By DAN AQUILANTE
October 26, 2001 -- AT their return engagement at Madison Square Garden, U2 was a finely tuned rock machine, with a squeaky wheel named Bono at center stage.
Bono, the voice of U2, sang songs about peace, love and understanding in a city that was the target of hate a month ago.
Over the course of the two-hour concert, between highlights such as "Bullet the Blue Sky," "Beautiful Day," "Pride" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday," he expounded on a mishmash of topics.
Early on he praised IRA terrorists for finally laying down their guns.
He kissed an American flag that a kid in the audience waved with reverence, yet his jacket was lined with a cut-up Old Glory.
He told us to have empathy with Muslims. "They go to church, too," he informed the adoring crowd.
And he concluded the concert by scrolling the names of the victims of the four fatal Sept. 11 flights, as well as the names of the police and firefighters who died in the World Trade Center rescue efforts, on a large display screen.
Deeds count, not words.
This past weekend he and guitarist The Edge didn't bother to show up for their scheduled appearance at the Concert for New York City - that honored those fallen heroes and aided their families.
Bono was so liberal, so politically correct, he made you want to puke green.
As an outsider, his audacity to think his celebrity gives him the right to tell us how and when to let go of our anger made the rage hotter. You wanted to hit him upside the head.
Bono should consider he's not a priest, just a singer. To steal a line that Bono sang when he was a boy: "If he starts to think, he'll start to cry."
The music was great. The band played well. I wish I had stayed home.