The first of five nights at Madison Square Garden in New York City and from the opening chords of City of Blinding Lights to the closing notes of With or Without You, this was one special night.
Being in the Big Apple, it was no surprises that the joint was jumping with the glitterati: Ralph Fiennes, Dennis Leary, Gina Gershon, Chelsea Clinton, Natasha Richardson, Liam Neeson, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Ed Burns, Heath Ledger, Gavin De Graw, David Gray, Frank McCourt, Jann Wenner. (The U2.Com head nearly swivelled off completely with all the rubber-necking.)
Vertigo, Elevation, Cry/Electric Co... the band were on fire, the show was racing by.
'See the stars and stripes,
See the stars and stripes..' ad libbed Bono, draped in a flag, thrown on the stage at the beginning of Sunday Bloody Sunday.
'Jesus Jew Mohammed it's true
All sons of Abraham.'
The stars and stripes were hung on the mike-stand as Miss Sarajevo was dedicated 'to the United States Military'. (That went down well!)
'Its kind of odd,' explained Bono. 'We actually got to play in Sarajevo. We met this girl there who had organized a beauty pageant...'
Little did she know that she was inspiring a little piece of rock'n'roll history and while we kinda knew that Pride and Streets and One would follow (and we wouldn't have it any other way) after that it was anyone's guess.
The First Time opened up the encore performance number one (no-one laid odds on this becoming a standard at the start of the tour), followed by a haunting Stuck In A Moment, which, after its appearance on the TV special last night, may be staking its own claim for a regular place in the show. It was dedicated to supermodels Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and, of course, the late INXS singer Michael Hutchence, for whom it was written.
And then Fast Cars was back with a rather dazzling cameo performance . It went like this: Bono asked for his black cowboy hat to be brought onstage and then invited onstage a woman in a bright yellow shirt with 'Jamaica' printed on the front. The stage was evidently her second home and she arrived from the ellipse as if some sixth sense had told her this was to be her night.. What a mover, felt like the whole of Madison Square Garden fell in love with her.
With the whole band out on the end of the ellipse stage for Yawheh, we thought we'd had the closing benediction... but we didn't factor in With Or Without You. What a way to close a show!