17 July 2001
Elevation 2001, Bercy, Paris, July 17th
'Jubilation, elevation, jubilation, elevation,' sings Bono at the climax of U2's opening song in Paris show and the words aptly capture the spirit of a transcendental set.
For two and a half hours, 20,000 Parisians join hearts with U2 for one of the finest shows of the tour to date, from the opening falsetto of Elevation to the closing alleluiahs of Walk On.
'This is a song for my Uncle Jack,' says Bono introducing Kite, 'Who has been like a father to me. 'This is about letting go of somebody you don't want to let go of,' and the acoustic ending to this poignant song ('not afraid to die, not afraid to live') segues seamlessly into Bono shouting 'Herman Brood, Herman Brood' - Dutch artist and U2 associate - who recently took his own life. And U2 are playing Gone.
'Ring them bells Edge, ring them bells,' calls the singer as I Will Follow arrives, 'Twenty years ago wrote a love song on two strings, twenty years ago had a sacred heart, still looking for a sacred heart... your eyes make a circle.'
Larry cracks open the introduction to Sunday Bloody Sunday as Bono accepts an Irish flag from a fan behind the stage and walks it across the back of the stage before laying it down with care, like a blanket on the ground, and then addressing the rest of the song to it.
'We are turning this song into a prayer,' he says, 'For better times, for better times.'
And a persistent sense of hope in the midst of sadness is continued with In A Little While, dedicated as ever to Joey Ramone, late of The Ramones. 'He passed away two months ago, this is the last song he heard, he made it into a better tune, it was a song about a hangover, it is now a sort of gospel tune.'
There is a thundering roar of appreciation as Larry walks from the back of the stage to the front for his introduction to Paris, and the same again for Adam, and - 'wearing numero sept'- Le Edge. The four play Desire at the tip of the heart stage, with Larry refusing to close the drum part until Bono remembers to get out his harmonica and finish the song properly. Stay becomes Bad which closes with Forty and, as the distinctive red screens rise at back, Streets opens to a tumultous roar of recognition.
'In the beginning rock and roll used to be dance music,' and everyone is dancing to Mysterious Ways. The singer meanwhile is lapping the stage, not once but twice, for The Fly, ending, with a magical piece of cartoon drama, smack bang into the video screens, metarmorphosed into a motionless, black silhouette, a fly swatted on a pane of glass.
They've 'gotta go, gotta go' but they've also gotta come back too, which they do with Bullet The Blue Sky. 'Outside it's the EU, the EU belong to me and you, EU, me and you, what are we gonna do..'
'Bonsoir Paris, Merci, Merci' and, as earlier in the show, Bono makes a lengthy speech in French, this time thanking the French people and key politicians for working hard on the Jubilee 2000 campaign to cancel the debts of the poorest countries. Wake Up Dead Man, is soon One and Walk On and the French fans won't let U2 go, after such an exhilarating performance.
The band come back on to bow and wave and to thank Paris for their part in a great show. Jubilation, elevation, jubilation, elevation.
What They Played
Until The End Of The World
New Years Day
I Will Follow
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of
In A Little While
Where The Streets Have No Name
Bullet The Blue Sky
With Or Without You