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Updated: March 31, 2001

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New on 3/31/01:
U2 Elevation Tour
Charlotte, North Carolina
March 29, 2001
Info, Photos, and MPGs


"VH-1 Legends"

It started out simply enough. Tape an as yet unseen U2 special on VH-1 as a lark, no big deal. I'd gotten away from U2 in recent days, mostly because I didn't care much for their last cd Pop, nor had I tried to get tickets for the PopMart tour when it came to Raleigh. I'd already seen the ZooTv Inside and Outside Broadcasts once each, Popmart just seemed like a bigger, glitzier version of ZooTV, and having done those already, I didn't feel much like spending the $50+ that it would have cost me to go. Not to mention that I had just completely relocated 3000 miles to a new city, and was still adjusting to that concept; going to see a U2 show, for an album I wasn't truely crazy about, wasn't really at the top of my list of priorities right about then. Just as well, since it eventually was canceled due to rain (and some say low ticket sales in the area as well; they only sold about 20,000 for a venue that seated twice that, read the article from the N&O about that here) anyway.

I wasn't anti-U2 by any stretch of the imagination. My theory, after watching the group do a complete image change in the time between Rattle and Hum and Achtung Baby, is that after a three (major) album arc, they seem to change gears and go off in a different direction, based on what they've experienced since the last album. Boy, October, and War was one arc, The Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree, and Rattle and Hum was a second, with Achtung Baby, Zooropa, and Pop being the third arc.

I figured that after Pop, they would be right on schedule for the start of another three album arc, entirely different from the ideas and concepts of the AchtungZooPop era. Which suited me just fine. There was some great music that came out of those albums (even Pop wasn't ALL bad! :-)), but IMHO, U2 didn't need all the techno brou-ha-ha that came with it. I understood the inspiration behind it (and respected that they had made the music that THEY wanted, and needed, to make at the time; remaining true to themselves at the risk of alienating some fans, which I know they ended up doing, but as Bono once said - "It's best to just let what's in you come out..." If that means putting out a song like "Miami", which didn't do a thing for me, so be it), but was patiently waiting until their next phase, whatever and whenever that would be.

And after the Legends special peaked my interest again a little, I hopped onto the internet, surfed around a little, and found what I was looking for, a little paragraph that said that U2 was working on a new album, and that for this one, they were "going back to basics". Hallelujah, here she comes! The next phase, era, arc, what have you. Needless to say, I'm all revved up again. Ready for the new album, ready for the tour, ready for the laughing gas, ready for the gridlock, yadda yadda yadda. :-)

"It's very much a four-legged table..."- The Edge

I first picked up on U2 back in high school, in 1985, courtesy of my best bud, Susie, who was a big fan long before that. I, on the other hand, was a Duranie (forgive me, I knew not what I did! :-) ), not a shrieking hysterical Duranie, but a Duranie just the same. And not particularly interested in this band U2 that she kept talking about. But one day I agreed to sit down and watch this U2 video with her, so she showed me this rockumentary at her house after class one afternoon, and that was the beginning of it all for me. The vid was U2's "The Unforgettable Fire Collection", and quite honestly, Bono just knocked me OUT! He had me absolutely mesmerized. He was, admittedly, no John Taylor (sorry, Bono! :-)), but there was definitely something about him. The music was serious and had heart, but the vid wasn't ALL serious; all the guys showed a sense of humor, even back then, and that appealed to me as well. To anyone who thinks they were too serious in the pre-Achtung Baby days needs to pull out that tape and FF to things like Adam's photo shoot, the solar eclipse, "Okay, Gringo!", and the like. To this day, I still love that video. (And for those of you who STILL think of the band as being nothing but serious, I've got a separate page of nothing but photos that'll prove you absolutely WRONG! Check that out here.)

"We're gonna make this aircraft hangar work for us tonight! We're gonna make it work because the music is worth it and these people are worth it!" - Bono

It just worked out that Susie had a pair of tickets to the U2 show at the Cow Palace in Daly City that year. I swiped her second one, and just like that, I found myself going to my first concert ever, and WHAT a first concert! (cheap too, just look at that price on the ticket stub. A far cry from PopMart, it is. Of course, that was 14 years ago...) I had such a great time, I swear I didn't come down for at least three weeks after that. And no tv screens, belly dancers, or trabants suspended from the ceiling were required. Go figure. Click on the Cow Palace ticket stub at right for a review of that concert.

Early shot of U2, from "The Unforgettable Fire" tour program

Interlude - Present Day...

Given that I'm currently on a big U2 kick, I've started rewatching some of my collection of videos, starting with "The Unforgettable Fire Collection", the "Achtung Baby" Interference vid, the "Numb" vids, a tape of "Rarities", courtesy of Ron over on ebay (GREAT tape, dude!), the new "Best of U2" video, and am currently working my way through "ZooTV Live From Sydney", courtesy of Steve, also of ebay. I got as far as New Years Day before I shut it off for the night.

A few thoughts crossed my mind while I was watching it. Random thought number one? Hopefully the tour for the new album will have at least SOME reserved seating, watching all the people squeezed in so close together in front of the stage like that, all screaming "Bonooooo!!!" at the top of their lungs, made me claustrophobic. :-) I said before that I was NOT a shrieking Durannie; as much as I love U2, I'm also not a shrieking U2 fan either. I can "Whoooooooo!" and cheer with the best of them, but a the rest? Fugetaboutit. (To their credit, not EVERYONE who is squished into the front rows is a shrieker and a grabber, I know. I saw at least ONE person on the Sydney tape who was right in front row, who had her arms resting on the barricade, just singing along, like any sane person. :-) )

Random thought number two? I found it odd that as good as the music was on the first 7 songs (One is in my personal top ten list of favorite U2 songs of all time), the first song to actually give me a good old fashioned U2 chill (like you get when the music really hits a vibe) was New Years Day. Strange... They say the new album is "