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"Anyone can be trashy and flashy. To be transcendent, you have to connect emotionally, and it has to be beautiful. Stadium concerts can be a Neanderthal experience. If we expect people to come, we've got to create the greatest show on Earth." — Bono

by TomG

Sunday, May 13…Sweet Home Chicago. It's A Beautiful Day (pun intended) in the Windy City, and the Lakefront is alive with happy tourists….I am one of them. Tess and I decide to head down to United Center around 6pm to spend the pre-show nursing down a pitcher of margaritas in the parking lot, while blaring a few live U2 shows over the CD player in my rental car. This is the first show for Tess, but for me it's #5. We make some friends in the parking lot, and I am the only one who has seen the show thus far. Everyone is excited, and they should be! We decide to forego the PJ Harvey set, as I have already seen her act, and Tess has never heard of her. Besides, there were margaritas to be had.
Around 7:45 the margaritas were making their way through our bodies, as they tend to do…so we head into the arena and bid farewell and "good show" to our new friends. By the time we get settled inside, use the cash machine, etc. it is 8:45…almost U2 time. This show was different. The first big surprise for me came when they played PRIDE where UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD normally resides in the set list (song #3). Were we in for a treat tonight? Not really. They never did replace it in the encores. Also, for some reason they did not use the drop scrims for NEW YORK, Bono delivered the whole song from the stage for the most part. Don't know why. In fact, Bono didn't play on the catwalk near as much as in previous shows, maybe he was tired. At one point he said, " We're having such a great week in Chicago, I might advise against attending the later gigs". They did bring back DISCOTEQUE/STARING AT THE SUN, which I hadn't seen since Miami, and also SWEETEST THING and GROUND BENEATH HER FEET. I think my favorite moment of Chicago #2 was (believe it or not) the omission of BAD, replaced by a full band performance of ALL I WANT IS YOU. I'd seen it acoustically in Ireland last March (for Freedom of the City)…but a full band version of that song with 18,000 people singing along is a really special moment.
I'd seen them do BAD at every U2 show I've ever been to in my life, so I wasn't disappointed as some fans may have been. Another thing that veteran ELEVATION TOUR audience members must have noticed, was that Bono did not use the video screens during MYSTERIOUS WAYS, another sign that he was a bit tired…..along with cutting the double sprint around the heart during STREETS. Have the boys been spending too much free time at the local Irish pubs? That's alright, we forgive them.
Get some rest boys, see you in Philly on June 11.

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