Raw Energy and Stamina in Paris, BBC

19 Jul 2001
U2 go back to basics with a display of raw energy and stamina on their latest tour, reports the BBC's Howard Nurse ahead of the UK shows.

U2's electrifying Elevation tour is UK-bound and will not leave fans feeling short changed.

The Irish legends prove that after more than two decades they can still put on a show without having to put on a spectacle.

While Madonna laid on a cleverly choreographed show almost bare of her biggest hits during the recent Drowned World tour, U2 have gone back to basics.

There is no lavish set like the one that accompanied the band across 70 cities worldwide for the 1997 Pop Mart tour.

What you get is what you want: a four-man band playing anthem after anthem with a generous sprinkling of their latest album thrown in for good measure.

Bono asked the audience to say a prayer for better times in Ireland

There are no gimmicks. Elevation is simple but impressively intimate with a heart-shaped catwalk stretching out into the audience.

The Palais Omnisports de Bercy in Paris erupted as Bono and Co. opened up with their current single Elevation.

This was followed by the Grammy award-winning Beautiful Day from the multi-milllion selling album All That You Can't Leave Behind.

But it was the 80s classic New Year's Day which set the standard for what followed.

Bono dedicated Kite to his Uncle Jack, present in the Paris audience and a man he described as a "father figure" to him.

U2 rely less nowadays on heavy politicising yet one of the most touching moments came during Sunday Bloody Sunday when Bono was thrown the Irish tricolour.

He carefully laid it onto his catwalk and prowled around it before asking the audience to say a prayer for better times across Ireland.

Bono showed another token of affection when he dedicated In a Little While to the late Joey Ramone. That was the last song the punk pioneer heard before his death three months ago.

The simple number about a hangover had now become, in Bono's own words, a gospel song.

U2 showed remarkable stamina during the 22 song set and awesome raw passion during Bad and the heart-pounding Where The Streets Have No Name.

The band's only real political gesture came during Joshua Tree's Bullet the Blue Sky.

Images of Charlton Heston promoting handguns and clips of street violence reminded you of what U2 stand for.

One and Walk On rounded off a relentless performance which was adored by the Parisian crowd.


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