'We're going to miss this...'
Barely has City of Blinding Lights opened and one Adam Clayton is carrying his bass guitar all the way to the front of the mainstage and is shoulder to shoulder with Bono. With just eight shows to go, in Hartford Connecticut, this band are right in the groove as nine months of shows nears an end.
And there's lots of Beatles references tonight, starting with Bono breaking into a punk version of Help at the end of Vertigo and all the way to Instant Karma near the close. It is the eve of the 25th anniversary of the death of John Lennon and the spirit of Lennon is in the house. Beautiful Day ends with a snatch of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, a reference which began not long after the Live 8 performance with Paul McCartney but has not been around so much of late. After Original of the Species, Bono slips into Lennon's Happy Christmas (War Is Over) but soon we remember that it's not - Sunday Bloody Sunday flies into a compelling into Love and Peace or Else and explodes into a fiery Bullet The Blue Sky. If you thought that was some kind of peak, you hadn't bargained for Miss Sarajevo - something else!
It's a seriously happening show as the reporter from the Hartford Courant testifies: 'Bono and guitarist the Edge work together like they're extensions of the same brain. As Bono played up the seductive lyrical rhythm of Elevation, the Edge dialed in a dirty buzzing sound on his guitar. The two built the chorus of Beautiful Day into a joyous explosion of reverberating guitar and soaring vocals, and the Edge nailed the staccato dikka-dikka-dikka riff on Pride (In the Name of Love) as Bono reached up for the high notes.'
Ten out of ten for creative description. Anyway, with Larry's sticks counting in Pride we're into a stunning trilogy of songs which will prove one of the great memories of this tour: Pride, Streets and One. Bono's missing the road already, looking ahead sadly to waking up without a stadium choir to join in.
'We're going to miss this, he says. 'When you come out of the shower and there isn't 20,000 of you...'
During ONE the phones are a little slow on the draw, but when they appear they are quite the spectacle. Bono takes the chance to make honourable mention of local politicians who have embraced the One Campaign to Make Poverty History.
'Hartford I want to assure you, America is not wasting your money, this stuff works...'
Edge has been involved in another important campaign in recent weeks - Music Rising www.musicrising.org is raising funds to replace instruments lost by local musicians when the hurricanes hit New Orleans and the surrounding area.
'We're very proud of the work he's doing on Music Rising,' adds Bono.' And there's loads of one campaigners down there working in New Orleans.'
Bono indicates it's time for a 'show tune' but after a few words with Edge and starting to sing Help. ('Help me get the chords please Edge..') he adds, 'we were never very good at the weddings...'
They are though, rather brilliant at Until The End of the World, with Bono standing right out in the audience and the fans in seventh heaven, finishing up with Adam, Edge and Bono gathered around Larry's kit for a huge finish on the drums.
'Thank you for coming out, thank you for waiting for us and thank you for giving us a great life..'
Stuck In A Moment, opening with just Bono and Edge, gets a huge reception and brings back memories of a quarter century ago.
'So this time 25 years ago
Not too far from here
We heard that a very dark spirit
Had taken John Lennon
He's somebody we never got to meet...
So this is the truth - this is Instant Karma.'
A significant tribute for a musical great before Yahweh and 40 take us into a cold night with hope in our hearts.