'Je suis un Rock Star,' said The Edge. ' J'habite a Cote d'Azur!'
It really was like a coming home last night Â not just with half the local population on the guest list but Elton was here, along with REM's Michael Stipe, Quincy Jones and a star-studded cast of thousands.
On a sweltering evening after a baking hot day, the band arrived on stage at quarter to nine and went full pelt until gone the midnight hour.
'Larry Mullen Jnr... Adam Clayton... The Edge...'.
Vertigo exploded across the balmy summer night before we'd had time to take in that the band had walked out.
In one way, given that the band have been living part of the year in this region of the south of France for many years, it was like a homecoming... but it wasn't quite like Dublin. Not when you took in this sweet stadium with low-lying stage, no terraces to speak of and a solitary double-decker stand at the back end. How 53,000 people crammed in is anyone's guess but it made for a great atmosphere all night long.
Seizing the moment, Edge was heading down the b-stage as soon as I Will Follow surprised the ovation that greeted the close of Vertigo. 'This is our home away from home' announced Bono. 'Nice... sexy people!' And they looked it tonight.
'I believe in you... The Edge!'
Elevation gave way to Beautiful Day while Bono took a moment to applaud the opening acts: 'Want to thank The Zutons and Keane for coming out tonight, two great and extraordinary bands.'
Both bands went down a storm, Keane in particular, with masses of the audience knowing their songs and singing along. (They also made time for a chat with U2.Com earlier in the day which we will be bringing you in the near future.)
'We've been all over Nice
'And it's a beautiful day... ...little darling ...here comes the sun.'
And although the sun was finally leaving by 10.15pm, you kind of know that at least in this part of the world (in contrast, say, to some recent and more moist shows), it will definitely be back tomorrow.
''Thanks for giving us a great life,' said Bono, thinking in particular tonight of the way the band manage to escape to this part of the world for hassle-free time out. As he added later on, 'Thanks for the privacy you give us... French people are cool like that!'
The bassman signalled the launch of Still Haven't Found and with the lighters out across the field, it was a beautiful sight when some mysterious signal within the audience decided it was time to test out the white balloons. As Bono strolled the b-stage, the fact that it was so much lower tonight made it appears that he was walking on people's heads surreal!
Up on the mix, down at the front and way up in the seats on the grandstand, the glitterati were loving it Â Michael Stipe, Helena Christiansen, Quincy Jones, Elton John, Eddie Jordan, Paul (Microsoft) Allen, Guggi, Gavin and most of Dublin too.
'Four notes,' said Bono, as Edge played them and we recognized a Miracle Drug coming.
'I get excited about the future, you know The Edge is from the future, he's come back from the future to be with us..'
But as the laughter subsided, Bono recalled that medicine is top of his list for the good things that the future might bring us, vaccines and drugs that can keep us alive, that can end malaria and the horrifying statistic of 3,000 people in Africa dying every day from a mosquito bite.
'I want to thank Elton John for the work he's done on the AIDS emergency, he's here tonight, merci mon amie!'
Sometimes was dedicated with affection to the father of Gavin Friday who passed away last monthÂ great to see Gavin back on the tour tonight.
As Larry left his drum kit to head down to the tip of the b-stage, Adam walked out in tandem on the parallel stage, the affection was almost tangible Â the more so with the crowd are so close to the stage tonight. As a powerful version of Love and Peace segued into Sunday Bloody Sunday, the French family are really up for it.
'We'd like to dedicate this to all those who lost their lives recently in London and in Egypt and in the Middle East,' explained Bono introducing the show-stopping Miss Sarajevo. The way he sings it now, you almost forget that it was written for a man called Pavarotti. And this time, the invisible forces behind the white balloons really do a number - hundreds riding the heads of the audience across the field.
'This might be the moment to take out your phones,' says Bono as everyone takes a breath after Pride. 'Turn this place into a Christmas tree. At the bottom of the tree is a big question which can be answered .. this is the moment, the year to make poverty history. It is possible to stop a disease like malaria...'
And switching to French he appeals for help in working with politicians like President Chirac.
'We need everybody, but it is possible, twenty years time, no AIDS, no malaria, fairer trade rules.'
It reminds Bono of someone in the audience tonight 'who educated me about what we can do with music...and I'd like to thank him Quincy Jones.'
Michael Stipe, 'our brother.. great voice, great artist' also gets a greeting. 'We are powerful when we work together as One'
Zoo Station blows our minds as usual, the visuals of The Fly are almost too dazzling to take in but With or Without You finds a new French friend helped on stage for the nightly slowdance which ends with the singer on bended knee and getting a kiss on each cheek. 'Fantastique!'
The mayors of Eze and Nice ('thanks for the loan of the hall') are greeted before Yahweh and a few others who are in the audience.
'Thanks to everyone that had ever poured me a drink on the Cote d' Azur!' They've been buying Edge a few too and when Bono offers him the mike at close of play he offers a choice one-liner to close a memorable night. 'Je suis un Rock Star, j'habite a Cote d'Azur!'
Here's what they played:
I Will Follow
New Year's Day
Still Haven't Found
City of Blinding Lights
Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own
Love and Peace
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Bullet The Blue Sky
Pride in the Name of Love
Where the Streets Have No Name
With or Without You
All Because of You