The city so nice, they named it twice

Played it thrice. One last time for New York City this evening as the band cracked out a few surprises, the most striking of which was an unbelievably haunting rendition of ‘Please’ performed by Bono and Edge at the tip of the heart while an unidentified fellow backed them up on keyboards (some sites are reporting that it was a fan; I thought I heard Bono say “roadie”) [ update: a fan reports it was good old Bruce Brodie, formerly of Lone Justice, and Maria Mckee collaborator.] During ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,’ Bono tossed his microphone to a man proposing to his girlfriend. Her response seemed to consist primarily of “Oh my God,” but we think she said yes. And finally, during ‘Walk On’ the band brought out around two dozen New York firefighters and policemen (a la the South Bend show) with Bono marching them around the heart, grinning like a mad piper in a cop hat — and after much cheering and commandeering of the microphone by the various officers, the band stormed into a goofy, dance-party-ready version of ‘Out Of Control’ that made for a surprisingly anthemic closer. The officers remained on stage as the band departed, offering tributes to their fallen comrades.

Above and beyond the unexpected, the show did not disappoint; in fact, it slightly nosed out the other Elevation shows this reviewer has seen. Bono’s voice was in strong form after some weakness Wednesday (though he was not as chatty between tunes), and several numbers — the hometown swan-song of ‘New York’ especially — simply exploded, including opener ‘Elevation’ incorporating David Bowie’s ‘Young Americans’ (a joyful reinvention of a line used earlier in the tour to darkly powerful effect in ‘Bullet The Blue Sky’) and a lengthy and crackling ‘I Will Follow’ which encompassed the classic “ring those bells” middle-eight as well as the memorable line “you changed us… thank you.”

Full setlist: Elevation, Beautiful Day, Until The End Of The World, New Year’s Day, I Will Follow, Sunday Bloody Sunday, When Will I See You Again / Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, Kite, Angel Of Harlem, Please, Bad / 40, Where The Streets Have No Name, Pride (In The Name Of Love), Bullet The Blue Sky, What’s Going On, New York, One, Peace On Earth / Walk On / Hallelujah, Out Of Control