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LEAVING NOTHING BEHIND

U2 Opens "Elevation 2001" With Miami Heat
Anticipation was high for the opening night of U2's "Elevation 2001" tour following on the footsteps of winning three Grammys and the critically acclaimed release of "All That You Can't Leave Behind" (Interscope).

Fans jammed the parking lots early at National Car Rental Theater in Sunrise, FL, hanging out and having tailgate parties. It was the Irish band's first tour in two years, and their first indoor concert in nearly a decade. TV interviews and a cover story in the local Sun-Sentinel built up the momentum for the tour's opening date in South Florida. The area rolled out the red carpet for U2, and U2 responded as only they could.

In a 24-song, two-hour barrage that interspersed their classic hits and cuts from the most recent album, Bono and band mates The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. stuck to their high-energy, driving, powerful sound. Edge wore a teal Miami Dolphins T-shirt for the occasion, and Bono sported all black, including a leather jacket and his patented shades.

The lights were on as the band took the stage at 9:05 to a frenzied crowd—dressed perfunctorily in black and blue denim and mostly young—who leapt to their feet, ready to explode at the first notes of The Edge's crunching guitar. The band kicked off the set with "Elevation," the title song of the tour and a track from the new album, with the audience singing along to every word.

In direct contrast to the band's last tour, the over-elaborate "Pop Mart," the stage was simple—with a V-shaped runway extending out into the crowd, essentially dividing it into a mosh pit with general standing room on the floor. The set-up served to prevent rushing to the stage and provided a platform for Bono to go out into the audience, while at the same time keeping his distance. The loyal fans sang along with every tune and became even louder during the old hits "I Will Follow" and "Where The Streets Have No Name." Among the celebrities on opening night was Elvis Costello.

The old songs, particularly "Sunday Bloody Sunday," had Bono waving an Irish flag he'd grabbed from a member of the audience, riffing on Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up" in the middle.

"Where The Streets Have No Name" and "Bullet The Blue Sky" revved up the crowd. But the band cooled things down with "With Or Without You," "One" and the closing "Walk On," which the band dedicated to Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, ending the show on a thoughtful note.

"How was the night for you? Hope we didn't f**k up," said Bono as a self-deprecating finale.

The show was crisp and to the point, with the band thankfully letting its impressive catalog do the talking. Although there was a panel of computerized lights and screens dropped from the rafters with visual projections, "Elevation 2001" was all about the music—precisely what has enabled this illustrious, gracious band to endure. –Janet Trakin

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