Elevation 2001 May 10th
Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
It's Bono's birthday. Forty one years young and the arena here at the Conseco Fieldhouse is perforated with 'Happy Birthday Bono' signs and party hats, streamers and flying glitter. One sign reads, '27,000 people came to my birthday and all I got was this card'.
'Today's my Birthday,' Bono sings as the band take the stage, 'Happy birthday to U2.'
But this is no night off work to celebrate - by the time we have reached Until The End of the World, Bono is lying on the catwalk, grabbing a female photographer from a college magazine for a birthday kiss and then, walking down the catwalk, grabbing a pot of glitter from a fan and emptying it over himself.
Another girl is up on stage to dance with the birthday man for New Year's Day before Stuck In A Moment (You Can't Get Out Of) receives its customary dedication to a departed member of the glitter band.
'This song is for someone who would have loved to have been here and would have especially loved the glitter. This song is for Michael Hutchence...'
Kite arrives and Bono thanks a fervent and energetic audience for spending their 'hard-earned cash' on a rock show. No one is indicating second thoughts!
'This is a song we haven't played very often, this is Kite.'
It's also a song that is now a set regular, in part because of the way fans at the early shows lobbied for its appearance. New York is followed by a tune some two decades older in I Will Follow and then Sunday Bloody Sunday, with total audience participation and snatches of Marley's Get Up Stand Up, with the singer wrapping an Irish flag around the microphone.
'Thank you, thanks a lot. I'd like to introduce you to the band old school style.
'In what we'd call high school we met up at 14, 15, 16 years old. I'd like to tell you what everyone was eating..'
But he seems to have forgotten.
'On drums Larry Mullen Jnr, on bass Adam Clayton and wearing No. 23, The Edge....'
Audience suitably appreciative. Arena roof rises imperceptively as a rejuvenated Desire arrives with Bono and Edge at the point of the heart catwalk and then another recent addition to the show.
'We've been playing this song from a record we don't play very often. At the start of the 90's we did a lot of work at Hansa Studios. It was an extraordinary time for us, we kind of floated out there, we found some beautiful songs...it's very cold in Berlin.'
Midway through the song he takes a phone from a fan and sings into it. The lyrics are again transposed, London, Belfast and - with the audience bellowing - 'Indianapolis'.
All I Want Is You with Bono opening alone on guitar arrives before Larry and Adam and Edge join in and then becomes Where the Streets Have No Name whereupon the video screens at the back of the stage read 'Happy Birthday Bono'.
He sprints around the stage anyway and, with Mysterious Ways, wonders aloud if there are 'Any dancers in the house - it's my birthday.'
Onto the catwalk he pulls up a girl from the heart of the audience, and then another.And another. You get the picture. This continues for some time until there are about 30 girls up on stage with U2, some kind of first.
'I feel like Hugh Hefner!' says Bono.
But Hefner never had 27,000 people had one of his birthday parties.