29 July 2001
U2 Elevation Tour - Berlin Show Report
'Where is the moon? There is the moon...'
You had to be there, on a wet but memorable night in Berlin, as Bono introduced Kite in German:'Where is the moon? There's the moon'
And then switching to English, he continued: 'Here in Berlin is where Achtung Baby was born and that is good - yes ?'
'Welcome to the mayor of Berlin and also Michael Mittermeier thanks so much for coming out.. 'I'm sorry for the rain and the trouble that the rain may have brought some of you getting here especially the Sohne Mannheims, I'm sorry for that but we're gonna have an extraordinary night tonight'
And so it proves to be at The Waldbuhne, an outdoor amphitheatre in a forest on the city outskirts, despite the fact that support act Sohne Mannheims had to pull out of the show late in the day and the leading German comedian Michael Mittermeier - who was originally just coming to see the show - stepped in do a half hour warm-up.
There is more praise for the city when Bono introduces New York ('Berlin is the new New York') and then the first single.
'Ring those bells Edge, make those bells ring, wrote a love song on two strings, 10 years we walked down these streets with our melodies and our beats, 10 years, the winter was cold, 10 years we made a record that sold, our spirit will never grow old'
Sunday Bloody Sunday has added poignancy tonight, with the show coming not long before Irish and British politicians unveil new political proposals to break the deadlock which has bogged down the peace process in Northern Ireland. 'Today, tonight is a big night for the people of Ireland because tomorrow in the north of Ireland they will have to decide whether to go in peace or back to violence, so tonight we make our song a prayer, a prayer' Again the song snatches Marley's Get Up Stand Up: ' Stand Up for your rights, never ever take a life no more, no more, no war, no war we're so sick of it, we've had enough' he sings, closing the song with the request, 'Turn this song into a prayer'
In My Life serves as introduction to Stuck In A Moment before In A Little While. 'You alright? Amazing, amazing place, I just want to show you somebody here, just check this..' And so saying Bono lifts a young woman from the audience who is wearing a Ramones t-shirt. 'You see this is a Ramones t-shirt, now the Ramones were the reason why we started this band, we owe so very much to the Ramones and I want you to know that Joey Ramone became a little bit of a friend before he died a few months back and this next song was the last song he heard in this world and actually he made it a much better song, I don't know how. 'It was a song written about a hangover and he made it into a gospel song and this is a cool t-shirt and I love you' And the fan and the singer embrace as he opens the song and then puts her in it:'I've known her since she was - five minutes ago - but it's been truly a little while'
It is time for some introductions - and some ovations. 'Wearing No 3, a card carrying genius this is the Edge.' 'The man who started this band, Larry Mullen Jnr come on down.' 'The first manager of U2 on the bass Adam Clayton.'
'Any punk rock bands, any hip hop, hard rock, pop, any one here tonight starting out this is for you, a song about blind ambition, it helps the blindness' and as Larry's long-time drum-tec Sam O'Sullivan walks up the catwalk with Larry's drum at end of the song, Bono adds. 'This is Sam O'Sullivan, the legendary Sam O Sullivan walking off with the drums, a big hand for Sam...'
A big hand is promptly provided.
Stay brings back memories of the city they are in tonight. 'We would be wrong not to mention that we had, ten years ago, a very special time in Berlin, in Hansa Studios. 'This is a period when our good friends the Americans reckon we got all weird on them. This is true. But you know if you're four young men from the northside of Dublin you need to get a little weird sometimes and we heard the weird and extraordinary and uplifting records that were being made in Hansa Studios and we thought we should go and become students there so we came to your city to study your rather odd behaviour - because Berliners are just not straight folk right ? - and we like that. We like that very much.
'This is a song we started there it was inspired by a Wim Wenders film Far Away So Close. 'Three O'clock in the morning, it's quiet and only Anja's around,' he sings, referring to friend and photographer Anja Grabert who is at the show tonight.
Berliners, needless to say, lap this up, loving U2 as much as U2 love them. And so arrrives Bad, ('Addictions, addictions') and Streets and Mysterious Ways ('Jump it up, I'm jumped up') and then Bono spots a fan dressed as MacPhisto and pulls him on stage. 'You walk out into the Waldbuhne the lights go down and everything changes, light and motion, you turn a light on emotion'
'Beautiful, beautiful night, thank you,' says the singer at the end of With Or Without You, as everyone asks, How long to sing this song.'
'Thank you for giving us a great life, thank you for following us down the Jubilee road, the drop the debt campaign, the richest countries have squeezed enough out of the poorest countries... 'I was in Genoa last week, it was a shock, it was a warzone, I was ashamed to see politicians hiding behind a high wall... 'I am angry, violence is never right whether it's the protestors or the police, but we can be angry because the world shrinks and more and more people are left with nothing.. malaria, we can cure malaria, it's just money, that is violence'
And it is One, followed by Wake Up Dead Man - just Bono and Edge - and then Walk On, with its lyric of hope scattered far and wide.