An event. That is what some 12,000 fans who packed Kemper Arena in K.C. witnessed. Not a concert. Not a show or gig but rather something that will be discussed and remembered for a very long time. The last time the lads from Dublin visited our fair city they played in a half filled open-air stadium bringing with them a karaoke machine and a giant lemon. This time was strictly business. From the opening one-two punch of "Elevation" and "Beautiful Day" to the heart wrenching "One-Peace On Earth/Walk On" wrap-up culminating a 2 hour performance leaving the band drenched in sweat and the audience screaming for more. The highlight for this U2 fan of 20 years was the touching moment during "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" when Bono plucked an Irish flag from the audience, walked a few paces and then was handed an American flag from a fan and cradled them both in his arms as if clutching a crying baby and then hugging and kissing them both as if to say, "everything is going to be all right." After delicately handing both flags back to the audience he screamed the famous, "I'm so sick of it!" line and all was good. The Who, the Stones, the Boss, Pink Floyd...seen them all. This was the best by a long shot.
U2, Elevation 2001, Kansas City, November 27th by John Knell
Having seen U2 on every tour since Joshua Tree, I found the Elevation show to be the most passionate, complete and satisfying. Not only from a musical perspective (the band was very tight, sounded amazing and played songs from all phases of their career) but also from an emotional one. The band and the audience really connected and the energy, passion and emotions generated from that connection was uplifting and "elevating".
Here's to U2....the best band in the world and the only band that truly matters.
U2, Elevation 2001, Kansas Cit, November 27th by Shane Adams
Last night, I saw U2 for the first time at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri. Never have I experienced anything like that. The show started with a high-energy performance from Garbage, who rocked the house for 70 minutes. When U2 got on stage at 9, I thought the place was going to crumble in anticipation. I stood on the floor 10 feet from the edge of the heart dumbfounded that the greatest band in the world could be so humble and amazing and real in concert. There is not one part of the show I can think of that I loved more than another. U2's energy and positivity emanated to the crowd who sang along with Bono and The Edge on song after song. I won't forget this concert and I look forward to the next time they return to Kansas City.
U2, Elevation 2001, Kansas City, November 27th by Joel Francis
These days, going to a U2 concert is a lot like going to church. The band most critics dismissed as over the top and past their prime in 1997, today plays the role of national minister, traveling around the country healing the populace. When U2's latest album, All That You Can't Leave Behind, was released on Halloween 2000 it was critically acclaimed as U2's triumphant return. Today, in the wake of Sept. 11, the album takes on a prophetic, healing role. They're reading names out over the radio/All the folks the rest of us won't get to know?, Bono sang to the Kansas City crowd Tuesday night. It had been nearly two years since Bono penned the words, but they were especially poignant that night. Behind the band, a large video board scrolled names of the people killed on Sept. 11 - plane crews and passengers, police and fire officers.
From the lead-in music of Higher Ground and All You Need is Love to the concert-closing chords of Walk On, Tuesday night was all about unity. Tonight, we can live as one, Bono sang during Sunda Bloody Sunday, but the underlying hope was that we could forever live as one, beginning tonight. All of this would have sounded arrogant and fake if U2 hadn't been preaching it for more than two decades. This made the message even more powerful: The crowd was prepared and ready, even needing, to hear U2's message. U2 is a healing band, but they are also a fun band. The drone of guitarist The Edge on the opener Elevation had the whole crowd on their feet (where they stayed for most of the show) and jumping up and down. When Elevation segued into Beautiful Day, the crowd grew even more excited. U2 have been touring for a long time now and know how to work the crowd. The third number, Until the End of the World, found Bono walking through the crowd, like Jesus walking on water, on a large heart-shaped ramp, surrounded by a mass of cameras and arms and hands, all straining for a touch or brush from their messiah.
When The Edge joined him on the ramp, which encircled the stage and 350 lucky fans, the crowd grew even ecstatic. Women cried, men stood mouths agape, all clamoring for a touch, or even a glance, some sort or recognition for their devotion. All of which the duo was happy to oblige. Bono plucked flags from the crowd and held them proudly over his head, acknowledge signs and shouts with a wave and even sang Happy Birthday and danced with one lucky fan. Meanwhile drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and bass player Adam Clayton remained on the main stage, the backbone of the band, anchoring the sound. In the past U2 have been uncertain of their role in music. They mocked their stardom (Zoo TV) and parodied it (PopMart), before finally embracing it for the current Elevation 2001 tour.
Other set highlights included Angel of Harlem, Bad and a moving cover of Marvin Gaye's Whats Going On, a song that sadly never loses relevance. When combined with U2's New York it was especially touching. Of course the show wouldn't be complete without I Will Follow, Where The Streets Have No Name, and One, but strangely missing from the short, two-hour set was With Or Without You. Not that many in the crowd noticed, they were all happy to drink from the fountain of U2 and be healed. And judging by their faces most of them were.
U2, Elevation 2001, Kansas City, November 27th by Tony Cheray
Let me start out by saying that I am not the most frenzied U2 fan but theirperformance in Kansas City was one of the most emotionally satisfying concert experiences I have seen.
After the Beatles pre-concert music subsided you could hear the drones of Elevation on a pre recorded loop starting to amplify and the members of U2 slowly emerging from the backstage area. The only thing left for Bono to do is let out a big screaming Woo Hoo to get Elevation elevated.
U2 have decided on this tour that bigger was not better and have taken great pains to make sure this tour was a bit more personal in scope rather then employing a massive stage show. It worked wonderfully.
I was lucky enough to get inside the heart which in opinion is where the action was - I got to meet a lot of great people while waiting for the show to start. It gave a certain warmth and created a great mood.
Bono's stage presence is not like any thing you have seen in rock and roll he really likes to get as intimate with the audience as he can and the fans just loved it. He took a portion of the concert to read every sign that the fans had displayed which I thought was a nice touch. He did a lot of handshaking and hugging with audience members which is something you do not see in today rock concerts.
The highlight of the concert was getting a blood brothers handshake from The Edge after the last song was over - it lasted a good 20 seconds that will be a fond memory I will always cherish for the rest of my life. Thanks for the memory Edge. I want to thank U2 for such a wonderful warm and emotionally fullfilling experience.