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Fourth show in less than a week and U2 are getting into their stride for Elevation 2001.

'The best show yet,' according to many observers.

Michael Stipe and Mike Mills from REM have flown in from Paris, where they have been promoting REM's new album Reveal, and are watching the show from the mix position - along with Emmylou Harris and producer Dallas Austin.

U2 are intimately engaged with their audience from the opening moments - during Beautiful Day, Bono is kissing a female photographer he espies in the snappers pit.

Stuck In A Moment he dedicates to 'a great friend Chantelle, it's her 40th birthday today' and for Gone, back in the show tonight, the singer takes up his blue guitar, along with the three chords and the truth.

Edge duels with Bono again for Discotheque which leads into Staring at the Sun and the 20,000 strong audience barely notice as New York gives way to I Will Follow, Sunday Bloody Sunday and The Sweetest Thing.

'How are you doing?' the singer asks the audience, and the response suggests they are doing passably well, thanks for asking.

'This is the fourth night in so far. I'll introduce you to the band. Just to prove that he has legs, the man who gave us our first and only job, Larry Mullen on the drums, he hasn't changed his haircut in 20 years.'
Introductions follow for U2's own 'Posh' member, Adam, and Edge, with 'a brain so big he has to wear a hat.'

After In A Little While he asks, 'Do you like these kinds of tunes? You're gonna get another one. If you're this fucking hard you can sing a love song. This man was so hard he had an entire religion after him....'

And so comes The Ground Beneath Her Feet, lyrics written by novelist Salman Rushdie, whose book The Satanic Verses ignited a 'fatwa' from the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 and a Special Guard escort ever since.

(Many US fans are less than familiar with this track as, while it features on the soundtrack to the film Million Dollar Hotel, it does not feature on the US version of All That You Can't Leave Behind - only on the UK version).

What was that Bono was rapping into his microphone as the band performed the introduction to Where The Streets Have No Name ? It's happened on several nights so far. Anyone heard it, anyone recognise it, know what it is or where it comes from ?

For Mysterious Ways Bono accepts flowers from a fan and kisses her hand in gratitude - again he flirts with his audience, reaching out to them, pulling away and, for Bullet The Blue Sky, illuminating their higher reaches with furious lamplight.

Another girl, another rose and the show is nearly over with With Or Without You but not before thanking Nelly Furtado, the Canadian artist who has played support at Charlotte and Atlanta, for 'stepping into PJ Harveys shoes so gracefully.'

And then, in a nod both to the city they are playing in and the friends who have flown in tonight to see them, this: 'I want to sing a song for a hero of mine. In my teens my hero was Martin Luther King, in my twenties my hero was Coretta Scott King ....'

U2 begin playing Losing My Religion, which, soon enough, metamorphoses in to One and, before you know it, Walk On.'

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