Houston was a blinder, a show we couldn't pass by without special mention. Talking about late, Bono looked like he might have missed his cue in City of Blinding Lights but with the confetti already falling from the roof, suddenly up he rose onto the tip of the ellipse and away we went.
Introducing the band and offering some Spanish lessons on the way into Vertigo, the singer pointed to the guitarist and wondered out loud as to his identity. 'Who is this man?' 'EDGE' came the fairly definitive response from 20,000 Texans. The call and response was repeated before Vertigo exploded and the night was alive. The tour has been based out of New York for a while and it's feeling good to be hitting the road again, for this twenty third show of the Fall leg.
'Thank you for coming out, for standing in line, for giving us a great life,' says Bono, taking a breath after Elevation, and, while he says it most nights, you know he always means it. 'Here's two songs from our first album,' he adds, as Edge winds up I Will Follow, 'It was written and recorded when we were eighteen, nineteen, twenty...'
If he was thinking about 1979 for a second, tonight this is a band mainly thinking about 2005. 'Sun was shining today - Miss Texas looked so beautiful. Anyway we still got a job to do and for this band it feels like we're just getting started.'
They still haven't found what they're looking for which is what we love about them because as soon as they do... well, it just wouldn't be the same. With In A Little While providing a neat link between 'Found' and Beautiful Day which finishes with some bars of Many Rivers To Cross, it's time to learn a little more about the extraterrestrial origins of Edge.
'He's from a planet called ZOOTOPIA,' explains the singer. 'The thing about Zootopia is that this planet is also in the future. So Edge had to come back through time and space to be with myself Adam and Larry in the north side of
Dublin in the mid seventies. And his spaceship was playing those four notes.' Edge, of course, is now playing the opening four notes of Miracle Drug. 'So when it landed this creature got out: 'I am the Edge.''
Each night when Miracle Drug arrives in the set list we learn more about the mysterious past of U2's guitarist - and how he first came to meet the other members of the band. Often the information we glean from the singer is hazy, imprecise, even, dare we say it, a touch contradictory. All in all it sounds like the kind of thing we should be discussing in Zootopia itself, the U2.Com forum. Perhaps there were others around who witnessed Edge's arrival from space. Perhaps you did? Let us know.
Adam and Larry take the lead in Love and Peace, to a tumultuous reception from the Houston audience and as Larry kickstarts Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bono announces that 'this is your song now, this is your song.' Then his eye is caught by some flags. 'I see some of my favourite flags here tonight Mexico Green white and orange, the tricolour a long way from home.'
Pointing to the bandana on his head, he adds, 'here's the flag that I wear' before explaining the roots of the CoeXisT graffiti. By the time we reach Pride, Houston is in orbit - the band are loving it too. As Streets opens, Adam is wandering, smiling, around the back of the stage, passing Larry on the drum kit, and giving some love to those looking down from above.
Houston, we do not have a problem!
The cellphones are out and twinkling for One and the numbers enlisting their
support with the One Campaign take another jump. 'The reason myself, Adam.
Larry and Edge are such fans of this country is because at a time when you have your own problems you still have time for problems far away... thanks very much.'
Sometimes you don't notice show highlights when they first emerge and then you suddenly realise that another one is with us. The Pavarotti moment in Miss Sarajevo has become one and, for sure, another is the moment when Adam
and Larry join Bono and Edge after they have gently opened up The First Time.
Fast Cars is another surprise tonight, back in the set after All Because of You with Bono taking a Mexican flag and draping it over his shoulder and doing a nifty bit of flamenco with Edge. 'That was good', says Bono, before Yahweh and 40.