When U2 played this same venue on the first leg of Elevation 2001, back in the Spring, Bono told fans they were the loudest audience on the tour. Seems like everyone was back and again at full volume for the bands' return.
The local press were also euphoric that U2 had come back so soon: 'Bono, U2 wow crowd in Montreal 1 more time' reported the Ottawa Sun; 'U2 Does It Again With Strength!' announced La Presse. And film director Wim Wenders is here tonight, fresh from accompanying Bono to a premiere of a documentary about the making of his Million Dollar Hotel at the New Film Festival in the city.
'Can - you - elevate - my - soul' asks a sequence of carefully choreographed t-shirted girls at the point of the heart - weren't these the very same girls who were here at the last show, though with a different slogan ?
This band can elevate souls tonight, in fact Elevation returns as the opening number as U2 arrive onstage, leading seamlessly into Beautiful Day and then, having introduced Out of Control ('We're a band from the north side of the city, we're called U2, this is our first single, we hope you like it...') Bono slips into a mystical stream-of-consciousness traipse down memory lane.
'Excuse me, I've got a cassette, it's 3 tracks, it's gonna be our first single, I'd like you to listen to it if you wouldn't mind. I know you're busy, would you listen to this? Mr Record Company man, yes, I am, I'm 17 sir, he's 14, 15, 17 years old. Yes he is sir, yes he is. I know it's out of tune, I know, do you know what? When we get out of this garage, Mr Record Company, when we get out of this garage - 'cos we've got faith I don't know why - we're out of control actually, out of control..'
Bono takes a white rose from a fan during Sunday Bloody Sunday and hands it on to another as he walks the catwalk. 'Turn this song into a prayer for peace,' he says, taking a white flag from another fan and carrying it draped over his shoulder.
The memorable words 'When will I see you again ...' bring the lighters out all over the arena as Stuck In A Moment melds into Kite to huge appreciation. 'The last time we played here,' explains the singer, in French, 'You had the loudest voices, we were deaf for four days!'
Angel of Harlem gets everybody singing, as does Staring at the Sun and, for Bad, Bono pulls a girl up onto the stage as his dance partner. She lifts her t-shirt to reveal she is pregnant. Unsurprisingly, the father of four, including a five month old, bends down and kisses her stomach, singing, 'Be my baby, be my little baby...'
Streets finds Bono lapping the stage, while Mysterious Ways includes a snatch of Marley's 'Every little thing's gonna be alright...'. Bullet returns tonight - sans video - , before a verse of What's Going On and New York, with revised lyrics in light of September 11.
The events of September 11th in the US come centre-stage with One, when Bono reveals that he has visited the Canadian Prime Minister earlier in the day.
'Want to thank you for your support on the Drop the Debt campaign, you know since Sept 11th the work that we were doing, you were doing, somehow doesn't feel so left of centre, somehow feels.. just feels really right, because this crisis, this emergency has it's roots in poverty and in the poverty of the continent of Africa where people feel like the world has abandoned them and we just don't want to let crazy fanatics live off the poverty of these people. 'We went to see your Prime Minister today and he said some interesting things, we tied him to a chair and he said, you don't have to tie me to a chair at the next G8 summit in Canada - your subject, the subject of Africa, is the centre piece of the G8. And I want to thank him for that...'
One gives way to Walk On introduced by the hope of Peace On Earth.