U2 always seems to generate something extraordinary in New York City.
There seems to be something "other" going on in the room from the moment they take the stage to the second they reluctantly depart. I don't know if U2 love New York, or if New York adores them, or if the venue and all it represents brings out a side of each member of the band that's a little more playful, a tad more primal, a tiny bit less polished, and too instinctively happy to be there to care, but whatever it is that the band exudes in NYC, it reverberates throughout.
"It" is an amazing feeling and it was out in full force on October 27.
I've seen them in other places, at other points in their career, and it's the shows I've been lucky enough to see at the Garden that always leave me aching for more. There was a peacefulness about the 10/27 show that eluded the frenetic pace of the 10/25 show. The crowd listened when Bono spoke, the crowd cried during 'Please' (I did anyway) and 'One'. With 'Walk On' and the surprise addition of 'Out of Control', the crowd, the band, and most importantly the NYC firefighters on stage celebrated life with the sort of elated abandonment borne of overwhelming sadness, making the moment that much more special.
Just when I think I've seen U2 at their best, at their pinnacle, Bono and the boys throw themselves out there just a little further. Thanks for the courage to come to the US and play to thousands of people night after night during such difficult time. Thanks for coming to New York and bringing that "other" thing into the room with you and making "it"
so amazingly special. And thanks for giving everyone who goes to the shows a chance to sing out loud, dance like no one's watching (all eyes are on Bono anyway, right?) and celebrate life in the wake of so much pain.
U2, Madison Square Gardens, 27.10.01 by Jenny Sermas
New York City has always been a place of great promise and opportunity.
Anything you can dream can come true in New York. Even after the September 11th tragedy, the city is stronger than ever. The city's Will cannot be broken. The final U2 show at Madison Square Garden was a celebration and testament of the strength and courage of the World Citizens of New York.
It was an honor to be one of the women invited on stage by Bono during "New York" because I had a heart shaped American flag on one cheek and I was wearing a "I NY" t-shirt. I bought my t-shirt after visiting Ground Zero three weeks earlier. It is still like a bad dream that the Twin Towers are gone. Whenever I came out of the subway downtown, I would look for the Towers to orient myself. Now, with the Towers gone, I feel permanently disoriented. I always thought the Towers would be like the Pyramids of Egypt and people would study them millenniums from now to try to figure out our civilization. How were they built? What did they mean? I can tell you now they meant the promise of opportunity and freedom in the world's greatest democracy. U2 at the Garden was a celebration of that freedom and I truly believe it helped the city heal some of its wounds that night.
At the finale, when the firefighters of NYC invited on stage talked about the brothers they lost, there was not a dry eye in the arena. The unspeakable loss of innocent life in the name of a fanatical political idea will not stand. "Their lives are bigger than any big idea".