In A Sentence: U2, Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky, May 4th, 2001
Edge is wearing his No.23 shirt, the day ahead of The Kentucky Derby which explains why Bono introduces Kite by asking, 'What's going on? This is only Friday night, you need to save some of yourselves for the Kentucky carnival this weekend' whereupon he adds, 'Losing someone you love to another, we've only played this a few times...' and Kite is introduced to a sea of waving signs including 40; 'Bono, Adam, Edge and Larry - Thank you'; a number plate, U2ATUCLB; Hold On To Love; Atlanta, San Jose, and there are mobile phones being held aloft even higher than the signs as fans who couldn't get in tune in all over because outside it's America while inside it's now Beautiful Day and The End of the World in which Bono takes up his boxing positions to go head to head with Edge at the point of the heart but only until he picks up one of the many Irish flags from fans for the opening of Sunday Bloody Sunday saying 'We can do this now, we can do this now and feel proud' which segues into Get Up, Stand up when the flag is draped carefully over the piano and if the audience felt that was a moment that could last for ever, well, now we are.
Stuck In A Moment which is 'written for Michael Hutchence the singer with INXS, a great singer, a great friend of mine, a great friend of the bands, I don't know if you heard about it but he's no longer with us and we get angry when we think about it' at which point a girl who is one of 20,000 one moment finds herself one of five, onstage in front of 20,000, and sitting with Bono as he sings to her before asking his mesmerised audience, 'You alright down there? I just want you to hold on for a second...so everything's alright and going OK this evening, thanks for spending your hard earned on a rock show.
I want to do something that's very difficult for a singer to do, I want to introduce you to the rest of the band, we never used to do this kind of thing, we thought it was uncool and it is uncool but it feels right on this tour 'cos we know we've been reapplying for the job and if you don't know what the job is, it's the best rock'n roll band in the world,' he explains before introducing the drummer in the best rock'nroll band in the world who is 'the man who gave birth to this megalomania, on the drums, Larry Mullen Jnr'who gave U2 their 'first and so far only job' and then it's the first but not so far only manager, 'the jazz man, the musical conscience of the group, on bass guitar, Lord Adam Clayton' who smilingly receives a bow from the singer and allows his hand to be kissed with due reverence and then we are being introduced to the guitarist who apparently 'could be flying the space shuttle but wants to come to Kentucky and ride a horse, on electric guitar, a card carrying genius, wearing No. 23, The Edge' who is playing the opening chords to In A Little While while the singer is explaining that 'when we were 15 or 16, Edge, myself, Larry and Adam started a band largely because of a punk rock band called the Ramones,' and the singer in that band, Joey Ramone, 'died a couple of weeks ago and this is the last song he heard before he passed away' and 'He's done a great service to this song because a song about a hangover is now a gospel song' which, no sooner has it finished that a song about Desire is underway which is dedicated to 'any punk rock or any other rock groups starting out in towns or colleges' followed by a rare treat, 'a song we've only played a few times on this tour, from a movie, Far Away So Close, this is called Stay...' during which the singer decides to amend the lyrics which now mention Miami, New Orleans, London, Belfast and Kentucky which, understandably, makes tonight's audience very pleased but before they have time to enjoy that credit Bad, 'a song about addiction, about ordinary addictions' is underway and everyone is asking 'How Long To Sing This Song which only fades away as Bono reads from holy writ and the lights rise like the dawn, only faster and Where The Streets Have No Name and Bono is whirling around the catwalk like a dervish before rolling to the floor during The Fly and pretending to shoot himself with lamplight for Bullet the Blue Sky and falling into the arms of America as Pride opens to a deafening roar of recognition and then a special name-check for Edge's guitar tech Dallas Schoo, a local boy, who waves to the fans from the stage and then the singer again thanks this mighty audience for 'coming out and paying high prices for a rock show' and 'thanks for giving us a good life and following Jubilee 2000' the campaign to cancel the debts of the world's poorest countries and, he adds, isn't it 'extraordinary that in our lifetime an entire subcontinent is being flushed down the toilet and it doesn't even make front page news' which it is, extraordinary that is, there's no two ways about it but there is something to be done which is about thinking globally and acting locally and so, says the singer.
'Call your congressmen, call your senators, this is the United States, its better than that, I promise you when we go home to Europe we're going to kick their arses too' and, that said, Walk On is here which is 'for the people in the stands, inside the venue, Amnesty, Greenpeace,' those people who are travelling with the tour in the hope of working with U2 fans to make the world a better place and also 'for anyone else who wants to make it better, this is for you' and then this show, at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky in 2001 is over, along with this very long and highly ungrammatical report.
(A new novel, The Rotters Club, by the writer Jonathon Coe, is reported to have the longest sentence in literary history with more than 13,000 words. Longer even than this review.)