NYC 4: “We’ll shine like stars…”

Welcome to moodswing central. Fans attending multiple shows in New York got to see plenty of different sides to U2’s lead singer.

From run-of-the-mill Bono on the 7th, to pissed off Bono on the 8th, to distracted and going-through-the-motions Bono on the 10th and absolutely determined to kick ass Bono on the 11th. We can’t possibly predict which of the ‘nice bunch of guys’ exactly will be fronting U2 on the 14th. You let us know.

Maybe it wasn’t The Edge’s smoothest show of the tour, but this time Bono didn’t snark. (His ‘I really enjoyed that, The Edge.’ earlier in the week came out a little cutting.) The man was too busy enjoying himself on stage. All smiles, all fun and happy banter.

During Sunday Bloody Sunday, he picked a little girl off the shoulders of her father in front row, and made her sing ‘no more’. Later, he gave her his COEXIST bandana as a memento. At another point during the show, a German fan was the lucky recipient of Bono’s pricey specs.

But the moment we were sure this was a special one came when Bono finally pulled out the fan-favourite ‘shine like stars in the summer night’-verse of With or without you, for the first time since God knows when. Trainspotters world wide wet themselves for sheer ecstasy.

The chorus of ’40’ echoed through the ‘Gardens’ (as Bono kept calling the MSG) for the longest time. Then the lights came on and for your editor-in-chief at least, it was the end of Vertigo 2005. Thank you, Madison Square Garden, thank you, New York.

U2 at Croke Park: ‘What’s Irish for 14, Larry?’

Bono is serious. For their second performance of ‘Vertigo’ of the night, he walks over to the drum kit to ask Larry Mullen how to say 14 ‘as Gaeilge’.

Misunderstanding, Larry shouts: ‘A h-aon’! (‘one’) Bono asks again and this time the drummer gets it right: ‘Ceathar déag’. Three times he tells Bono how to say it.

‘A h-aon, a dhà, a trì, a ceatharmmmmmfrgh!’

Close enough. With an apology to the venue’s local neighbours because the show ran 10 minutes past the 11pm curfew, the band tear up the song something wicked. (They might as well skip the first time they play it at the start of the show.) The place is alight, and all around us kids’ faces are in ecstasy. Croke Park sings along as they have done all night.

The European leg of the Vertigo Tour has officially got lift off. While the first two shows in Brussels and Gelsenkirchen left us a little indifferent and having missed the reportedly better gigs in the U.K., Croke Park I has it all. Drive, energy, emotion and fun – this time the boys were truly back in town.

There were, as expected, few real surprises in the setlist (Wild Horses, With or Without You, I Will Follow), but the passion, the Irish banter (Bono mentioned the Irish poet John Keats when he noticed a banner in the audience that said ‘see you in Rome’) and various ‘new’ snippets like Thin Lizzy’s ‘Jailbreak’ and an improvisational ‘Northside in the Rain’ well made up for that. Talking about the rain… Bono sang some lines of it, twice during the show.

‘Oh, you look so beautiful tonight,’ Bono told the Croke Park audience. Absolutely gorgeous, yes.