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"[Larry]'s incredibly direct, incredibly black and white, but he's so professional and so honest. He's a one-take wonder." — Edge

by ObsessiveDetailGuy

Chicago. Night 2. After having GA seats on Night 1 for a lackluster performance, our seats high up in the thin air of the United Center rafters matched our high expectations for this show. And we were not disappointed. The halting, tentative performers we saw last night were replaced with the energetic, crowd-connecting U2 that we all know and love. Bono was charged up and was constantly getting people clapping, singing, jumping up. There was more use of the catwalk than on 1st night (although still not as much as I'd like to see). The Law of U2 Tours continued in force--there will be an off night here and there, but never two off nights in a row.

We were treated to a little intro to the show by some guy who claimed to be from Chicago telling us that the show was being filmed, for the benefit of those who may have missed the cameras scattered around the arena, or the enormous boom stretching out over the heads of those in GA. He told us to keep up an energy level befitting a Chicago crowd (which, as we were told, is the greatest U2 city, which we all already knew). Our fellow Chicagoan left us by saying, "All U2 shows are good; most are great; but tonight--tonight's show is going to be MAGIC." So, no pressure guys.

And before we knew it, we were all swaying along to "Wake Up," and then getting excited as The Voice intoned "Everyone" (Hey, "Everyone"--that includes me!). The lights went down, and we heard the opening notes to...

CITY OF BLINDING LIGHTS - The buildup, the confetti, the lights, the neon-esque effects on the light curtains. What a beautiful song. Works much better as the opener in my opinion.

VERTIGO - After last night's off-tempo version, this was a welcome return to greatness for this song. We couldn't see the surface of the stage the 1st night in GA, obviously, so the chasing red lights were just incredible to watch. Even the UC marquee lights were colored red and chasing around. Have they done that in other venues? We didn't see this at all 1st night. Also, the Stories for Boys snippet was back!

ELEVATION - Again, the marquee lights were colored violet to match the stage lights. Bono missed a few lyrics in the middle of the song, coughed, and then apologized for having "a frog in my throat." So that one's getting reshot tomorrow.

ELECTRIC CO. - A "Boy" album cover image unfurls from behind the stage as this incredible song begins. Luckily, there are a couple of other die-hard fans behind us who were also into the song, but most of the people in our section got lost here. But what an amazing version! "The Cry" intro had the same "I used to cry / Now I know why" lyrics that have become standard this tour (although I still can't quite make out what the last line is). However, the Send in the Clowns snippet was replaced by "Despite all my rage / I am still just a (man) in a cage" (I don't believe he used the word "rat" for most of the times he sang it) from that Smashing Pumpkins song that I can't think of the name of right now. The "I can see for miles" snippet was also gone, replaced by other lyrics that we couldn't make out.

AN CAT DUBH / INTO THE HEART - Another great version of a great song. Bono curls up into the fetal position on the ramp again during the song transition, just like 1st night. Is this meant to symbolize some sort of solidarity with children leading up to Into the Heart? Unlike last night, this time Bono finds a young child to bring up on the ramp. Bono walks her, hand-in-hand, from 4 o'clock to 8 o'clock, and then asks her name. She enthusiatically responds, "Jenna!". A great moment. Jenna is escorted back inside the Ellipse to the opening notes of...

BEAUTIFUL DAY - Great version as always. I love that new way he sings "Touuuuch me!", and the falsetto during every chorus. Bono also jumps on the rail and leans into the crowd, a la Until the End of the World, prompting a frustrated, "Where was that on Saturday!" from my brother. Bono was right where we were on the floor that night. There was also a lyric change along the lines of, "You love this town / Even if you get a bad review" or something to that effect.

NEW YEAR'S DAY - Sounds the same as usual--we all thrill to Adam circling the Ellipse. Those in GA thrilling a bit more than us up in the rafters.

MIRACLE DRUG - At the intro to this song came the first long Bonologue of the night. He mentioned falling in love in Chicago, and then revealed that he fell in love with...Miles Davis. Oh. Right. We knew that. He went on to describe being a young 24-year-old kid who knew nothing about Jazz, but then falling in love with it through hearing Miles Davis out of a hotel room window.

He then mentioned playing a small club in Chicago--"I can't remember the name right now" (People around us scream, "Park West! Park West! Remember, you mentioned it during Out of Control four years ago?". Or something like that.). During that show, he stood on tables, kissed people's girlfriends, and drank their wine. And at that moment, he felt that Chicago had fallen in love with them as well. Thunderous applause erupts. Oh, Bono. You already had us at Hello Hello.

He went on to say that they treasure the past, and thus they have taken the good parts of it along with them, including Pride, SBS, and Streets (way to spoil the set there, Bono). This is obviously another jab at the bad reviews from 1st night. He concluded by saying that they are also embracing the future, so for Chicago, the city of the future, here is a song that "we're strung out on right now--this is our drug."

This leads into an incredible version of Miracle Drug, which is probably my favorite live song from the new album on this tour, me being a big Freedom/Baby's Head Lyric Fan and all (although I sorely miss "God, I need your help tonight"). The "comet" lights are also amazing as they begin on the stage and shoot out onto the Ellipse at the song's climax.

SOMETIMES YOU CAN'T MAKE IT ON YOUR OWN - Bono dedicates this to his father per his standard practice this tour. A tight, powerful version as usual. The main screen showing Bono on all 4 panels from different angles is a nice touch as well.

LOVE & PEACE OR ELSE - Another great version. Bono attacking the bass drum at the end is always a highlight. My brother says he flubbed the lyrics during the bridge, but I missed it.

SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY - Jesus. Jew. Mohammed. It's true. For they are all...sons of Abraham. The "Father Abraham" verse is pretty seamlessly integrated into the song now--it sounds pretty good.

BULLET - Bono's blinded POW pantomime is pretty powerful. We missed that 1st night (or at least I did, due to watching the cool fighter plane graphic on the light curtains). Somehow he manages to feel his way, blindfolded, from kneeling by the drum kit to the mike stand for the "Johnny Comes Marching Home" bit--"When Johnny comes home, girl or boy, will he make it back to Illinois" (or something very close to that). Overall a pretty good version, but I don't like the new bluesy solo or the abbreviated ending. The screaming guitar solo and "rap" at the end made this song what it is.

RUNNING - What an incredible version. I love the new piano between the verses, the harmonica intro, and the guitar solo at the end by Bono. He doesn't seem to be doing the frantic, off-key guitar between the verses anymore that he was doing in the earlier shows, which I've heard on a few (*ahem*) "unofficial" releases.

PRIDE - A solid version, but we've heard it all before. I do like Bono's "throwing" his heart to the crowd during the guitar solo, though (this is the same move as in the Elevation tour). This leads to the standard "Dream big enough to fit the whole world" speech, and into...

STREETS - No red backdrop, and no blinding lights at the beginning? I can't quite embrace this new staging (the "second round" of lights is still there though, which saves it for me). The African-themed chant throughout the song is wonderful, though. And Adam & Bono embracing at the tip of the Ellipse is a great moment. Bono sings the old favorite, "Want to go there with you" line at the end. We couldn't remember him doing this other times on this tour.

ONE - This begins with the now-standard One Campaign speech, although there was no Zoo TV/White House reference tonight. The pixellated Bono on the screen was replaced by people in the crowd both times tonight (no scenes of the band performing). The two-part harmony at the end is incredible, but I miss the "There's no 'them' / There's only us" line from the benefit performances over the past couple years. We were hoping for a little extra song snippet at the end, but no such luck tonight.

ZOO STATION - Has this "slot machine" intro graphic with the astronaut from the Zooropa album cover been used in past shows this tour? The little guy even "speaks" a la Daddy's Gonna Pay, although it's just baby talk. Which led into a great version of this song. The graphic on the curtains were slightly different--it looked like a picture of the president in front of a US flag. Bono had the whole military uniform/goosestep thing going as usual.

THE FLY - Opened with the standard "show business" line. A great version of the song--I love the way he sings the "A man will rise" line this tour. The words on the screen don't really do it for me though--it feels like they're just copying themselves rather than doing something new & original.

MYSTERIOUS WAYS - I love the violet lights that flash in synch with Edge's guitar at the beginning. Bono had everyone jumping at the traditional part in the song. There were some cool, soaring improvised lyrics in place of the "She moves with it" lyrics. There was no one pulled up on stage and no "bullfight," however.

ALL BECAUSE OF YOU - Great version with high energy. Bono takes his tambourine to the edge of the main stage, holds it up in the air, kneels down, and shakes it furiously.

YAHWEH - We were a bit disappointed, as we were hoping for OOTS. But I will never cease to be amazed at the raw, emotional power of this band, able to get an entire arena full of people singing the ancient, sacred name of the Lord God at the top of their lungs. This is also right up there for my favorite live song from the new album. Unlike last night, there was no improvised line about "A Windy City shining on a hill."

At the end of the song, everything was progressing toward a normal "40" ending, but then Bono told everyone to hold on a second. He pointed to the crowd, and at that point we knew someone was getting pulled up on stage to play a song. We all went nuts as Bono said there was a young woman here...and then when she got on stage, amended his statement to say something like, "young woman...she's enormous!" Although she didn't look all that tall to me from 40 stories up. "They grow 'em big & beautiful in Chicago!", Bono exclaimed, and then asked her what she wanted to play. She said, "We want to play...

PARTY GIRL - We all went nuts again. Then we heard a perfect Bm7 ring out over the crowd, as the familiar intro began. She was a bit nervous at first, but overall did a great job. Bono began to sing, and he did an incredibly good job remembering the lyrics, although I thought I heard something about her having the lyrics on hand (he did flub the last verse though). In the middle of all this, he asked her name, which was Laura. And get this, not only did she play the solo, but she stopped just long enough to gesture everyone to do the traditional "Hey! Hey!" over the solo. Those of us in the know obliged, but I could see a lot of people were a bit confused. We were hoping the rest of the band would kick in, but they didn't. I guess they wanted to let Laura have her moment. And have it she did. Great job, Laura! A totally awesome song selection, instead of playing People Get Ready for the millionth time. Almost immediately upon finishing the song, the drums started up for...

40 - A wonderful way to close the show--I never thought I'd get to see the full band perform this live. Bono thanked Chicago again, and put his rosary on the mike stand before departing. He dedicated the song to a priest in Notre Dame whose name I didn't catch.

And then it was over. We left thrilled at the momentum that is building up, and our expectations are even higher now for Nights 3 & 4. Although, as we waded through the crowds to leave the building, we couldn't help but wish for a special EXIT line for u2.com members. Maybe next tour.

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