24 May 2001
Elevation 2001, May 24th, Air Canada Centre, Toronto
It's the first show back on the road after a week off and a new baby in the family and we're already half way through the North American leg of Elevation 2001.
As if that were not reason enough for a top show tonight, it's also the 60th birthday of Bob Dylan which Bono reminds fans of several times during the show - even introducing a different song to the show list to mark the occassion.
'We played Maple Leaf Gardens here about 20 years ago,' recalls Bono, introducing Stuck In A Moment you Can't Get Out Of. 'And I just want to say, you have a lot of patience. It's taken us a few years to get back in a club. We have a lot of mates here in Toronto and it's just really spoiled us.'
'Some Fires You Can't Put Out - Please Play Unforgettable Fire' reads one sign held aloft by a Canadian fan. 'It's All About The Drums' reads another.
'Happy Birthday Bob Dylan' announces the singer before Edge fires the opening chords of Elevation, which ends tonight with a snatch of Mr Tambourine Man. Beautiful Day closes with a nod to another birthday boy: 'Baby, my baby is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful baby boy.'
'Chris Blackwell is here,' says Bono, referring to the man who founded Island Records and originally signed U2 in 1979. 'Blow out the candles it's Bob Dylan's birthday, I got a baby....'
Blackwell is a special guest tonight, as is Bill Flanagan, author of arguably the bestU2 book yet written and Harrison Ford - of whom more in the latest Willie Diaries!
Sunday Bloody Sunday has yet greater potency tonight, given Bono's introduction, as he takes an Irish flag from a fan and lays it on the heart walk.
'This may not mean much to you but a couple of days ago I met and shook hands with Gerry Adams for the first time. He's the leader of the (Irish) Republicans. I swore I would never shake his hand and I'm ashamed I had this thought but I'd had it for years. 'Anyway, I shook his hand and I shook the hand of the Unionist man on the other side. This was a long way from Toronto.... 'Right now, I'd like to shake the hand of Larry Mullen Jnr - on the drums, Larry Mullen Jnr - and I'd like to shake the hand of our first manager Adam Clayton, the poshest member of U2. 'Wearing the No 55 shirt, I'd like to shake the hand of The Edge...'
In A Little While is introduced as a song which 'was made holy' by Joey Ramone, ' a song about a hangover which he turned into a gospel song' which has soon become Stay, a song that started in Berlin in the early '90's, and then Bad, 'a song about addiction'.
The mobile phones are sprouting like leaves in spring as Where the Streets Have No Name opens up, a song that now always begins with a psalm and should probably be dedicated to 'everyone listening at home'.
Mysterious Ways, via a hint of Sexual Healing, gives way to The Fly and a triple circuit of the catwalk by Bono.
'Thank you so much, thank you for paying your hard earned cash on a rock show. Thank you for giving us a great life, thanks to PJ Harvey for opening up tonight. 'Thanks to my missus for giving me a beautiful boy. Thank you for going down the road on Jubilee 2000. It's astonishing that in our lifetime an entire subcontinent, Africa, is being flushed down the toilet - in our lifetime, like watching the Jews going to the gas chamber. It's not good enough, call your senators, call your congressmen, call your politians and tell them Bono's gonna get really mad at you. ' And then a special mention to a Canadian politician who has made a difference in the campaign to cancel the unpayable debts of the worlds poorest countries. 'I don't normally thank politicians but your finance guy Paul Martin was good to us and Canada, you're leading the way on debt issues. You've got to give him credit, he sees a rock star sitting in his office and says (pause)....'OK.' God Bless you..'
Forever Young begins for Bob Dylan on his sixtieth and, as the song starts, a fan in the heartarea at the front of the stage gets down on one knee and proposes to his girlfriend.' (She said yes, apparently - if you're out there, let us know!).
It's time for Walk On - 'Thank you Toronto,Thank you.'