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Live: U2 Salute New York City's Madison Square Garden



The second leg of U2's Elevation Tour returned to Madison Square Garden last night, and expectations were high for Bono to coalesce a city of wounded souls. Although there were no surprises in the set list ("Sort of a Homecoming", "October", or "The Unforgettable Fire" would have been appropriate), many of Bono's lyrics originally written about the struggle in Northern Ireland took on a new meaning for the post-attack New York City crowd. The opening numbers, "Elevation" into "Beautiful Day", were somewhat of a disappointment, as some anticipated a somewhat more sober show. But the evening was not without poignancy.."Sunday Bloody Sunday" was suddenly no longer a song only about religious struggle in the United Kingdom, it was about a war being fought right here on out own turf. "And the battle's just begun/There's many lost, but tell me who has won/The trench is dug within our hearts/And mothers, children, brothers, sisters Torn apart." -- these words apply to devastated families here, but to all the innocent victims in Afghanistan.


The show was also celebration of sorts for the band. Bono announced that "The IRA put their arms to bed today." He recalled the odd stares shot his way as an Irish Catholic travelling in Britan, and reminded the crowd to show respect to Arab-Americans. On that note, Bono introduced -- in his best Brooklyn accent --New York as a song about a town where "Nobody looks at nobody else funny." Another highlight was a tribute to the late Bob Hewson, for who "Kite" was dedicated. But the best moment came as Bono invited a young woman to the stage to play guitar with the band. With a number that could have that been introduced "This is a song that Axl Rose stole from Bob Dylan, and we're stealin' it back," the adoring fan strummed "Knocking On Heaven's Door" with the band kicking in behind her.

The encores included a chilling rendition of "One", played to the backdrop of a video wall displaying the names of the victims from the four planes that crashed on 9/11, as well as the names of the heroes from the NYPD and FDNY. Kudos, of course, to the men behind the prophet - Larry Mullen, Jr., Adam Clayton, and Dave Evans whose Yankee tee inspired more than a few "Let's go Yankees" chants. In the end, like the Bombers, U2 provided a sense of unity for a town left in shambles.

Source: Evan Cohen (evan@treeboypictures.com)

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Live: U2 Salute New York City's Madison Square Garden