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Old 10-27-2001, 08:39 PM   #1
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October 25 NYC Concert

before I start, I just want to say sorry to Bono for all the misquotes, my brain is not a computer but I did my best to remember and paraphrase what I could..
with that said, this is an attempt to capture that concert in words although you could multiply it by 100 and still not quite be there...

Thursday night was amazing. I could say that a million times over and it would never convey what I mean. This concert was not just about a rock band or their music. It was a journey, painful and tumultuous, but at the same time inspiring and comforting.

U2 kicked it off with Elevation as usual, but it was obvious right from the beginning how charged the crowd was. They were there for more than just music this time; they were there to face all the horrible emotions, fear, death, anger, grief that our world has been plummeted into since September 11th , and this confrontation was going to take place in the heart of the wound, where there were NYPD, FDNY, as well as friends, and I’m sure family, of those lost participate.

I know there are people that feel that Bono preaches, I personally don’t, but this time Bono pushed no issues, no causes. He let the power of human emotion dictate the concert, and he let the people grieve. In Beautiful Day, you felt not the story of one individual discovering himself, but the story of a city discovering for itself a hope and a courage it didn’t know it possessed. In Until the End of the World, when Edge subdued Bono, forcing him to the ground even as Bono played along, feebly putting up a hand to the guitar strings to stop him, you could feel the drowning anguish in the music, that bewildered, hopeless feeling we’ve all been submerged in. And we knew it was ok, even if it wasn’t alright.

New Year’s Day and Sunday Bloody Sunday were as much of a cry for new beginning as they were a cry of righteous anger, and for the first time, I didn’t feel guilty about my emotions. You could see in the faces of the people that they didn’t either, and Bono, who I admire so much, offered no apologies. He too, was feeling what everyone else was.

At one point in the concert, he spoke of the progress being made with the disarming of the IRA, and then said, with conviction of the September 11th attacks, “It will never happen again. Never.” Later on he made reference to Spinal Tap, saying they were wrong; NYC is the true Capital of rock ‘n roll, “and the Capital of tolerance, and diversity, and now the Capital of courage and hope.” He paused before adding, “And the Capital of attitude,” in his thick Irish brogue which was drowned by ecstatic, proud cheering of people who realized that nobody can take whatever they’re trying to take away from us, hard as they may try.

When Will I See You Again led into a soul-filled rendition of Stuck in a Moment that seemed to soothe the fired-up crowd, even if it didn’t come remotely close to quieting them. Kite was once again a show-stealer for me, leaving me breathless. Before they started, Bono said, “My brother’s in the house tonight. Yes, Norm is here, and our father just left us a couple of months ago. This is for him.” He sang an unforgettable performance, nearly crying in several places but somehow finding the strength to continue on, and then repeating wistfully, over and over again at the end, “good-bye, good-bye, good-bye.” I’ve never wanted to hug that man so badly in my life, but I realized I didn’t need to; he could feel the love of tens of thousands of singing people who knew and were experiencing exactly what he was going through. It was something I’ll never forget.

We were then treated to Angel of Harlem, a true NY song, and one I’ve never experienced live, followed by a complete acoustic version of Stay by Bono and Edge, during which Bono put an FDNY cap, given to him by a fan, on backwards. During Bad, Bono pulled a girl up on stage to dance with him, kissing her on the cheek before letting her back down. Streets was as powerful as ever but it was afterwards that my biggest surprise of the concert came. It took me a moment to realize what they were playing before I went wild with everyone else. We were getting a performance of I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For!! It was easily as wonderful as I’d dreamt it would be, and it echoed the sentiments, those of searching, that I’d been feeling.

Pride came after that, with MLK’s speech being played in it just like last time. While the crowd was singing their “oh-oh-oh-oh”s, Bono spotted some people running around with a U.S. flag in the upper levels. We waited about thirty seconds or so while they passed it down and then Bono draped it, amidst wild cheering, over the mic stand and then sang the rest of the song through it. He then pulled off his leather, U.S. flag-lined jacket revealing an FDNY shirt he was wearing, which only heightened the noise in the building.

When U2 went off after Pride, they were brought back not by the echoing plea of the crowd singing “How long.....to song this song....?” but instead by resolute chants of “USA! USA! USA!” Bullet the Blue Sky served as no backdrop for a political issue this time. U2 left the interpretation open to the audience and compassionately respected people’s feelings in the process. Bono and Edge then did a cover of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On.

New York was played with the change of lyrics that has been performed lately, and if I’d thought the crowd was loud before, they smashed that impression with their insane screaming as the Twin Towers were projected across the screens. I still have no idea how I kept my own voice.
New York was followed by One, which was too powerful to express in words. As the names of those that perished in the hijacked planes, and the members of the lost NYPD and FDNY scrolled up the blue screen, I sang with all my soul, and yes, I couldn’t help but cry as many others around me were. It was the loudest prayer I’ve ever heard and possibly ever will. There is no way God could miss that one. One faded out into Unchained Melody, expressing all the numb yearning for loved ones that is to go unanswered.

Walk On was more than the perfect closer. I didn’t think it could become any more qualified for the job, but after One, the performance U2 put on in this song reminded me so very much of the spirit I’ve seen in NY. A couple of weeks ago, I went there expecting to see devastation and sorrow. What overwhelmed and struck me more than anything else was nothing at all like that. Everywhere I went, there was a sense of quiet determination and resilient hope, despite the unimaginable loss. Walk On was a true anthem for an incredible community of people, and more so for all the people of the world who were hit so hard. U2 once again left me speechless with their ability to express emotions.

As the boys left the stage for the final time, you could see their reluctancy. Nobody wanted it to end. Even the usually stoic Larry did more than just abruptly acknowledge the crowd; he lingered to the last moment, waving enthusiastically. When Bono said, “Good night. God bless you,” I wanted to scream, “No. God bless YOU!! And thank you for everything even though I’ll never be able to thank you guys enough.”

U2 had indeed played more than a rock concert. They had once again proven themselves as the best band in the world for more reasons than just the fact that Bono’s voice was unbelievable, Larry and Adam were right on, Edge’s guitaring was so dizzily captivating, or the set list was perfect. They had shown that they were absolutely incomparable to anyone else when it comes to soul. If the goal was soul, then U2 more than scored. They took an arena full of people with them, to a place where you could afford to leave it behind.

Thank you, U2, and all my love to you.

but for the grace of love I'd will the meaning of heaven from above...

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Old 10-27-2001, 08:41 PM   #2
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i dunno why the sad face is there, must have uncontrollable hands

ignore it please

but for the grace of love I'd will the meaning of heaven from above...

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Old 10-27-2001, 08:42 PM   #3
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That was a really beautiful review. I did read the whole thing, I just read really fast!! It's good to know that U2 can help people to work through their emotions like that. I found songs like Walk On and New York moving enough before, but now...Wish I'd been there, it must have been amazing. Thank you.

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Old 10-27-2001, 09:04 PM   #4
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That was honestly one of the best reviews of a U2 show I've ever read.
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Old 10-27-2001, 09:38 PM   #5
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Awesome review BabyGrace, thanks a lot.

Seu país é lindo. Seu povo é lindo. Suas vozes são lindas. Não esqueceremos vocês. - Bono - São Paulo - 01/31/1998
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Old 10-27-2001, 09:40 PM   #6
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That was really touching, BG.

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Old 10-27-2001, 11:24 PM   #7
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Great review. I get the sense that U2 provided just the right sentiment for the city, it must have been really special to be there with them!
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Old 10-28-2001, 12:55 AM   #8
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wow fabulous review lil sis
thanks for sharing your take on U2 with us
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Old 10-28-2001, 06:45 AM   #9
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Thankyou bg...felt like I was there.
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Old 10-28-2001, 02:10 PM   #10
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That's a beautiful review...

"That's why i still love playing live in a rock'n'roll band. There's just this feeling of this thing could just about do anything..." - Edge

"Something inside said this could be everything in your life." - Bono

"U2 as a band does things no one else can do. I think that is a very powerful thing." - Larry

"Adam believed in the band before anyone did." - Bono

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