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"Pop is often the oxygen of politics." — Bono




by John "frkyu2" Kahler

U2 at the Staples Center, Monday November 12, 2001 When we heard that U2 was coming back to Southern California in November my friend Craig and I knew we had to go. We had seen them in April at the Anaheim Arrowhead Pond and it was great. I had to work the day tickets went on sale so Craig said he would go to Ticketmaster the day tickets went on sale. The 11/12 show immediately sold out. An additional show was added and before Craig could get close to the front of the line, the 11/13 show sold out. Dejected Craig left for work. On the way he heard on the radio that another show was added and he turned back and was able to purchase two tickets for the 11/19 show. We promised ourselves that we would get tickets for the other shows and began saving our money for the sure high price of Ticket Brokers or (as a last resort) scalpers. About two weeks before the show we purchased two floor tickets. We decided we would camp outside the Staples Center and get inside the heart. We arrived at 6:30 a.m. and after paying $20 for parking we got in line and were numbers 90 & 91 in a line across the street from the Staples Box Office. At 7 a.m. the line (about 175 people) moved to the other side of the Stadium where barricades were set up for people with floor GAs where everyone camped out for the rest of the day. At about 5 p.m. an announcement was made to load up our cars with everything that wont be going into the concert. At 5:15 a hard rain began to fall. Then amazingly someone at the front of the line unfolded a plastic tarp that when spread out completely covered about the first 100 people in line. At 5:30 they opened the doors and in a short time later we were on the floor standing in the middle of the heart. The show started at 7:40 p.m. with Gwen Stefani and No Doubt leading a eventful opening act that we enjoyed much more than P.J. Harvey back at the April show. After about less than an hour of set up with music playing low in the back round, The Beatles song All you need is Love began playing through the speaker system and the crowd sensed that it was getting close as we all sang along. Then Sgt Peppers started playing and at its conclusion Bone, The Edge, Adam and Larry waving as they strolled out onto the stage. The crowd went wild. The intro to Elevation had started as Bono led the crowd who sang along their Woooo Wooos. This was my fifth time I had seen u2 since the first Pop Mart Tour and I had never heard Bono sound better. Musically u2 was tighter than I remembered in April. They played their Grammy winning Beautiful Day next flawlessly. It was sheer pleasure to the ears when the boys took us back to 1991 with Until the end of the World. U2 then broke into New Years Day Edge playing right in front of us the electric piano and guitar was awesome. They then played Sunday Bloody Sunday with Bono hugging a U.S. flag that someone from the heart gave to him (see photo) after what seemed like an eternity he looked up and sang Wipe your tears away it was very moving. U2 then played a one off the new CD Stuck in a Moment which Bono dedicated to his Father who had passes away earlier during the tour. A wonderful version of Kite was played which we heard back in April at the Pond but was played a bit slow back then, but not now, it was a pleasure. The Band played Angel of Harem then Bono and Edge went down the heart shaped catwalk and much to my amazement a girl was brought up from the heart to play a song People Get Ready first with Bono and Edge and then Adam and Larry joined in to complete the song. She must have been on cloud nine. Then Bono and Edge did a acoustic duet version of Please that was absolutely fabulous. (thats two from the Pop CD that are great unplugged) The full band then broke into Bad a song I wanted to hear live back in April but which they didnt play on the night I was there. At this point I was amazed at how great u2 sounded and Bonos voice was a good as I ever heard it. There was mass jubilation when they played Streets everyone was jumping for joy. I Still havent found was next then they finished the set with Pride including a short excerpt video of Dr.Martin Luther Kings I have a dream speech. Encore: U2 came out with Bullet then they did a Marvin Gaye song Whats Going On that kind of confused me at first but then Gwen Stefani came up and sand a duet with Bono and it electrified the crowd and turned out to be a highlight of the show. With long curtains dropped from the ceiling around the heart and with lights flashing square on the curtains to symbolize the city, U2 broke into New York. Then with a touching gesture of scrolling the names of victims from the September 11th tragedy the band broke into a wonderful version of One The show ended with the bands latest anthem Walk On which broke into a chorus of Hallelujah. I felt so lucky to have experienced what was my best concert I ever witnessed of U2. Walking out I knew we had 2 tickets in the cheap seats for next Monday 11/19 show but we both agreed we had to get tickets for Tuesdays show.

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