Elevation 2001, Zurich, Show One, July 23rd
'We were good then but we're great now...'
Well, let no-one say U2 shows are predictable. Let's start this report from the first show in Zurich with the tale of Didier the Belgian, and his sign.
Bono sights Didier holding up a sign, dancing in the heart, and asks, 'Do you play guitar?' Clearly he does, as the sign indicates. 'There's a gentleman the Edge, you're a musician, there's a gentleman here who wants to play your guitar...' at which point Didier is pulled onstage by the singer. 'Be cool or I'll be very uncool, Dallas Schoo can we get Edge an electric?...' at which point Didier is suggesting People Get Ready' as his opening number for the Swiss fans.' You know the words ?' asks Bono, 'Cos I'm not sure..we've played it before but it was a long time ago...'
Didier starts to play and Bono starts to sing.
'People get ready for up and coming guitar players, with a lot of attitude and nothing to lose, you can screw up the show and go home early, but if you get it right the lord above will shine his love.... 'People get ready I was 17/18, I started my band from the northside of Dublin, Faith is the key it stills keeps my heart beating, My heart will go on like that awful song...'
At which point, with Didier in seventh heaven, his fifteen minutes is up and the singer asks him, 'Can I have the guitar back... '
But there were other songs tonight too and other guitarists, notably one wearing a red No. 7 shirt.
'Hi folks...how's it going? ' asks Bono in Swiss German, which apparently fails to crossover. 'That was the Scottish version,' he quips. 'We've got people from all over the shop here from Slovenia, from Naples, hope you brought some pizza. 'We've played here three times now, on the Joshua Tree we played this building and also Zoo TV. We were good then but we're great now... This is for my father, for Bob, this is Kite...'
I Will Follow arrives and clearly this band are 'off' as the singer puts it. 'Ring those bells Edge, make those bells ring, ring those bells for them, love song on two strings, ring those bells Edge, silver and gold, ring those bells, never grow old, never grow old, we'll never grow old, our spirit will never grow old...the lines on my face, for the lines on my face, my heart beat can run the race... spirit will never grow old...'
Three days on from Genoa, the memory is still vivid: 'We've come back from Genoa, Italia, let me tell you something that we learned from Genoa, Italia, 3 days ago...we learned that violence, violence is never right, we're angry, that's OK, to be angry, is alright...'
U2 open up with Marley's Get Up, Stand Up, everyone singing too, 'Stand up for your rights but never take a life...'
'We're so sick of it,' he laments at the end of the song, 'We've had enough,' he adds, taking an Irish flag from a fan. 'Ask anybody, ask anybody, violence is never right.'
After thanking the audience in German, French, Italian, and English, In A Little While is for 'a painter friend of ours, his name is Herman Brood and they put him in the ground just two days ago.. Herman Brood, great painter from Holland.'
After Desire ('Wearing the No. 7 shirt and singing like a bird, the Edge, wearing the same shirt he's been wearing all day Larry Mullen Jnr, wearing somebody else's shirt Adam Clayton, come on down...') comes Didier's moment of glory and then Stay is for Wim Wenders, Bad, about addictions and Mysterious Ways ... about dancing. because 'In the beginning rock'n'roll used to be dance music...'
'You go into a sports hall, the lights go down and everything changes, light and motion, turn your light on emotion...' and a woman is pulled from the crowd to the stage to embrace on the catwalk.
'I want to thank Kelis for opening the show - what an extraordinary woman, what an extraordinary band - this is for any of you that followed us down the Jubilee road. As any banker knows if someone goes bankrupt we don't hold his children and his children's children we know that don't we ? Any banker knows that.' 'Now we've got to tell the G8 over and over and over, let our people go...'
Which brings on Walk On and a show to tell the grandchildren about. Especially if you are Didier.