I also notice that Bono now plays intregal guitar parts on cerian songs. Most notably, he played a blistering and distorted backing on Last Night on Earth, and at the end of the song, he played on for about five seconds. Edge also played fabulously, especially his solo on Until the End of the World and the intro to Where the Streets Have No Name.

Chicago is very special to U2 and, with Boston, has U2's most fervent and loyal fan bases. The first two shows were completely sold out (about 80,000) and Sunday's was substanially sold out, with only the corner end zone bleachers empty.

I sat in the second row, right in front of Edge. Bono seemed to spend about a quarter of the time back by the B stage. Though my seats were nearly perfect, the seat by the B stage (where I got tickets for 2 friends) would have provided a better vantage point for the screen.

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