Sweet Chariots in Berlin

8 Jul 2005
The show last night started with the big umbrellas on stage protecting the instruments from the weather but for the second successive night, the rain held off during U2's set.

A great set from Kaiser Chiefs, their debut performance on the Vertigo Tour was followed by another strong showing from Snow Patrol, who seem to be turning up quite often! (Incidentally U2.Com Subscribers might like to check out our interview with Snow Patrol on the Subscription site).

Vertigo ignited the proceedings as usual but there was an unusual detour during I Will Follow - the singer deciding to change his shoes! (Not sure if this has special cultural significance but if we hear you will be the first to know!)

After a powerful version of All I Want Is You, which the whole of Berlin must have been privy to, Bono was handed a sunflower by a woman in the audience. He accepted it gratefully, wondering around the stage with it before returning it to its rightful owner - and blowing her a special kiss. Will that flower ever leave her sight ?

'Thank you for coming out to see us, thank you for giving us a great life,' said an appreciative Bono, catching his breath before Miracle Drug. 'We dedicate this to the scientists that shape our future and the nurses that get us to that future...'

Most people last night were acutely aware from the news media that nurses and doctors in London were working flat out to help those injured in the multiple terrorist bomb attacks which had taken place earlier. It made the play on CoeXisT all the more poignant for Love and Peace, as Larry and Adam
moved front of house. Was the communal chanting of 'No More' during Sunday Bloody Sunday even louder tonight - or was it simply that our hearing was suddenly more acute ?

And as the show raced by, it was all the more tender a moment when Running To Stand Still received its own special dedication.

'We'd like to dedicate this song to the families and the friends of the people who lost their loved ones today in London,' explained Bono. 'Cos some people think ideas are more valuable than people and we know that's not true.'

'We have a prayer,' he continued, '(That) We don¹t become a monster in order to defeat a monster.'

The whole Olympic stadium was soon bathed in the flickering flames of thousand of lighters and as everyone sang along Bono segued into Swing Low Sweet Chariot (a song associated with England's national rugby team) to close. Barely a dry eye in the house.

It makes a show all the more special when the musicians are able to adapt each night to the events which affect the daily lives of those of us in the crowd - whether it's political pressure to help the poorest countries or the apprehension we experience with a terrorist atrocity.

'This is the moment to make poverty history,' said Bono, switching to some German at times. 'I don¹t know if anyone here went to Live 8. Today I came back from a golf course in Scotland today.'

Bono had arrived in the city direct from Gleneagles in Scotland where he had spent the previous day lobbying leaders of Germany, the US, Canada, Britain and other countries to do more for the people of Africa. 'Tomorrow we will know whether (Chancellor) Schroeder's leadership is going to put an end to
this (poverty in Africa).'

Pride became Streets and One, the final time this speech can ask people to pressure their leaders before the G8 meetings - which close today, Friday. Zoo Station and The Fly seemed to have particular resonance in the city where Achtung Baby was recorded - maybe Bono was still thinking of Edinburgh
as he sang:
'I'm ready
To take it to the street
Ready for the shuffle
Ready for the deal
Ready to let go....'

A beautiful girl in a Ramones t-shirt emerged from the audience to dance with Bono for With Or Without You - a cool end to a wonderful show on a bittersweet night in Europe.


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