26 September 2005
'We had some great news today'
A doubly historic day with debt relief for Africa and guns laid down in Ireland - a night of celebration in Milwaukee.
Africa has been a dominant theme in every one of U2's shows since setting out on Vertigo'05 and yesterday news came from both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that they would ratify the historic deal made by the G8 leaders in July to cancel the debts of up to 38 countries.
No wonder Bono was pleased, no-one's worked harder on a political campaign that took off in the late 1990's. It was great to be in Milwaukee with 20,000 other U2 lovers and share the moment.
'That was dedicated to our friends who've done their work on Africa,' explained Bono, after a dazzling version of Miracle Drug. 'We had some great news through today. Today is the end of so many years work on the Drop The Debt campaign - thirty eight of the poorest countries on the planet have been set free.
I'd like to congratulate the World Bank and the IMF - they made the right choices. Choices they made because of you.'
Well, that nearly brought the house down: people power rocks - almost as loud as this band. And while we're at it you can check the details on the latest political moves in the fight against global poverty here
You kind of knew it was going to be a hot show from the blinding opening to Blinding Lights, with special greetings here - and in Vertigo - to the Milwaukee audience. The band seem in a really mellow groove on these opening dates of the Fall tour and as Still Haven't Found segued into Beautiful Day everyone sensed we were in for a good night. Could any song top Sunday Bloody Sunday as a moment to offer a nod to another piece of history in the making - the news that the IRA are decommissioning all their weapons.
Bono pulled an Irish flag from the audience in the middle of the song and started to explain how, when he was young, he was never comfortable with it.
'But tomorrow I will feel proud to raise this flag. Because tomorrow sees the end of what is known as 'the Troubles' in Ireland
'You will see on your evening news the Provisional IRA have decided to destroy all their weapons, this is a brave and courageous decision. And we want to salute that ...'
Rarely has a song been quite so topical, maybe not since that night of filming in 1987 for 'Rattle and Hum'... but tonight the emotions were entirely the opposite. Bullet the Blue Sky blasted into the night before Miss Sarajevo, which again seemed new to many people. It took a while for the song to get under their skin but by the time Bono had become the fourth tenor , seemed like everyone was won over. The piano continued playing through the Declaration of Human Rights before Pride and Streets ignited the evening again: it's becoming a real tour moment as Adam and Bono stand on the elipse, lights full on and bursting from the stage behind . 'All you need is love' sang Bono as another fab four introduce a song called One.
'Milwaukee! That is great. this could be a good moment - phones - make a pretty picture, turn this arena into the milky way. Wow that's a C21st moment right there...'
And it is, the power of One, the power of all these people with all this technology, all this goodwill.. and all these great songs. After that we were in the home straight and wanting it never to end: First Time, followed by Wild Horses, With or Without You, All Because of You and then, a double benediction in Yahweh and '40'.