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"I may not be the best bass player in U2, but I am the bass player." — Adam

Beautiful night for U2 fans

- September 24, 2005

by Ross Raihala

From the moment U2 took the egg-shaped stage Friday night at Target Center, it was clear this was a criticism-proof show.

Fiber optic curtains of light descended around The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, tickertape fell from the ceiling and Bono popped up — seemingly out of nowhere — on the far end of a catwalk that circled the stage and held a few hundred extremely ecstatic fans inside its confines.

The band then launched into "City of Blinding Lights," a track from U2's coolly received recent disc "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb." But the audience of 20,240 — a record-breaking number for a Target Center concert, besting a 1992 Eric Clapton gig by 636 — reacted as if they were watching Jesus Christ, Elvis Presley, Allah and Superman.

And with the next song, "Vertigo," the crowd got even more excited.

Bono and company are savvy folk. The overwhelming passion the band inspires in its audience is only strengthened after an event like Friday's. Every aspect of the Minneapolis show — from the aforementioned stage to the bludgeoning sound and lights to Bono's oozing magnetism — is designed to make the evening more than a mere concert. This was meant to be an experience, the sort of thing you tell you grandkids about.

As such, U2 delivered. Mostly, anyway. They invested new cuts like "Miracle Drug" and "Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own" with the same energy and enthusiasm as "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses."

"Elevation" hit with breathtaking force, while "Beautiful Day" and "With or Without You" were so powerful, grown men started to weep, and it nearly felt like the entire Target Center levitated an inch or two off the floor.

Moments like that made it a little easier to handle the clumsier turns like an oddly deconstructed audience-participation take on "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" as well as some of Bono's more groan-worthy messianic poses (musing about the Mississippi River, for instance).

Searing versions of "(Pride) In the Name of Love," "One" and "All Because of You" didn't hurt, either.

"We're a band that's just getting started," Bono said at one point during the show. And he might just be right.

Ross Raihala can be reached at rraihala@pioneerpress.com or 651-228-5553.

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