1997-09-20 - Reggio Emilia: U2 takes their biggest tour stage yet to their biggest crowd ever. More than 150, 000 fans gather in Reggio Emilia (almost the city's entire population!) to see a Popmart show. Alas, the recording of this show kept the audience distant, but we can still hear their presence in songs like All I Want Is You and With Or Without You. The concert had very festive moments, like Bono embracing his narcissistic side shouting "Viva Bono!" before EBTTRT; but it also had a serious, heartfelt moment when Bono dedicated the concert to Andrea Gianotti, a young U2 fan who died of a heart attack while at the Rome show. For Edge's Karaoke, we had the very popular, if not cliché, Italian song "Volare". For a moment during One, Bono started singing acappella and the crowd responded very well. "May the road rise up with you... go safely home. Good night, Arrivederci, Reggio Emilia!"
1997-09-23 - Sarajevo: A show 4 years in the making and probably their most transcendental concert ever. Popmart represented the first major event in the city after the war. For that day, the requirement of visas is suspended, and the first passenger trains with fans of all ethnics and creeds arrive to Sarajevo. For the first time in a long time, the city feels like part of the world. We are blessed to have an excellent FM broadcast of the show. During the first songs, the band give their all and some more, but after one of the best renditions of LNOE, Bono's voice starts to crack until becoming a whisper during Pride. The audience carries him for the rest of the show. Instead of Miami, The Edge plays an acoustic version of Sunday Bloody Sunday that never felt more adequate. Bono returns and his voice improves. We have one if not the best Please in the tour and Brian Eno comes for a special performance of Miss Sarajevo. At the end of the show, the crowd spontaneously starts to applaud the troops that were given permission to attend the show. It all ended in a cheerful celebration of life, all differences put aside for one show.
1998-02-06 - Buenos Aires: U2 visited South America for their first time, and Popmart lived its best moments here. To move the equipment from Brazil to Argentina, the crew had to pass through a rain forest, so many of the gear was damaged. Miraculously, the screen survives. In Buenos Aires, Bono met with the Madres de Plaza de Mayo, whose sons disappeared during the military junta in the late 70's, early 80's. The second show on Feb. 6th was broadcasted live, and thankfully we have it in our show pages to enjoy. This concert features one of the best performances of Please, Bono giving it all at the end for a dramatic touch. During Desire, Bono plays a borrowed harmonica from a fan. In Staring At The Sun, Bono references Maradona and his "hand of God" goal in 1986. Introducing One, Bono talks about the Madres again and the show concludes with Mothers Of The Disappeared while the screen shows footage of them and the crowd sings "El Pueblo Vencerá". As our user PatoU2 puts it, "And then the Mothers came in. They represent so much for our history, one of our darkest chapters. It was a really emotional moment. It still moves me to this day."
1998-02-11 - Santiago: U2 plays for the first time in Santiago, in a stadium where many civilians were tortured during the Pinochet years. Before the concert, a vital part of the lemon is ruined so someone from London flies with the part almost at the last minute. The show is also broadcasted, making it one of the best sounding bootlegs of the tour. There are many memorable performances in this concert. From the first notes of Mofo with a shout to "La Roja" (Chile's football team), to Staring At The Sun and Bono's homage to Pablo Neruda. The performances of Last Night On Earth and Mysterious Ways are among the best in that tour. We also have one of the few renditions of Bad during Popmart. During One, a Mothers movement similar to the Argentinian appear onstage, Bono challenges Pinochet to tell these mothers where their sons are. As in Buenos Aires, the show closes with Mothers Of The Disappeared and El Pueblo Vencerá, while one by one, the Mothers grab the mic to mention the names of their sons, husbands or brothers disappeared years ago. They demand justice but not everyone in the crowd agrees with the sentiment, as Pinochet is still Commander In-Chief of the Army. Regardless, the crowd is fired up and the national chants mark one of the most memorable ends of a U2 show ever.
2000-12-05 - New York: U2 performs a promo show at the Irving Plaza in New York. Tickets are only available to 1,000 competition winners for the K-ROCK radio station. With a guest list including Tom Cruise, Billy Corgan and Cindy Crawford, and with stars like Keith Richards and Eddie Vedder who couldn't get in, the hype for this show is high. "Like landing a 747 onto your front lawn", Bono describes it. The band quickly shows up their new songs. Elevation, Beautiful Day, Stuck, all in sequence, all memorable performances captured in a radio broadcast that we have for you. The Ramones cover "I Remember You" is played for Joey Ramone. More ATYCLB songs with New York and the rare The Ground Beneath Her Feet and a very special One with a snippet of Walk On, before it became the regular closer of that tour. After electric performances of All I Want Is You, the band returns for a surprise: 11 O'Clock Tick Tock appears after almost 11 years! The show closed with another cover, this time The Who's "We Won't Get Fooled Again".
2001-09-01 - Slane Castle: A show we all know and love, thanks to Hamish Hamilton's capture in film. The city graciously gives U2 license to do a second show at Slane Castle, something unprecedented. Before the show, the Irish football team classifies to the World Cup and everyone is ecstatic. Beautiful Day has a nod to this as it ends with "Beautiful Goal!". During New Year's Day Bono does something he rarely does: he drapes himself with the Irish flag asking the crowd -already in a frenzy- to imagine he's Jason McAteer (the author of the only goal that day). The show had dramatic moments too, like during Sunday Bloody Sunday, when Bono read the names of the victims of the Omagh bombing, or during Kite when we got to hear a very intimate story about Bono's father. We also had the famous 500 pound speech during one of the best performances of Out Of Control. The sequence AIWIY to Streets is considered by many fans as one of their all time best, and Eve Hewson appeared during Mysterious Ways to rock the house and dance with his father. Before we notice, the European Elevation leg is over and no one could imagine how special U2's next shows will be.
2001-10-10 - South Bend: U2 performs their first post 9/11 show and the U.S. quickly embraces the ATYCLB songs as hymns to cry, to heal and to recover their faith in the future. This concert takes place at Notre Dame's Joyce Center, with capacity of only 12,000 seats, but this sets the mood for a more intimate experience. U2.com broadcasts the concert over the internet, a novelty at that time. For the only time in the tour, Beautiful Day opens the show instead of Elevation, and the crowd roars as Bono repeats the first lines "The heart is a bloom, shoots up to the stony ground". The songs acquire a new meaning in this leg. Some lyrics in New York were altered, and Bullet The Blue Sky is understandably dropped from the setlist in favor of covers like What's Going On and When Will I See You Again. Bono does for the first time his now famous speeches during One about how fighting poverty can eliminate terrorism too. For the end of the show, the band welcomes firefighters and policemen from New York and as the band closes the show with Peace On Earth and Walk On, the crowd chants "USA, USA!". One of U2's most memorable tour legs had just begun.
2001-10-25 - New York: "Greatest band, greatest city on earth, it's simple", that's how we can put the 3 concerts U2 did in New York just weeks after 9/11. Inspired by the energy and bravery of New York, the band performs some of their best concerts in their life. Before the shows, tensions were high: one wrong speech, one performance that didn't feel honest and everything could go very wrong. But this is U2 we're talking about and New York needed them as much as the band needs New York. From wedding proposals to NYPD and NYFD onstage sharing their stories, we go through all human emotions in the span of a gig. We have a soundboard recording of the second show, which started with a very energetic Elevation and Beautiful Day, Bono singing "New York City, soul city!" and "Let's go Yankees!" during New Year's Day, as the crowd never stopped chanting that and "USA!" all 3 shows. This show also had a very emotional Kite where Bono explained why they didn't cancel the shows and the sequence of Bad/40/Streets seemed as it was tailored for this city. During One, the names of the people killed on 9/11 were projected onto the crowd and scrolled across the roof of the MSG. It was one of the most emotional moments of the night. People started breaking down, but when all was over, they felt as the healing just started.
2002-02-03 - New Orleans: Superbowl XXXVI was originally supposed to have Janet Jackson as their half-time entertainment. After 9/11, she canceled her tour, as almost any artist, so the NFL had to find a new half-time show. Impressed by what they saw at NYC, U2 were booked as the new headliners, with long time friend Jimmy Iovine playing a part on convincing the band. Not everyone was impressed. Among NFL executives, fears of low ratings, or that an Irish band was not appropriate for the times started to spread. But when U2 opened the show with Beautiful Day, and when the names of the 9/11 victims appeared during MLK everyone was in tears. Where The Streets Have No Name had one of its best performances ever too, with the names still rolling down and then the screen was released and it shivered down like one of the two falling towers. Boston Globe called it "The greatest halftime show in the history of sporting events, hands down." and to this day, Rolling Stone lists this as the #1 halftime show ever, and The Washington Post said "To some, it may have seemed rather a garish memorial, but in a strangely affecting way, it worked, and respectfully."
2005-06-18 - London: Our first Vertigo show is a show broadcasted by the BBC in London during the European leg. The sound quality of this bootleg is top notch, even more so in the matrix mixing the audience and the broadcast. By the time U2 reached Europe, the HTDAAB songs were played almost flawlessly and they shine particularly in this show. A very passionate rendition of SYCMIOYO with Bono removing his glasses to show us how personal this song is to him and one of the best and last Running To Stand Still performances of the tour. Warming up to the Live 8 concert a month after, Bono makes sure the world receives his message about Africa and the Make Poverty History campaign with the trio of Pride, Streets and One. One of the strongest parts of this tour is the ZooTV dedicated encore, and songs like The Fly and Mysterious Ways shine particularly in this show.