U2 ended its Elevation world tour last night (Dec. 2) in Miami, 30 miles from where it began in Sunrise, Fla., nine months ago. But indeed, it was a different kind of show in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the sold-out crowd was clearly moved by moments inspired by recent world events.
During "Sunday Bloody Sunday," frontman Bono pulled Irish and U.S. flags from the audience and tied them together in a show of unity. As he sang "too many tears," he wiped his eyes with the flags. The most dramatic instance of the band's love for the U.S. came after Bono donned a FDNY t-shirt, also donated from a member of the audience, and began singing "One" while giant screens behind the band scrolled the names of the victims of Sept. 11. The names kept scrolling after the song ended and Bono sang a brief version of "My Sweet Lord" in tribute to the late George Harrison, who died on Thursday.
However, the night wasn't entirely focused on memorials, as crowd members jumped in tandem throughout hits like "Where the Streets Have No Name" and "Beautiful Day." The heart-shaped walkway, with standing room for fans in the middle, offered arguably the best view in the house. "I got here at 1:30 in the morning and I was 76th in line," fan Katie Mee said proudly, making her third visit inside the heart on the tour.
"After doing so many shows they seemed so fired up about doing a show in Miami," said fan Grant Heston, who had already seen nine shows on the Elevation tour, including the first two in Sunrise. "All the shows were very fun but these last shows were more cathartic. You knew there was some seriousness going on."
And while the tour has ended, there will be no shortage of U2-related activity in the coming weeks. On Feb. 3, the group will perform as part of the E*Trade Super Bowl XXVI halftime show at the Superdome in New Orleans. "This year's show will take on new meaning in light of recent world events," NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said in a statement. "We are pleased that the spectacular talent of U2 will become part of our Super Bowl halftime tradition."
Today also sees the release of the group's "Live in Boston" DVD, which is culled from a four-night stand in the city last June. Promo clips are available for viewing on U2's official Web site.
-- David Thomas, Miami; Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.