Nov
14
2005

Spanish Lessons in Miami

'Lucky for me, lucky for Miami, lucky for me, lucky for us,' says Bono as City of Blinding Lights comes to a close and we get set for Vertigo. 'Spanish lessons, Spanish lessons, Miami! Teach us some Spanish - hola Miami, hola mi hermanos, hola mamcitos, hola Miami. Uno, dos, tres, quatorce!'

It's four years since U2 last played in Miami and judging by the decibel levels tonight they could have sold out this American Airlines Arena every night since. As Vertigo explodes, there's usually a tell-tale sign giving away the level of the love. Tonight ? Has to be the crew members operating spots way up in the lighting nests... and still finding time to get in this groove.

'Gente caliente!' shouts the singer, sexy people!. 'S'okay to flirt here in Miami ? Is that ok? Where would be? Flirt with the people Larry Mullen, Jr.! '

Elevation gives way to Mysterious Ways with those slo-mo hands waving on the screens behind in purple, red and orange. The silhouetted dancing girls are a kind of cross between hip-hop and go-go and with no-one jumping up to dance with him tonight, Bono breaks into a moment of exotic wailing before Edge drives the song onward. (Miscellaneous aside: there's a couple of people wearing special 'The Larry Mullen Band' shirts tonight, their own homage to the birthday night shirts the band wore for Larry a couple of weeks back.)

Edge is on Larry's riser to open Until The End of the World (here's a song making a late pitch for a regular appearance on the tour) and then off down the ramp and into the audience, meeting Bono for their nightly duel as the arms of hundreds reach out to touch them. It's a hot performance of a hot number. So hot, it's momentarily confused the singer.
'Where are we? Where am I? Miami - nowhere else on earth. It's good! its very good... from the time we opened the Elevation tour in this city, there's a special thing with our band and this place. Something very special happened when we started that tour, like this city gave us a big kiss... so here's one back.'

And who wouldn't want to be kissed by Still Haven't Found, not least around a hundred or so fans who have travelled from Holland just for tonight. 'Wherever section 105 is,' says Bono, referring to his Dutch guests. 'We're just getting started, we're just gettin' going..'

In A Little While closes out the song, before Beautiful Day, itself closed out with a snatch of Here Comes The Sun and then the latest chapter in the strange and mysterious tale of the origins of the one they call The Edge. (We'll include the whole of this latest account, in case you hadn't come across some of the earlier versions.)

'Some people don't know that The Edge is from the future. It's important to understand our band, to understand him. Not only from the future, but from the future on a very different planet.
Larry and I were standing on a corner on the north side of Dublin and we heard these notes...' (Let the reader understand: Edge is playing the opening four notes of Miracle Drug as the singer digs deep in the imaginative well that is his memory.) 'We looked up to see a spaceship, I guess it was a time-travelling device. It landed on the north side of Dub. We weren't scared. We walked up and a door opened and The Edge walked out.
'I said: 'Who are you?'
'I am The Edge.'
Adam said: 'Where are you from?'
Edge said, 'I'm from the future.'
Larry said: 'What's that like?' '
To which Edge replied by citing the price of fuel. ' It's $39.00 a gallon but its much better.... much better.'

There's another trip into the backpages as Sometimes is introduced, Bono recalling his father Bob. 'Every once in a while my father and I would get together to have a drink. The first thing he'd say to me, the very first thing, was: 'Would you take off those fucking sunglasses?'

And so saying, off come the shades and up comes the song. Love and Peace flies into Sunday Bloody Sunday (including some Rock The Casbah) and a musing on CoeXisT (about ' a family feud, always the worst.' ) and on into Bullet The Blue Sky, a 'prayer that we don't become a monster in order to defeat a monster.'
As Bono crawls, blindfolded, to the mic, he needs to be directed by a crew member and then Miss Sarajevo is with us: 'A song we wrote for the girls, who, while mortars were falling all around, put on a beauty pageant. As an act of defiance and surreal fun. We recorded this with Luciano Pavarotti, but he's not here. So I'm learning some Italian as well as Spanish...'

'I wanna feel Florida sunshine on my face..' he ad libs as Streets lifts the roof. 'Take shelter from the hurricane.' Bono gives Adam a big kiss on his way down the ramp, stage right, slinging his arm around the bass man on his return. It's a relaxed, friendly show oozing love and affection - and totally pumped at the same time.
'Wow! That's crazy! Thank you, thank you, thank you, muchas gracias'

The audience are ready for some magic. 'This might be a good moment to take your cell phones out. Gonna try a magic trick, turn the American Airlines Arena into the Milky Way.
Dangerous little devices, these cell phones.
Do all kinds of things, call your mother, order a mai-tai, or sign up for the ONE campaign.
By 2008, 5 million (people), which makes us bigger than the NRA...
'It's when this country gets hit that we discover the best of America. That's why Adam, Larry, Edge and I remain such great fans of this great country. It's not just a country, it's an idea. Hold on to that idea America: Left and right, casinos and churches, rock stars and preachers, we work better when we work together as ..ONE.'

As the band return for a first encore, Stuck In A Moment is dedicated to Michael Hutchence while Wild Horses goes out to 'Patti the punk rocker', someone who will be playing with U2 in New York next Monday and Tuesday. Bono's wearing a hat someone has given him for With or Without You and dancing steps with someone who has risen from the audience to take her place in the spotlight.
'It's been a great night, thank you! ' says Bono, waving goodbye, but we all know they'll be back and here he come now with All Because of You. Another guest arrives on stage then, someone who is no stranger to this stage, even during the show, but is almost never noticed - until now. Bono brings his guitar tec Phil Docherty on stage, holding his arm up in the air in the style of a victorious boxer. It's Phil's birthday and we're the choir for Happy Birthday. Nice one Phil! And a hot show closes with the cooling balm of 40.
This article is tagged to:
Tours, Vertigo Tour