Elevation 2001, San Diego Sports Arena, April 17th
If you were in San Diego Sports Arena on April 17th you were privileged - you were amongst the smallest audience of people that will see U2 on Elevation 2001. Just 14,000 - and, needless to say, completely sold out.
Salman Rushdie was here tonight. Rushdie, famous Anglo-Indian novelist, is most well known for the 'fatwah' that was imposed on him in the 1980's by Ayatollah Khomeini, following the publication of his acclaimed book The Satanic Verses. He writes a mean song too - including a lyric for his most recent novel about an Indian rock band.
Bono and Edge liked it so much they recorded it and tonight, as most nights, they played The Ground Beneath Her Feet to great acclaim, the more so given that most US fans who bought All That You Can't Leave Behind don't know the track. It's only on the European release of the album - and, before that, on the soundtrack album to The Million Dollar Hotel.
And the novelist gets a name check tonight too... 'This is a song with lyrics written by the famous punk rock group The Salman Rushdies.' explains Bono and so for a moment Rushdie is almost famous at San Diego Sports Arena, which is appropriate as it is in this very loading bay that they shot the 'groupie' scenes in the film Almost Famous.
Tonight there is also a moment to remember Joey Ramone again, his burial being today.
'When I was 16 and Edge was 15 and Larry was and still is 14,' says Bono, 'We heard a band called The Ramones and our whole world changed.
Anyway, Joey Ramone died the day before yesterday, he's buried today...' and U2 play In A Little While in memoriam.
Later, in a further tribute, they play I Remember You.
They do not play Kite, despite a growing number of 'Please Play Kite' signs, a campaign evidently gathering momentum. Down in the heart there is also an Irish Flag, garlands of lemons, a nun puppet, and lots of glow sticks in the heart. There is also an impressively ambitious placard reading 'Bono Marry Me'.
Edge is in his '55' t-shirt tonight.
'Before we were called U2,' the singer explains to the audience. 'We had a few other names. One was The Hype; Feedback - which was pretty excrutiating - and for one whole lunchbreak we were actually called The Larry Mullen band.'
From First U2 to Posh U2.
'Our first manager was not Paul McGuinness, it was by far the poshest member of the band, the musical conscience, the jazz man, a man with an instrument so big he doesn't think smoking is bad for your health...Lord Adam Clayton.'
And to No. 55.
'A brain so big he has to wear a hat, the scientist, an extraordinary, extraordinary man, even his mother calls him The Edge....'
And then - is this for the first time ? - 'On vocals, the humblest member, or the most grateful...Bono.'
And the hits keep coming. Down in the heart, as Sunday Bloody Sunday incorporates Marley Bob Marley, with the audience singing so loudly you can hardly hear the band, the singer wanders down to the point of the heart and one fan leans across to another and says with a look of ecstacy in the eyes, 'This is what it's fucking all about...'