U2, Elevation 2001, San Francisco) November 15, by Mark Kittel
I cannot review a U2 concert. I can't pick apart the performance and analyze strengths or weaknesses. This is because a U2 concert is not just a typical rock concert, nor is U2 a typical band for that matter. The experience was more like going to Glide Memorial church, singing with the choir and preaching along with Cecil Williams, rather than simply watching some young plastic pups posture onstage. That kind of experience can't be reviewed; all I can say is that it was awesome and walk on.
But I will leave a few beautiful few concert moments behind. During New Years Day, Bono plucked a young girl (maybe 10 or 11) from inside the heart and circled the heart with her on his shoulders. This captured the essence of all their concerts, the connections that Bono and the band forge with the audience at every opportunity, because above all else U2 focuses itself on individuals and people. This became even more apparent during Sunday Bloody Sunday. Bono gently took a U.S. flag from the audience and embraced it, cradled it like he might hold his child. In that moment he wasn't just hugging the flag or embracing a country or government, he was trying to embrace every one of the American people, and maybe reassure them that everything would be all right.
Finally, during One the screens listed every name of the crash victims from September 11, along with the police and firefighters that died that day in New York. I don't know how this has played in other arenas, but in Oakland we sang and wept or cheered the heroes names or simply stood in silent awe.
I'm still stuck in that beautiful moment right now and I don't believe I will ever leave it.
U2, Elevation 2001, San Francisco November 15 by Steve Elliott
Having seen an Elevation Tour First Leg show back in April, I had mistakenly figured that the November 15 show would be a replay. How wrong I was, because here in the Oakland Arena the full passion and energy of U2 surpassed every imaginable expectation. Through the entire concert, from the floor to the upper deck, fans were screaming, jumping, dancing, waving and crying......and not just for U2's signature songs, but for every song, every note, every riff. There were no sit-down songs. Even the slower songs instilled the audience with stand-up passion. It was as though the final pre-entrance song "All you need is love" had infused the fans with Beatles hysteria. When Bono, Edge, Larry and Adam appeared with "Elevation", Bono could not be heard. His mike or the mixing was a problem all the way through to "Kite", but it didn't matter much because the absolute din created by the fans was compelling and deafening. Who would have thought that a real highlight of the show would be when Bono plucked an 8 year old girl from the audience, lapped the catwalk with her on his shoulders while he applauded the audience.
Other random highlights:
* the ever-stirring lead-in riffs to "Where the streets have no name",
* the frenzied lighting effects of "Bullet the blue sky",
* the Vietnam war memorial-type list of September 11 names - scrolled through as a backdrop to "One",
* Bono saying he was honored to be in the United States at this very time, and
* the Wild Honey duet with Edge and Bono.