Philadelphia was beautiful again last night.
Arcade Fire's Wake Up fades out and a disembodied voice - 'everyone, everyone, everyone' - fades up, five huge burning red lamps lift off into the roof of the stage as a single orange spot plays on The Edge.
The second show in Philadelphia opens with City of Blinding Lights, with a huge illuminated curtain descending around the stage, spangling confetti falling from the ceiling and Bono emerging at the tip of the elipse, hands raised in expectation. ''Oh you look so beautiful Philadelphia...'
This was an audience that made their presence felt from the off. The ovation that greets Elevation finds the singer responding, 'That's Philadelphia for you...' which provokes an even greater roar. And what a treat to find Gloria back in the set tonight, with a special nod to Adam Clayton and one of his signature bass lines. ''Tattoo Boy' - as he is dubbed by Bono - finds himself helped up on stage during Beautiful Day and takes his moment of fame with style, yelling his lungs out in undisguised pleasure.
'We've had a great past in this band but the thing that excites us most is the future,' raps Bono as the song closes. 'What it holds in science and technology and the idea that the world can change shape and be better. We believe God is inspiring scientists and doctors and nurses, we met someone today at the airport and this is for the little baby she is carrying...this is Miracle Drug.'
Larry comes to the fore for Love and Peace or Else, standing at the tip of the elipse and duetting with Bono, before eventually giving way to the singer who takes on the single drum like a man possessed. Edge, meanwhile, is flailing his guitar to a thrilling climax. This 'war and peace' chapter in the show is increasingly a stand-out, and tonight no exception. The reception for Sunday Bloody Sunday fairly raises the roof while a terrifying opening to Bullet the Blue Sky gives way to all kinds of new meanings the song never used to conjure up. 'Johnny come marching home again, hurrah, hurrah,' sings Bono as the track closes, before dedicating Running to Stand Still to ''the brave men and women of the United States military.'. This one closes with 'Alleluiah, alleluiah' as the powerful words of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights scroll down the screens above.
Human rights is still the theme as Pride In The Name of Love gives way to Where The Streets Have No Name and One - this time, as every night, the human rights in question are those of the people of Africa, living in poverty. 'From Dr King's America to Nelson Mandela's Africa... the.... Journey.... Of .... Equality... moves... on.'
Another great show in another great city. Here's the set list.
City of Blinding Lights
Sometimes You Can't make It On Your Own
Love and Peace or Else
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Bullet The Blue Sky
Running to Standstill
Pride in the Name of Love
Where the Streets have no Name
With or Without You