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"A lot of bands from being on the stage, steal the audience's power. At the end of a U2 concert, the audience still has its power." — Larry



by John "frkyu2" Kahler

U2 at the Staples Center, Tuesday November 19, 2001 The night before (Sunday) about 10 p.m. I received a call from Craig about a ticket I could purchase (1-Floor GA) for $80. I would have to meet Keith in front of the Staples center Box office around 7 a.m. Monday morning, of course that wouldnt be a problem. Monday morning I picked up the ticket and then rushed to make it on time to work. Got off work at 4:30 p.m. then fought the rush hour traffic home to Arcadia to pick up my son Brian and Craig. We arrived at the Staples Center about 6 p.m. then after paying $20 for parking we immediately tried to trade or purchase 2 additional Floor GAs. We had two tickets in section 219 behind the stage on Adams side that Craig purchased the day they went on sale plus the ticket I picked up in the morning. After no luck, we decided to send Brian in with the one GA and Craig and I entered and sat behind the stage. The seats were not to bad and when No Doubt started their set I noticed down in the middle of the heart, Chris whom we met before last Monday 11/12 show, the night we too were in the heart. After a song or two the lights went down and I turned to Craig and suggested we try to get down to the floor. The crowd was already pumped up as Gwen Stefani gallivanted around the stage and the lights went more or less out as we joined the driving crowd down the isle to the back of the Staples floor, we just blended in and made it. Talk about a thrill, I never thought we would make it but seconds later we were within 10 rows of the tip of the heart. Stunned, I started to look around for Brian with no luck; however I did see a few Celebs (Ben Stiller, Elisabeth Shue, Jon Voight) who were hanging out in a secure section in front of the sound control center. We didnt have wristbands so we were stuck on the floor for the rest of the night. We met a girl & her friend (didnt get or couldnt remember their names sorry) who were down from Portland, Oregon and had saw the Sunday show in Las Vegas. They were really cool and were huge u2 fans like us. Thanks to the guy who made the run for the Coronas. The Beatles songs started playing over the speaker system and everyone who familiar with the routine started getting excited, as we knew u2 was about to come out. Just as the other L.A. show we witnessed u2 strolled out to the stage with the house lights completely on as the intro to Elevation started and the whole house was on its feet and rockin. Beautiful Day was next and Bonos voice sounded as good if not better than the previous 2 L.A. shows. Until the End was performed next to perfection. I felt this was going to be the best show I had ever seen, there was a magical feeling you could sense when they surprised me and broke into Mysterious Ways in place of which was just fine. They then played one from way back in their careers Out of Control which at first disappointed me, but by mid way had me rocking and rolling. Bono mentioned L.A. radio station KROQ and u2s next number Sunday Bloody Sunday had everybody singing along. Next was a song Im kind of burnt out on Stuck in a Moment I thought to myself I wish I had a wrist band cause Id go to the can. Next Kite was played and sung immaculately, I had heard one of u2s first versions live during leg 1 of the tour back in April at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim and they definitely had got it together now. After Kite was the acoustic portion of the show and a great underrated song Wild Honey had us in awe as Bono brought a young girl up from the crowd and we watched as Edge and Bono serenaded her just a short distance from where we were standing. After finishing they returned the girl to the floor and broke into an acoustic version of Please that was delightful, I thought to myself how much better this sounds than the studio version, it was as if we were witnessing a cross between the Beatles and Crosby Stills and Nash. They should go back and re-master the whole PoP album unplugged. Then another of my favorites Bad was heavenly, at the end Bono sang some of Whose Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses. Then there was a moment of calm before the storm when Bono took a US flag and ran full out around the stage then u2 broke into Streets and the whole GA floor was bouncing like Mexican jumping beans. It was an amazing feeling. Next was I Still Havent Found and they closed the set with Pride with a short clip of MLK which was inspiring and that completed the main set. As in all the L.A. show we saw, u2 started the encore with Bullet then once again the Marvin Gaye cover of Whats Going On with another appearance by Gwen Stefani of No Doubt singing a duet with Bono. Then long curtains were lowered from the ceiling and spotlights started rolling for New York which was done again to perfection. Then One was played with the names of victims from the 9/11/01 tragedy scrolling on screens behind the stage, again a very moving gesture. Bono then sung a verse from Peace On Earth which was just perfect lead into Walk On which was are warning that the show was about to end. I again felt like I had witnessed a sacred ritual, something exceptional, that I would remember the rest of my life. I knew the show was over and headed towards the exit, thinking how would I be able to raise enough cash for plane tickets and concert tickets for the last show on the tour in Miami, Florida.

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