26 March 2001
Thunderously exciting U2 set raises the roof, according to Irish Times
From Brian Boyd, in Miami
If Bono can pull off the stunt he did at the end of last Saturday night's U2 concert in Miami at Slane Castle in August, it would be the most incredible spectacle witnessed on an Irish stage.
Without giving away the ending, the singer enacted a stroke of theatrical genius for the finale of U2's first gig of their new world tour.
"So have we got the job?" Bono enquired of the capacity 18,000 audience at the Miami venue.
The job in question was that of "the best rock n' roll band in the world" and the answer was a sustained ovation.
Running through choice cuts off their current album, All That You Can't Leave Behind, as well as a nifty greatest-hits selection, U2 raised the roof with a thunderously exciting set that was short on the usual pomp and circumstance but long on good-time boogie-woogie.
Taking to the surprisingly sparse stage with their most low-key entrance since the Dandelion Market days of the late 1970s, the band have eschewed the pyrotechnics of their previous tours in favour of a stripped-down, intimate approach.
More like an "evening with U2" than a full-on rock experience, the band played on a 360degree end-stage configuration platform, which is the closest they've ever got to their audience.
With all the seats ripped out and the majority of tickets selling for $45 , you didn't need to be down in the mosh pit to see the whites of their eyes.
And it all almost went terribly wrong: during the fourth song of the set, Until The End Of The World, Bono was dancing around with The Edge when he dramatically fell off the stage.
A nervous hush descended until the singer was helped to his feet by fans and although he continued a rockin' and a rollin' he did so with a noticeable limp.
Kicking off with Elevation, the band connected with a singalong version of Beautiful Day before coasting along with Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of and an a cappella version of Staring At The Sun.
With no fancy video backdrop or lighting rig, at times the gig seemed more like a Grafton Street busking session.
With little or no talk out of Bono, the celebrity-free, mainly Hispanic audience waved the Irish Tricolour throughout the show.
Called back for an encore, the band ran through Bullet The Blue Sky, With or Without You and One.
More at www.ireland.com