'Larry Mullen on the drums, The Edge, Adam Clayton ... Now!' And the second show in two nights at the Staples Center, fourth LA show of the year, achieves lift off.
If there was plenty of stardust about last night, there's just as much in tinseltown tonight. Patrick Swayze, Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson, Don Cheadle, Jim Caviezal, Winona Ryder, Cindy Crawford and Kirsten Dunst are just a few of the stars we couldn't help rubbernecking.
'Hola! Hola!' announces Bono, 'Edge's home town.' he adds, to much delight from the locals.
No two shows are the same on Vertigo '05 and that' s not just in the songs the band choose to play. Tonight Bono is using the stage in a different way, even before three songs are up, walking down the Ellipse stage past Edge, all the way to the front, then back up and around and past Adam. Elevation actually begins while the singer is walking the stage behind Larry. 'You right birthday boy?' he asks of Larry, and the crowd are loving it, a whole evening of rock'n'roll ahead, with a band at their peak and never more themselves than on stage in front of 20,000.
'Do you believe in the Edge?'
Yes we believe in The Edge.
'Tonight its going off!' he adds as I Will Follow, 26 years young, begins ringing around the Staples Centre. 'One of the greatest thrills of my whole life was being 21 years old and on three stations at the same time we heard I Will Follow.'
Thanking Damian Marley for playing support on these dates, Bono mentions his
'extraordinary spirit' and it's right that Still Haven't Found features a snippet of Exodus along with a snatch of In A Little While. A little bit of freestyle lyricising offers respects to Danny Lanois and his wife and soon it's Beautiful Day and Miracle Drug.
'I just caught myself humming, having a little hum,' explains Bono, out of nowhere. ' I had an auntie who used to hum... experimental humming.'
The thought leads him to experiment a bit of humming on 'Tie A Yellow Ribbon' which leads into an explanation of how thinking of his auntie brings him to his family and to his father which was a pretty neat segue as 'We're just about to play Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own.'
The band are in fine form and so are the Los Angelenos. 'Outside it's America' at the end of Bullet gets the kind of roar of appreciation that it has done since 1987 but it finds even greater power running into Miss Sarajevo, a song that wasn't even inspired - couldn't have been - until several years after Bullet was written. One born in Central America, one in Europe. Pride in the Name of Love came before them both and is never outdone in the appreciation stakes at a U2 show. (It's matched by Streets though.)
'Two million Americans signed up to the One Campaign,' explains Bono, catching his breath. 'Wouldn't have happened without this city.' He pays special thanks to Kate Hudson and Don Cheadle and Matthew McConaughey.
'We are more powerful when we work together as...'
The song features special mention of Rosa Parks, with some MLK in there:
'Sleep, sleep tonight...
So let it rain
So let it rain.'
Edge and Bono share the mic to sing Walk On and now, on each side of the ellipse stage, they introduce a shimmering version of Wild Horses. A young woman emerges from the audience for With or Without You and finds Bono dancing with her and singing to her in scenes she will replay in her mind for the rest of her life. Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart closes the song before All Because of You leads up to Bad and what a finish to a show this turns out to be.
Featuring a stunning stadium-wide chant of 'the people got the power' the song builds and builds as Bono extemporises over the driving rhythm.
City of Los Angeles...'
And even when it's over everyone is still singing 'people got the power' as they leave the building after a wonderful night.