May 16th 2001
Thank You for the Elephant
Fourth of four sold out nights here at the United Center in Chicago and the last show before band and crew take a short break mid-tour - maybe this explains why suddenly a lot of things get thrown up in the air just to see how they might land.
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For gets a debut airing tonight, Wake Up Dead Man receives a small resurrection and Beautiful Day goes from one end of the set to another.
Still, what can you expect with the debut appearance of a small battalion of feather boas in the heart tonight, someone carrying a sign reading 'The Edge for Pope' and another, suggesting the unusual demographic of the audience, 'Dance with me and my mum'. And so courteous and thoughtful this audience - someone even carries a sign thanking members of the crew.
The band have enjoyed their week in Chicago. 'We have a lot of friends here,' explains Bono, 'Some really beautiful long nights here. 'I spent my birthday here - thank you for the elephant, it was a great present to find outside. This is for a friend we lost along the way, a great mate and a great singer. It's kind of an argument you might have but you can't 'cos they're not around anymore...'
The Real Thing has become One which has become Until The End of the World and New Year's Day before this nightly dedication to the late Michael Hutchence.
'The Irish have been coming here for years,' says Bono, as New York begins and he snatches a line from Joy Division's Transmission - 'dance, dance, dance to the radio' - and, he is still reminiscing in I Will Follow. 'Twenty odd years ago I came walking down these streets, twenty odd years ago same tunes, same beats, I got a song to sing, I got a melody, I got a song to sing... 'Never trust a singer telling every city the same thing just to make it go their way but I'm ... different.'
And the ovation of approval from the crowd suggest they agree and are soon singing Sunday Bloody Sunday with U2, while Bono hugs Edge and knocks the plug out of his guitar, helpfully humming a tune to pass the time as the guitarist sorts it out.
He kisses an Irish flag from a fan and hands it back before they take it carefully home to a thousand anecdotes and, with Sweetest Thing, refers to his own sweetest: 'Going home, gonna see my baby, my baby has a baby.'
Larry Mullen Jnr plays drums for U2, 'Lord' Adam Clayton ('looking a bit sleepy tonight') plays bass guitar, The Edge ('Wearing the No. 7 shirt tonight.') plays the other guitar and the band play on, surprising everyone with the reconfigured set list. Angel of Harlem, Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For ('haven't sung this for about 3 years, it's an old b-side of ours.') All I Want Is You, Where the Streets Have No Name , Pride (In The Name of Love).
'Thanks for taking us in, says Bono to Chicago. 'I want to dedicate this to the Chicago Peace Museum, lest we forget, lest we forget...'
Beautiful Day leads to I Remember You, 'a song that Joey Ramone taught me when I was 16 years old' which segues into Walk On and the Chicago chapter of Elevation 2001 draws to a close.