22 May 2005
UN NY U2
Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, was among a pretty high-powered guest list at last night's New York show.
Here's some snapshots from a dazzling show which opened with City of Blinding Lights and closed with Vertigo and featured some extra special detours along the way.
1. Seems like anyone who was anyone in the business of show knows that a U2 concert is the place to be seen in 2005. (It'll take us most of our space just to tell you who was there)
2. There was more of Hollywood here for the Madison Square Gardens show - the only New York show on this leg - than there were for the Los Angeles shows. Last night we saw Tim Robbins, Julia Roberts and Matt Dillon plus
Australian stars, Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts. Then there was Soprano's creator David Chase and stars of the show including James Gandolfini and Steve Van Zandt.
3. Rock'n roll was not to be outdone - you couldn't move for music stars either. David Bowie and Patti Smith were in the house as were Phil Ramone, members of Depeche Mode, Mike D and Sean Combes ... much to the delight of the New York crowd. Then there was the Scissor Sisters, Julian Casablancas from the Strokes and the Rapture.
4. Sticking with aesthetic categories, contemporary art was represented by Damien Hirst while old U2 pals Helena Christensen and Christy Turlington were getting on down for fashion.
5. And then there were the politicians and campaigners, including Congressman Sweeney and Congresswomen Nita Lowey as well as the brilliant economist Jeffrey Sachs who gave Bono a crash-course in global finances a few years ago and United Nations Secretary General, Mr Kofi Annan.
6. Oh, and a show too. As a packed house was 'getting ready to leave the ground' as Bono sang the opening track, City of Blinding Lights, he must have felt their warmth. 'I love the Garden' , he said, before Elevation arrived and he remembered the earliest visit of U2 to New York when they had played a tiny club. As every night of the tour to date, the unlikely choice of Cry / Electric Co. and An Cat Dubh / Into the Heart turned into a triumph, sounding as contemporary now as then.
7. No surprise though at the earth-moving roars of recognition with the opening chords of Beautiful Day, before a trio of cuts from the new record - Miracle Drug, Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own and Love and Peace or Else. 'We need faith in God, we need faith in science and we need faith in God to use scientists, nurses, doctors and the people that keeps us alive...'
8. Wearing his now familiar white bandana for the trilogy of Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bullet The Blue Sky and Running to Standstill, Bono pointed to the symbols of three great world faiths creating the slogan 'Co-exist' on his forehead. 'This city' he said, 'Is the greatest evidence in the whole world for this.'
9. 'Moonshot' moment. They put a man on the moon in the 1960's, recalled Bono, remembering how America first came into his consciousness. 'The Americans... the things they can do when they put their minds together.' Now a new challenge is here: 'to put mankind back on earth', to bring equality to the people of Africa, an end to 'stupid' poverty in this generation.
Another lump-in-the-throat moment as fans began texting the ONE campaign number, signing up their support. As Madison Square Gardens was lit up in a dazzling display of blue and white cellphone fireflies, U2 played One. ('Jeff Sachs, this is for you...')
10. Original of the Species was in again tonight. It wasn't on the set list but it's a great surprise when it arrives, unpredicted, as it sometimes does.
11. Oh, did we mention David Bowie was at the show ? And he got a
different kind of tribute. Suddenly, out of nowhere, four boys from Dublin
were back in the 1970's and fiercely jamming a different but strangely familiar tune. Jean Genie by one David Bowie. Brilliant.
12. Here's the complete set list
City of Blinding Lights
Cry / Electric Co.
An Cat Dubh / Into the Heart
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
Love and Peace or Else
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Bullet The Blue Sky
Running to Standstill
Pride in the Name of Love
Where the Streets have no Name
The Fly / Jean Genie
Original of the Species
All Because of You