U2 performed some seventeen songs to an ecstatic audience of 2,000 fans at London's Astoria Theatre last night.
It began with Until The End of The World and ended with Forty and featured highlights of almost every period in their two decade career.
Beautiful Day, the second song, gave way to a clutch of songs from All that You Can't Leave Behind including Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of, Elevation and New York.
Bono introduced his band as "the family" at one point, commenting: 'It's only the second time I've ever done this, introduced the band.'
He then announced that U2 were 'reapplying for the job', noting that there were quite a few individuals in the house tonight who, on their night, might qualify.
'You know what the job is?' he asked his audience. 'Best Band In The World' he announced, to a cheer that nearly lifted the roof.
Discotheque segued into Staring at the Sun before Bono introduced the
members of the band, lest anyone in the audience remained unsure. 'Larry, who gave us our first job.' Adam, our 'first manager' and 'musical conscience' of U2, who 'used to sit next to me at school' - though not after twice being 'expelled'. Edge, ' a scientist', 'genius' and 'Zen Presbyterian'... ..... and suddenly the years rolled away and U2 were playing their first ever single for Island Records ''' O Clock Tick Tock', which ran into I Will Follow and was followed by One and All I Want Is You.
The small London theatre was host to the hottest ticket of 2001 and along with hundreds of competition winners - including 500 through U2.COM - plenty of famous faces had won the celebrity compeition for tickets.
Author Salman Rushdie was dancing on the balcony when Bono dedicated The Ground Beneath Her Feet to him - he wrote the lyrics after all - while also singing along was Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall, Ed O'Brien and Colin Greenwood from Radiohead, Oasis' Liam Gallagher , actors John Hurt and Matthew Modine, Elvis Costello, supermodels Naomi Campbell and Helena Christiansen, Texas's Sharleen Spiteri, Shaznay Lewis from All Saints, Bob Geldof, Ash, The Divine Comedy, Kylie Minogue, Massive Attack, , Dave Stewart, Formula One supremo Eddie Jordan, comedians Skinner And Baddiel, Queen's Roger Taylor, media mogul Chris Evans and producer Arthur Baker.
Competition winners were reportedly being offered £600 outside the venue for their tickets but most touts were out of luck. The tickets were just too valuable to fans, some of whom had travelled from Holland, Italy, France, Scandinavia and Germany for the chance to see their favourite band in such an intimate setting. More than a hundred fans travelled across from Ireland. U2 tribute band Vorsprung Durch Technik had driven from Hamburg, Germany for 36 hours to see their idols.
U2 closed their ninety minute set with Bad and, for the first time in the memories of many fans present, then played Forty as an encore, with Adam taking on guitar, Edge on bass and Larry finishing the evening alone on stage, with a final wave.
The gig was a warm-up for U2's forthcoming "Elevation 2001" world tour which starts in Miami on March 24 and hits Europe after fifty North American dates.
U2's second single from All That You Can't leave Behind, Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of, went straight into the UK charts at Number 2 on Sunday, the day before the band were declared `God-like Geniuses' at the NME Carling Awards.
Later this month they are to be given a lifetime achievement award at the Brits and are nominated in three categories at the Grammys.
Full Astoria set list
Critical Acclaim For Astoria Show
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