U2 ALBANY 2 JUNE 2001
At the Pepsi Arena, Albany, New York, home to the Albany River Rats, Bono is
looking back. Back over two decades.
'I have a very strong memory of being here in Albany 20 years ago,' he says.
'Three times I think in the first year of touring the United States we came
'It felt pretty good, I still have the t-shirt at home that says JB Scotts.
Is that still here?'
He doesn't wait for the answer because the reminiscing continues: 'Another
strong memory I have is being here in New York the night John Lennon was
shot, that was not such a great memory...'
And it prompts him into the opening bars of The Beatles' In My Life which
soon becomes Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of.
'Did you ever have a moment when you felt really weak, really
shitty, really sick in your heart and your life,' he asks as Stuck closes.
'Well that's not what this next song is about, it's what I'm about right now
and I'm really thankful that you are so generous here tonight, so the show
is yours to carry...'
And, with Kite taking off on the cheers of this audiences, carry him through
they do, especially when he opens his jacket to reveal their sensational
stars and stripes lining and then amends the lyrics to New York to 'just
bought a place in upstate New York.'
If Bono is feeling a little under the weather tonight, it is not affecting
his memory, nor his ability to extemporise lyrics live before 20,000 fans.
Mid-way through a storming rendition of I Will Follow, sounding twenty
minutes not twenty years old, he remembers some more.
'Twenty years ago I walked down your street, same guitars and same beats,
start at the bottom to the top, make the bottom just like the top, bring it
back, bringing it all back home, know the truth, the truth will set you
free, trying to sing my life, trying to so you gonna carry the show, gonna
show Bono where to go, lift me up, lift me on your shoulders, help me get
it, help me get it over...'
And the fans in Albany tonight are helping him get it over. 'We're getting
there,' he acknowledges, before introducing some people who need no
introduction at all.
'I'd like to introduce my friend The Edge, I'd like to introduce my friend
Larry Mullen Jnr, the poshest member of U2, I'd like to introduce you to my
friend Lord Adam Clayton....' and then he remembers who Desire is for.
'For any punk rock or hard rock groups, any bands starting out in the house,
this is for you and your blind ambition, keep your eyes closed and you'll
And U2 get there tonight, finishing with a snatch of Not Fade Away and
Gloria before introducing Stay, one of the hits of the tour to date and from
an album which was not one of U2's biggest sellers.
'This is a song a lot of folks don't really know that well, that's
because a lot of folks didn't buy the record.
'We sure had fun making it though, early nineties, in Berlin, the wall had
come down it was an exciting time in Europe.
'I know you think that's when we got all arty on you,' he jokes, 'It's
alright to be arty now and then if you're from the northside of Dublin. You
can be a little arty, put a 'p' on that and you got party.'
After Bad and Where The Streets Have No Name comes Pride (In The Name Of
Love) and more recent recollections, this time of meeting civil rights
veteran Andrew Young.
'A couple of months back I met a man who marched with Dr Martin Luther King
back in the old civil rights days. He said an interesting thing to me, truly
we can't be free here in the United States whilst our brothers and sisters
are still in slavery in the continent of Africa.'
Bono uses the anecdote to remind his audience, as he is doing most nights,
of the continuing campaigning needed on cancelling the debts of the worlds
poorest countries. It was started succesfully with Jubilee 2000 and
continues with the Drop The Debt campaign, targetting this July's meeting of
the G8 leaders in Genoa - but the bald statistics illustrate how urgent is
the need for further, faster global political change.
'It's an extraordinary thing that in our time, today, tonight, an
entire people - 23 million Africans (have) HIV Aids, 40 million (are) Aids
orphans - in our lifetime, in our day, right now.
'So call your congressmen, call your senators, tell them it's important to
you. We're loud, noisy people, you can make it a political issue here in the
U.S.A. Call them up and say Bono's gonna get really mad at you.'
On second thoughts.
'No, don't say that, tell them that God created all men equal, tell them
'Got to go' he sings, leaving the auditorium after The Fly. 'Got to come
back' he says, returning with Edge, Adam and Larry to perform One.
'Thanks for coming out and spending your hard earned on a rock show, thank
you to PJ Harvey for opening the show.
'Thanks for all the support going down the Jubilee 2000 trail, you
know what I'm talking about, thanks for lifting me tonight, its meant a
great deal to me.'
And with a final thanks for 'giving us a great life' he sings the opening
verse of Unchained Melody which has become Walk On before you know it and
this show is at a great end.