Grand Finale in Boston
The show: Last night
The date: June 9, 2001
This was my
first show... my first U2 show ever. It's difficult to go over its
merits without becoming too emotionally involved with the details.
But here it goes...
or 22nd show, one and all agreed that this was an incredible concert.
The DJs on the radio named it the best U2 has ever played in Boston.
Personally, I don't like to start using the language of "bests"
and "worsts" that is so one-dimensional and doesn't do
justice to anything, let alone a U2 concert. But it is undisputed
that this show had incredible energy from the band and the crowd
U2 played tight
yet loose. Displaying the kind of dominion over their instruments,
their music, and the show that only comes from years of touring
and undeniable skill. Yet, they all seemed to be having fun. Adam
Clayton was all smiles. Larry Mullen even graced us with a grin.
The Edge was as always focused and intense yet a few smiles escaped
from him also. Bono was the fireplug and though he didn't invite
anyone up on stage, he made the connection that he was not only
the world's greatest rock star but also everyone's friend. No one
else can do that. They played like the best band in the universe...
and they knew it.
the audience deserves a special paragraph all to themselves. Though
U2 is good every night (the reputation they enjoy doesn't come without
a reason), when the audience gets involved, it makes a wonderful
concert legendary. That's what happened with Boston 4. The crowd
in the Fleet Center that night was quite honestly the loudest crowd
I have ever heard, the most involved I have ever seen. And I've
been to NBA playoff games, seen Springsteen from the first row...
and this crowd beat all those other crowds. The heart seemed to
know every word to every song. They sang the whole time. The intro
"Sgt. Pepper's" was all but drowned out as people were
"Hoo-whoo"ing in preparation for the opener "Elevation".
During the actual song, Bono's vocals were all but shut out. The
folks in the stands were on their feet almost the whole time. And
this is the clincher... a large part of the crowd recognized "Out
of Control". 'Nuff said. Many people had been there the whole
week. Though fatigued, the crowd was a champ... an entity all to
itself. Their participation and enthusiasm made Boston 4 a legend.
People will talk about this show for a long time to come.
set was emotional, loud and magnetic. She rocked as few know how
to rock in this era of rap/ hip-hop and teen bubble pop. She rocked
better, stronger than many others out there who dare to call themselves
"rock" bands. The crowd response was almost adequate.
The fish cutouts made their first appearance and Polly Jean appreciated
the gesture. Boston deserved her hard work that night. It was about
time the crowd respond to the woman with the most difficult job
in the world.
U2 hit the
ground running with an "Elevation" whose vocals were difficult
to hear amid the crowd's response. Bono delivered the goods though
no one could hear him. Just having U2 there seemed to be enough
for the crowd. Charismatic and endearing, Bono had everyone in his
pocket the moment he hit the stage.
look back from there. Instead of "Beautiful Day" as the
follower to "Elevation", the band tore into "Pride
ITNOL". From that moment on, everyone who hadn't figured it
out already knew it was a special night. Except for people like
me of course who were so blown away, their brains couldn't register
that playing "Pride" so early in the set was a major shakeup
in the setlist. People like me whose night would be just as amazing
if they had played "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" and
like ditties all night long. People like me who weren't expecting
anything from the band, just enjoying LOVING what they were playing,
just happy to have them there in real sweaty life. Who didn't have
hopes for songs that they might or might not hear and so might or
might not be disappointed. But I digress...
At one point,
Bono said something like, "Maybe next time we'll make a jazz
album." At some scattered cheers, he said, "Polka?"
People cheered. They would have cheered if he had been speaking
in Cornish and so unintelligible to everyone in the audience. They
would have cheered if he had been speaking in the language of orca
whales. They didn't care. They just wanted him there. He thanked
Boston several times for the wonderful week, for the people he had
had the honor to meet outside his hotel (the first person to be
honored by stalkers).
was an eye-opening experience. For those who hadn't heard it since
PopMart, "Gone" shown with a new inner light that displayed
facets to the song never seen before. It was glorious with the band
bathed in intensely different-colored lights and Bono playing guitar
as if he were a mini-Edge.
single most exciting moment in the concert if I had to pick one
was when Bono, glasses still covering his eyes screamed into the
mike, "Boston, are you out of control?!" The already delirious
audience roared even louder. I swear the roof of the Fleet Center
creaked in its resting place. The foundations shook in their shoes.
Edge got a smirk on his face as if to say, "You're really going
to enjoy this" as he ripped into the guitar for "Out of
Control". Bono seemed to be loving the song as much as his
crowd. He went just as crazy as them. Everyone sang along. I couldn't
hear him sing. I could just see him, thrashing around the stand
for the mike, barely able to keep himself on stage, flushed red.
It was one
wild ride from there on out. As if riding the roller coaster but
never coming down the other side of the hill.
acoustic set on the tip, "Party Girl" made its first appearance
in years with Bono saying it was a song that had always been "about
the bassist". Audience loved it. Just Bono and Edge playing
a song as if they were street performers, a song born in the 70's
from Dublin teenagers' heads.
was incredible. I just about cried. Maybe I would have if I wasn't
so dehydrated. The lights. Seeing Edge toiling up on stage,singing
through his guitar. Bono on the heart plugging into his heart to
make it all sound so true. He added a snippet of an Elvis Costello
song at the end of it
As the encore
started, Edge came on stage with Ray Borque's jersey on. It looked
huge on him, but the crowd loved him for it. Ray Borque used to
play Boston's pro hockey team, from what I understand.
the Blue Sky" opened with the anti-violence, anti-guns message
on the screens. The well-practiced, mutiple venue, multiple show
people thought they knew what to expect. The strongest frontman
in the business threw us all a curve ball and sang out the most
frightening version of that song I have ever heard on ANY boot or
ANY video. Maybe sang wasn't the right word. It was a scream. The
whole song was like one long, tortured, demented scream. Swinging
his lamp around, standing midway between the stage and the tip on
Edge's side of the heart, it was like he was trying to dispel the
demons hiding in the shadows and inside hearts and minds. If I were
a ghost, he would have had me halfway across the Atlantic with this.
Here are the words: