18 August 2001
Elevation 2001, August 18th, Earl's Court, London, UK, Show One
'London, London, London, London, summer in London where else would you want to be ? asks Bono. 'London Earls Court U2 gig, it's alright, it's great... 'We used to live around the corner when we first came here, 18, 19 years old, we just lived around the corner there and the idea, you know, that one day we would be playing here - it always occurred to us! 'Blind faith is, you know, it's part stupid, part brains, but you know, you're better off sometimes not knowing the obstacles... 'Anyone who's just come out tonight, you've given us a great life, for your faith maybe, and this one's for my father it feels like he wrote this tune...he's very sick at the moment and I just all of a sudden realised that he could have wrote this song.'
'I'd better hurry up - for Bob Hewson, Kite...'
And U2 play Kite for the 'last of the opera stars', as 18,000 British fans enter seventh heaven at seeing U2 play London again. Some of them were at the 'secret' Astoria show in February, but if that was a great night, this one is unbelievable. Was there ever a U2 show in London like this, in all the shows down the years, which Bono, incidentally, has etched on his heart, or at least had etched on a sheet of paper...
'Hope and Anchor, Rock Garden, Electric Ballroom, Acklam Hall, Marquee, Hammersmith Palais, The Lyceum, Brixton Academy, The Dominion, Wembley Arena, Wembley Stadium, Earl's Court, The Astoria, Earl's Court, Earl's Court, Earl's Court...'
U2 play Sunday Bloody Sunday for '29 names I can't remember right now' and everyone knows the song is for the victims of the Omagh bomb atrocity, three years ago. 'Get Up, Stand Up, stand up for your rights Get Up, Stand Up, stand up for your rights ...but never take a life never, no, we're not going back there no, we're not going back there no, we're not going back there Sunday Bloody Sunday, we're so sick of it, we've had enough..'
Wake Up Dead Man runs seamlessly into Stuck In A Moment and then into that song Joey Ramone reinvented without even realising what he was doing. 'Want to play a tune that was a good tune but now it's a great tune and it's a great tune simply because Joey Ramone was the greatest singer of one of the greatest bands ever, he liked this song, so suddenly it is actually better - it went from a song about a hangover to a gospel song just through Joey's ears I guess. 'We started out listening to the Ramones and we wouldn't be here without the Ramones...'
Embracing Edge, wearing his burgundy No.7 tonight, Bono is suddenly recalling long journeys between gigs all those years ago. 'On our tour bus going up the M1 from where we lived round the corner, we used to drive up to Birmingham and Manchester and coming back Edge could sleep standing up, he was trying to balance his really large brain I think... 'Larry, will you come down here ? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? I developed a bad knee so I could sit in the front... 'This man' he continues, pointing to Adam, 'Told us first before we even were whispered to by our egos or by our mothers, this man told us we could get all the way, Adam Clayton - on the bass...'
The band begin to play but Bono is still remembering: 'Larry used to bring his own sleeping bag, now that I remember, he used to bring his own sleeping bag so he wouldn't have to deal with the sheets, I do remember that...'
Stay becomes Bad ('Addictions, about ordinary addictions...') and Where The Streets Have No Names, and then Mysterious Ways and London, Earls Court has been lifted higher, gone into paroxysms of ecstacy. 'I'm jumped up, I'm jumped up,' announces Bono, 'Let's have it London,' and, London, London, lets go.
'Walk out into a sports hall, exhibition centre, lights go down, whole scene changes, whole scene changes, light and motion, turn a light on emotion...' so saying U2 play The Fly, with Edge at the top of the catwalk and Bono making a meal of the hand of a fan, jumping at the point of the heart, racing the catwalk, landing, splatt, against the video walls.
'The last time you saw us we were stepping out of a citrus fruit at Wembley Stadium and I want to tell you that was one of the great shows of our life,' recalls the singer. 'The fact that London really went off at PopMart, that really meant a lot to us. 'So we had a lemon, we've brought you a heart, but you need both in your life I think.. 'I want to thank Kelis and Stereophonics and all the different people over the tour here and I want to thank you for following us down the Jubilee 2000 road that was really important to us. 'My boss on Jubilee 2000 who is here tonight, Anne Pettifor, give it up to her, lot of respect for that, there is still so much to do you know, and we will take to the streets if we have to. 'Civil disobedience plays a noble part in history, getting on to the streets, we'll go to the next G8 summit, we won't got with petrol bombs or bullets or batons but we'll go with an argument that's irrefutable, an argument that says an African life is worth the same respect as a European or American life - not just civil rights, human rights, the right to live like a human...'
And halfway through One, Bono dedicates it to Liam Gallagher, singer with Oasis, who is at the show with All Saint girlfriend Melanie Blatt.
The final song Walk On is for Aung Sang Su Ki.
'Thank you for a great life, thank you for a great night, more lights, music, magic, music is magic, turned me into something, still nothing, nothing, nothing...something..'
And so, taking these enigmatic words with him, the singer and the band are gone.